Due to the pandemic, 2 out of every 3 households in Bahia had to go into debt

A study by Conicet revealed that in Bahía Blanca 2 out of 3 households declared they had some type of debt and 4 out of 10 had problems meeting the agreed payments, in the framework of the coronavirus pandemic.

The data correspond to Latest report on “Indebtedness in Homes in Bahía Blanca”, which is prepared by the Institute of Economic and Social Research of the South, dependent on Conicet and the UNS, based in the Department of Economics of that university.

The work bears the signatures of Francisco Cantamutto, Cecilia Bermúdez, Daiana Bisterfeld and Nicolás Pérez, who pointed out that “having passed more than a year and a half since its inception, it is evident that the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has magnified the existing structural gaps (education, access to health, gender , material living conditions, etc.) with a more serious and lasting impact on sectors that were already in vulnerable conditions. “

As they indicated, the crisis exacerbated trends that have been present for years in the national economy, such as losses in job quality and purchasing power: “This not only impacts the domestic finances of the households in question, but also the size of the household. internal market. This has a particularly pernicious effect on small and medium-sized companies, which tend to meet local demand, “they assured.

In turn, they remarked that certain measures, such as the three Emergency Family Income (IFE) payments — each for $ 10,000, for households where no person had registered paid work, except for personal from private homes—, “although limited in relation to at the value of the basic food basket, they prevented a more intense increase in poverty and indigence and showed positive effects in terms of gender “.

The work, which was shared today in the UNS website, presents data on income and debts of households in Bahía Blanca from a survey carried out in June 2021, and also compares the results with the situation a year ago. For its preparation, responses were received from 522 people, the most frequent age range being between 30 and 45 years.

The report clarifies that the data reaches a good representation of people active in the labor market, under 65 years of age, with high levels of education. This applies especially to those employed in the public sector, self-employed and unemployed. Most (58%) are households with incomes above the poverty line.

The work also highlights that, in terms of occupation, the latest information available indicates that unemployment remained at around 10.2% of the economically active population (a decrease of 0.2 points) but contrasted with a lower activity rate . In other words, there are people who left the labor market and did not reintegrate. Likewise, an increase in self-employment is observed to the detriment of work in a dependency relationship.

Regarding the educational situation, they clarified that the survey has a profile clearly biased towards people who have reached high levels of education: “It is an anomaly that limits the statistical analysis of this sample in relation to the population of the city. More still, it expresses the difficulties to reach social sectors with greater socio-economic difficulties, as we anticipated in the presentation. However, we have 92 responses from people with lower levels of education, potentially associated with more vulnerable social situations “, indicated their authors.

Details of surveyed households

The report highlights that 36% had to increase the hours worked, while 19% maintained them and another 19% reduced them.

Just over half reported earning the same as before, while a third earned less and 4% lost their income.

Almost three out of every five people who responded to the survey were in households out of poverty.

27% of the surveyed households received some type of help (an increase from the 16% received in 2020). In addition, collaboration between relatives and close people increased, as well as the presence of the State, especially through aid to companies.

The work also revealed that 2 out of 3 households declared they have some type of debt, which means an increase of 46% compared to the previous year.

Although the taking of credit is distributed homogeneously at all educational levels, arrears in payments decrease at higher educational levels. Both forms of debt — credit and arrears — grow as household income declines. Women, especially young women, show higher levels of indebtedness than the average.

In addition, the presence of minors in the home markedly increases the proportion of households in debt, a situation that intensifies with a greater number of minors and fewer adults.

Other data that stand out in the study:

– 1 in 3 households had arrears in payments, mainly taxes and fees, as well as public services. Then followed the payments of college / high school fees and rent, affecting 1 in 4 tenants.

– 2 out of 3 households took new credit, with credit cards being the most used source (7 out of 10 households), followed by loans from close people (3 out of 10).

– The main reasons for taking on debt were the purchase of appliances or clothes, daily expenses and repairs in the home or in the vehicle.

– 53% of households indicated that payments took a quarter or less of total income. This figure is compatible with the proportion that indicated that it would not be a problem to face future payments. Meanwhile, 17% indicated that the payments took almost all or more than what was earned.

– 42% of indebted households had problems meeting agreed payments. To resolve the situation, they stopped “giving tastes”, the quantity or quality of food was reduced and habitual consumption was stopped. In a third of the cases the situation was not solved and in another third it was solved thanks to loans from close people.

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