BUENOS AIRES – A report by the Universidad Catolica Argentina placing the country’s poverty index at 28.7 percent is “untrue,” President Cristina Fernandez’s administration said Wednesday.
“It’s not close to reality, and not by chance, and the calculations are awful. There’s no chance that it really represents what is happening in Argentina,” Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez (no relation to the president) told reporters upon being consulted about the UCA study.
Justifying the absence of government statistics on poverty since the first half of 2013, when it reported that the rate was 4.7 percent, he said that “the government is redefining its way of measuring poverty.”
The old measure “was not up to date and was not federal,” since it did not include data from the entire country, the Cabinet chief said.
He also cited a finding by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that “Argentina eliminated hunger and practically eliminated poverty.”
“The (UN) Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean says that in 2014 Argentina reduced poverty by 7 percent,” Anibal Fernandez said.
In contrast to the official discourse, the document released on Tuesday by the UCA “registers a growth in the poverty rate both in (numbers of) households and in the population.”
According to the report, Argentine households living in poverty moved from 18 percent to 18.3 percent between 2013 and 2014, while the incidence of poverty in the population as a whole grew from 27.4 percent to 28.7 percent.