Social Issues

Argentina navigates pandemic with 60% of children in poverty

By Verónica Dalto

Buenos Aires, Jun 1 (EFE).- Roughly 60% of Argentinian children lived in poverty when the second wave of Covid-19 infections struck the country, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (Indec).

High inflation and Covid-19 restrictions have curbed an economic rebound, after the pandemic dealt a critical blow to Argentina’s economy, which was already going through a now three-year-long recession.

The number of 14-year-olds living in poverty increased by 5% from the end of 2019 to the second half of 2020, when it reached 57.7% of children.

The current government, under Alberto Fernandez’s leadership, will once again impose new restrictions, and schools will only be allowed to teach online.

The renewed lockdown comes as child poverty continues to grow, having surpassed the figures of late 2020.

“It is a fact that poverty rates increased in the first half of this year, considering inflation runs rampant and incomes are being taken away,” said Jorge Paz, Unicef consultant and researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina.

Inflation soared to a yearly 46.3% in April, according to Indec, while the state’s payments to ease unemployment woes start to dissipate, although some social assistance programs were extended last month.

During the second half of 2020, general poverty was as high as 42%, whereas child poverty is higher due to poor households having more children than wealthier families.

According to Paz, children in poverty in Argentina have greater access to public health care and education than in other Latin American countries, but the closure of schools to reduce Covid-19 infections was a dramatic blow for the kids, who could not benefit anymore from food and drinking water available in schools.

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