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  • Half of the Argentine children are living below the poverty line, according the last UNICEF report.

    Half of the Argentine children are living below the poverty line, according the last UNICEF report. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 December 2018

Unicef also found that 27 percent of the total population (12 million) lives in monetary poverty.

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) says that nearly half of Argentine children are living below the poverty line, and 20 percent live in "severe" conditions, such as residing in a flood zone, near a garbage dump or not being able to attend school.

The Dec. 4 Unicef Argentina report takes a multidimensional approach to poverty examining several non-monetary factors such as education, social protection, housing, sanitation, and access to food and water, says the organization.

The study, conducted by the country’s Unicef office along with several national universities concludes that 6.3 million minors—48 percent of Argentines less than 18 years old—live in non-monetary poverty. This means they are deprived of at least one of the rights dictated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: education, social protection, adequate housing, basic sanitation, access to safe water and a safe home.

Unicef also found that 27 percent of the total population (12 million) lives in monetary poverty, up by about two percent over the past year under the right-wing Mauricio Macri administration. Over 40 percent of children and adolescents live in monetary poverty, that 5.5 million, and 8 percent live in extreme poverty. The study’s authors conclude that 16.3 percent of the population is poor due to insufficient income.

“Poverty has the face of a boy and a girl,” commented Sebastian Waisgrais of Unicef Argentina.

The expert said the “data doesn’t capture the effects of the current macroeconomic situation and budget.”

The Macri administration has implemented severe austerity measures over the past year and has proposed major cuts to the 2019 national budget in the terms of education and culture proposing a US$99 million cut to these government programs. Healthcare funds are also set to decrease and federal housing funds will decrease by 48 percent if the administration’s 2019 budget proposal is passed.

Government austerity and the selling off of billions of Argentine pesos and dollar reserves haven’t helped the peso rebound, as Macri had hoped. The country has been in a recession for several months as the peso sits at about 38 to the dollar and inflation has hovered around 40 percent for the past several months. The result is has been increased poverty, decreased purchasing power for millions of Argentines.

In order to complete the first goal of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the government needs to reduce poverty “by at least half,” which was one of Macri’s campaign platforms.


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