The Argentine Catholic University (UCA), through its Observatory on Argentine Social Debt, published a new report called “Social impact of mandatory isolation measures by covid-19 in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires “. There he analyzes the current context of social vulnerability in the midst of the pandemic and how state aid influenced to contain the deterioration.
One of the preliminary conclusions is that there was a large flow between households that had an income deficit last year and those that currently have it. That is, many worsened their situation but many others improved it. Equally, Agustín Salvia, head of the Observatory, considers that the general balance is a “structural impoverishment of the population” in the period analyzed.
In that line, in dialogue with The chroniclerSalvia analyzes that the situation prior to the pandemic was not good, and that we were “stagnant and with no prospect of recovery.” In this context, he believes that “the government reacted and put in a set of social programs to stop the crisis and reduce poverty.” Likewise, it considers that, “Although it was an enormous effort, it has been insufficient. It cushions the impact of the crisis, but it does not stop it ”. In addition, it envisions that “The more the quarantine is extended, the impact will be greater ”.
Regarding the study, firstly, it analyzes the impact of quarantine on household income. For 18.8% of those surveyed, the drop in income was greater than 50%. For 38.8%, meanwhile, there was a reduction but less than 50%. 37.1% remained the same and 5.3% claimed to have had an increase in income in nominal terms.
Regarding the negotiation with the bondholders, the President affirmed that in the last weeks “we have been able to initiate a dialogue and hopefully it will prosper”. He defended the quarantine again: “In 90% Argentina is open.”
The households in which income fell were proportionally more in the suburbs than in the capital. In the first place they climbed to 62.7%, while in the second they reached 42.9%. According to the study, those who were below the poverty line in 2019 and those with children at home were most affected.
On the other hand, although the number of the poor is not detailed, other indicators are shown that allow us to understand the magnitude of the current crisis. In this sense, the percentage of adults with household income deficits is analyzed. It is estimated, for a family of two adults and two children, $ 26,000. It can be seen that last year 86.5% did not have a deficit against the 13.5% that did. This year, the percentage that has a deficit climbed to 29.4%. In other words, an increase of almost 16 percentage points.
It appears at this point that there was a great flow between those who improved and those who have a worse situation than last year. Among households that did not have a deficit in 2019, one in four now does. But at the same time, among those who did have a deficit last year, two out of five emerged from that situation.
In another section the food insecurity of households. Between last year and this it increased from 18.3% to 19.9%. The growth was greater among those who were not poor last year and those who live in the Buenos Aires suburbs.
The measurement of severe food insecurity registered a more pronounced increase: it went from 5.8% to 8.6%. Here the poor of 2019 were the most affected: while 11% of them were severely food insecure, this year the percentage grew to 19%.
The study also records the assistance made by the State to households, either through Emergency Family Income, extraordinary bonuses for AUH or retirements, Alimentar card, food carts or bags or food withdrawals in dining rooms. The 51% of surveyed households were reached by at least one of these benefits. Aid reached more families in the suburbs and those with children.
Finally, the study focuses on another issue that sets off alarms: debt at home. A quarter of the respondents claimed to have a debt, whether with family, friends, financial institution, company or business. This situation is aggravated in the suburbs, among households with children and at the very low socioeconomic level.
The survey was carried out between May 7 and 10 in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area. 500 households were used among the 1,770 that had been surveyed last year. Salvia explains that the survey was not national due to cost issues and that she hopes to be able to do it again with a nationwide scope in the next study.