This article analyses the various dimensions of the "new poverty"which emerged during the 1980s and 1990s. It begins with a review ofthe definitions of the term in Europe, the United States and several LatinAmerican countries. The case of Argentina is then examined, paying closeattention to the pauperization of the middle class in that country at severalpoints between the mid-1970s and the crisis of 2001. Structural poverty-an older phenomenon- is used as a point of reference to describethe characteristics of the new impoverishment, the adaptation strategiesevolved to address it using cultural and social capital, the erosion ofcollective social identity and the urban dimension of pauperization. Thearticle concludes with an analysis of the transformations experienced bythe new poor since the issue was first examined, as well as the specificchallenges it poses for public policy.