16% of urban and rural departments show alarming levels of chronic poverty; Otilia Torrez and her family live in Añatuya, Santiago del Estero, one of the many places where the index is critical

Otilia Torrez is 45 years old and grew up in the Santiago area of ​​Lot 26 with her twelve brothers and her parents.
From the age of 9 he got up at dawn to work in the cotton harvest. He can't read or write and, like his parents,
Never went to school. Her older children did not complete it. Today, they live in Añatuya, they have no light and they load the water with buckets from a well. Except for one of his sons, none of the Torrez signed a paycheck:
they never had a blank job. The Otilia family is one of the thousands that make up the hard core of marginality in Argentina.

A recent study defines them as chronic poor, that is, those who integrate households with
persistent deficiencies that cannot be overcome even under favorable economic conditions and that are usually “inherited” by the next generation. Digital platform
“Map of georeference of chronic poverty in Argentina” which will be launched today, and to which LA NACION accessed exclusively, allows us to know exactly – by province, departments and census radio – where these homes are located and the proportion they represent regarding the population of each municipality or neighborhood. Thus, the work carried out by the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (Cippec) together with three other organizations shows that
24% of the chronic poor are concentrated in the Buenos Aires suburbs; an equal percentage, in the Pampas region; follow the NEA, with 22%; NOA, with 19%, and Cuyo, with 8%; while Patagonia and the city of Buenos Aires have only 2% and 1%, respectively.

On the other hand,
82 of the 512 departments across the country (16%), have levels of marginality that are critical: more than 25% of its total population lives submerged in chronic poverty. Within this subset of municipalities, there are 16% that have more than 40% of their population in that situation. This will be one of the great challenges of the new government.

The Minister of Social Development,
Daniel Arroyo explained: “Today in Argentina there is structural poverty plus a new poverty.” In that sense, he illustrated that “if tomorrow the soybean has a peak and the economy flies, poverty falls to 25% and works there.” And he was emphatic in explaining: “A comprehensive and federal policy is needed, working with all provinces and municipalities, because specific measures are needed according to the characteristics of each region.”

The vulnerability profile

The study was prepared by Cippec, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Observatory of the Argentine Social Debt of the UCA (ODSA) and the Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (Cedlas), with the objective of contributing to the design of effective policies that seek to eradicate poverty.

The platform puts the magnifying glass on the most invisible inequality: from chronic poverty that grows in the shadow of the most prosperous districts to the one located in those historically delayed. And this type of marginality is transversal and
the red dots are visible from north to south and from east to west, in urban and rural areas. “We rarely have the possibility of georeferencing poverty, and states must have this fundamental tool, because if not, how do we guide public resources?” Said Ianina Tuñón, a researcher responsible for ODSA, on the importance of the map. He added that “it throws a lot of data that we would not otherwise have been able to notice”, and that the situation “clearly more critical” is that of the Northeast: ”
Chaco and Corrientes have very high levels of chronic poverty, above average (26%), while in the northwest you have the situation of
Formosa and Santiago del Estero“Regarding the conurbano, he said:” There are cases with high chronic poverty rates that affect hundreds of thousands of people, such as
Florencio Varela, President Perón and Marcos Paz“.

We rarely have the possibility of georeferencing poverty, and states must have this fundamental tool, because if not, how do we direct public resources?

Ianina Tuñón

The specialists clarified that although
The map focuses on 10% of Argentine households most likely to persist in poverty, it is a relative measure, complementary to those of income poverty or multidimensional, and which aims to focus on its characteristics. In this regard, Gala Díaz Langou, director of Social Protection of Cippec, explained: “What we are looking for is to understand why the chronic poor are in that situation, that's why we decided to focus on the poorest 10%, which is where those are most prevalent. characteristics that mark that there are less chances of getting ahead “.

Chronic poverty refers to situations of persistent deficiencies: even if a decade of uninterrupted economic growth is reached at 3% per year – which in historical perspective would be an unprecedented achievement – it is difficult for the proportion of the poor to fall below 15%.

Leonardo Gasparini, director of Cedlas, explained that, in principle, that “hard core” would be able to overcome its state of chronic deficiencies through two paths: “Or with very ambitious interventions of public policies that ensure significant progress in various directions – income , employment, housing, infrastructure, containment and education-, or as a result of unusually high economic growth, sustainable for years and generating employment opportunities for all segments of the population. “

Díaz Langou added: “A poverty eradication strategy could be articulated around
three key axes: that of
income guarantee through the labor market and social protection; that of
investment in human development and habitat, and a transverse axis of
institutional and financing to coordinate and ensure the main strategic lines. This demands articulating the measures taken by the Nation, the provinces and the municipalities. “

map shows some specific indicators, such as households with critical overcrowding or where children between 6 and 17 do not attend school.

Tuñón said that in Florencio Varela there are 5% of boys who do not go to school and in Marcos Paz, 7%, while in Vicente López or San Isidro the percentage drops to 2%. On the other hand, in General Güemes, Chaco, and in Bermejo, Formosa, the figure climbs to 12%.

With respect to
profile of the chronic poor, almost
half are under 15 years old, 70% have a low educational level (less than 9 years of education) and practically none have a higher one. The average household size is more than six people, and while just over half of the poor by current income have unsatisfied basic needs, they reach 70%. On the other hand, only 28.9% are connected to an adequate sanitation system. The highest percentage of workers are salaried in small firms and to a lesser extent, unskilled self-employed. In addition, many are street vendors, work in construction or domestic service. There are also differences when comparing chronic poverty in rural areas with urban ones.

Gasparini explained: “There are certain shortcomings that are more marked in the latter, such as overcrowding, habitat deterioration, unemployment. Others are more important in rural areas:
few educational opportunities, difficult access to health, fragility in employment“Tuñón added:” When you consider rural populations, where there is very little population concentration, we find, for example, that 100% have poor access to water and will certainly be a well. In these contexts, poverty has much cruder characteristics than those we observe in denser areas, for example, by José C. Paz or La Matanza in the conurbano. “

For Gasparini, “what this work emphasizes is that even if we manage to grow again there are many groups that hardly manage to overcome the conditions of lack and vulnerability in the short and medium term.” Therefore, for the researcher, poverty has to be attacked with all available instruments and naturally “these groups should have priority in public policies,” he concluded.

Characteristics of chronic poverty

  • It persists over time, it is
    intergenerational (at least three generations)
  • It does not involve only monetary issues, but
    structural: less human and social capital (low educational and labor opportunities) and lack of access to certain basic infrastructure within households (overcrowding, basic services)
  • Urban-rural contrast: Some conditions worsen according to geography. In urban areas, overcrowding, habitat deterioration, unemployment, lack of sewers. In rural areas: few educational opportunities, difficult access to health, fragility in employment


(tagsToTranslate) The map of inequality: how chronic poverty is distributed in the country – LA NACION

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