República Argentina (Spanish)
|Motto: "En unión y libertad" (Spanish)
"In Unity and Freedom"
|Anthem: Himno Nacional Argentino (Spanish)
Argentine National Anthem
Mainland Argentina shown in dark green, with territorial claims shown in light green
and largest city
|Ethnic groups (2013)|
|Government||Federal presidential constitutional republic|
|-||President||Cristina Fernández de Kirchner|
|-||Vice President||Amado Boudou|
|-||Supreme Court President||Ricardo Lorenzetti|
|-||Lower house||Chamber of Deputies|
|Independence from Spain|
|-||May Revolution||25 May 1810|
|-||Declared||9 July 1816|
|-||Current constitution||1 May 1853|
|-||Total||2,780,400 km2[B] (8th)
1,073,518 sq mi
|-||2010 census||40,117,096 (32nd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||$771.008 billion (22nd)|
|-||Per capita||$18,582 (55th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||$484.596 billion (26th)|
|-||Per capita||$11,679 (61st)|
|Gini (2010)|| 44.49
|HDI (2013)|| 0.811
very high · 45th
|Currency||Peso ($) (
|Time zone||ART (UTC−3)|
|Date format||dd.mm.yyyy (CE)|
|Drives on the||right[b]|
|ISO 3166 code||AR|
|a.||^ De facto at all government levels.[C] In addition, some provinces have official de jure languages:|
|b.||^ Trains ride on left.|
Argentina i//, officially the Argentine Republic[A] (Spanish: República Argentina [reˈpuβlika aɾxenˈtina]) is a federal republic located in southeastern South America. Covering most of the Southern Cone, it is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast; Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east; Chile to the west and the Drake Passage to the south.
With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi),[B] Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the second largest in Latin America and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
A historical and current middle power and a prominent Latin American and Southern Cone regional power, Argentina is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies and Latin America's third-largest. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, WBG, WTO, Mercosur, UNASUR, CELAC and OEI. Because of its stability, market size and increasing share of the high-tech sector, Argentina is classed by investors as a middle emerging economy with a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index.
The earliest recorded human presence in the area now known as Argentina is dated from the Paleolithic period. The Spanish colonization began in 1512. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas colony founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, which ended with the country's reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. From then on—while massive European immigration waves radically reshaped its cultural and demographic outlook—Argentina enjoyed an historically almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity: by the early 20th century it already ranked as the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world. After 1930, however, and despite remaining among the fifteen richest countries until mid-century, it descended into political instability and suffered periodic economic crisis that sank it back into underdevelopment.
The name "Argentina" is derived from Latin argentum ("silver", plata in Spanish), a noun associated with the silver mountains legend, widespread among the first European explorers of the La Plata Basin.
The first written use of the name can be traced to La Argentina,[D] a 1602 poem by Martín del Barco Centenera describing the region and the foundation of Buenos Aires. Although "Argentina" was already in common usage by the 18th century, the country was formally named "Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata" by the Spanish Empire, and "United Provinces of the Río de la Plata" after independence.
The 1826 constitution included the first use of the name "Argentine Republic" in legal documents. The name "Argentine Confederation" was also commonly used and was formalized in the Argentine Constitution of 1853. In 1860 a presidential decree settled the country's name as "Argentine Republic", and that year's constitutional amendment ruled all the names since 1810 as legally valid. [E]
In the English language, the country was traditionally called "the Argentine", mimicking the typical Spanish usage la Argentina. This fell out of fashion during the mid to late 20th century, and now the country is simply referred to as "Argentina".
The earliest traces of human life in the area now known as Argentina are dated from the Paleolithic period, with further traces in the Mesolithic and Neolithic. Until the period of European colonization Argentina was relatively sparsely populated by a wide number of diverse cultures with different social organizations, which can be divided into three main groups:
Europeans first arrived in the region with the 1502 voyage of Amerigo Vespucci. The Spanish navigators Juan Díaz de Solís and Sebastian Cabot visited the territory that is now Argentina in 1516 and 1526, respectively. In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza founded the small settlement of Buenos Aires, which was abandoned in 1541.
Further colonization efforts came from Paraguay—establishing the Governorate of the Río de la Plata—Peru and Chile. Francisco de Aguirre founded Santiago del Estero in 1553. Londres was founded in 1558; Mendoza, in 1561; San Juan, in 1562; San Miguel de Tucumán, in 1565. Juan de Garay founded Santa Fe in 1573 and the same year Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera set up Córdoba. Garay went further south to re-fund Buenos Aires in 1580. San Luis was established in 1596.
The Spanish Empire subordinated the economic potential of the Argentine territory to the immediate wealth of the silver and gold mines in Bolivia and Peru, and as such it became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 with Buenos Aires as its capital.
Buenos Aires repelled two ill-fated British invasions in 1806 and 1807. The ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and the example of the first Atlantic Revolutions generated criticism to the absolutist monarchy that ruled the country. Like in the rest of Spanish America, the overthrow of Ferdinand VII during the Peninsular War created great concern.
Beginning a process from which Argentina was to emerge as successor state to the Viceroyalty, the 1810 May Revolution replaced the viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros with the First Junta, a new government in Buenos Aires composed by locals. In the first clashes of the Independence War the Junta crushed a royalist counter-revolution in Córdoba, but failed to overcome those of the Banda Oriental, Upper Peru and Paraguay, which later became independent states.
Revolutionaries split into two antagonist groups: the Centralists and the Federalists—a move that would define Argentina's first decades of independence. The Assembly of the Year XIII appointed Gervasio Antonio de Posadas as Argentina's first Supreme Director.
In 1816 the Congress of Tucumán formalized the Declaration of Independence. One year later General Martín Miguel de Güemes stopped royalists on the North, and General José de San Martín took an army across the Andes and secured the independence of Chile; then he led the fight to the Spanish stronghold of Lima and proclaimed the independence of Peru.[F] In 1819 Buenos Aires enacted a centralist constitution that was soon abrogated by federalists.
The 1820 Battle of Cepeda, fought between the Centralists and the Federalists, resulted in the end of the Supreme Director rule. In 1826 Buenos Aires enacted another centralist constitution, with Bernardino Rivadavia being appointed as the first president of the country. However, the interior provinces soon rose against him, forced his resignation and discarded the constitution. Centralists and Federalists resumed the civil war; the latter prevailed and formed the Argentine Confederation in 1831, led by Juan Manuel de Rosas. During his regime he faced a French blockade (1838–1840), the War of the Confederation (1836–1839), and a combined Anglo-French blockade (1845–1850), but remained undefeated and prevented further loss of national territory. His trade restriction policies, however, angered the interior provinces and in 1852 Justo José de Urquiza, another powerful caudillo, beat him out of power. As new president of the Confederation, Urquiza enacted the liberal and federal 1853 Constitution. Buenos Aires seceded but was forced back into the Confederation after being defeated in the 1859 Battle of Cepeda.
Overpowering Urquiza in the 1861 Battle of Pavón, Bartolomé Mitre secured Buenos Aires predominance and was elected as the first president of the reunified country. He was followed by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Nicolás Avellaneda; these three presidencies set up the bases of the modern Argentine State.
Starting with Julio Argentino Roca in 1880, ten consecutive federal governments emphasized liberal economic policies. The massive wave of European immigration they promoted—second only to the United States'—led to a near-reinvention of Argentine society and economy that by 1908 had placed the country as the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world. Driven by this immigration wave and decreasing mortality, the Argentine population grew fivefold and the economy 15-fold: from 1870 to 1910 Argentina's wheat exports went from 100,000 to 2,500,000 t (110,000 to 2,760,000 short tons) per year, while frozen beef exports increased from 25,000 to 365,000 t (28,000 to 402,000 short tons) per year, placing Argentina as one of the world's top five exporters of beef. Its railway mileage rose from 503 to 31,104 km (313 to 19,327 mi). Fostered by a new public, compulsory, free and secular education system, literacy skyrocketed from 22% to 65%, a level higher than most Latin American nations would reach even fifty years later. Furthermore, real GDP grew so fast that despite the huge immigration flux, per capita income between 1862 to 1920 went from 67% of developed country levels to 100%:
Despite these unique achievements, the country was slow to meet its original goals of industrialization: after steep development of capital-intensive local industries in the 1920s, a significant part of the manufacture sector remained labor-intensive in the 1930s.
In 1912, president Roque Sáenz Peña enacted universal and secret male suffrage, which allowed Hipólito Yrigoyen, leader of the Radical Civic Union (or UCR), to win the 1916 election. He enacted social and economic reforms and extended assistance to family farmers and small businesses. Argentina stayed neutral during World War I. The second administration of Yrigoyen faced an economic crisis, influenced by the Great Depression.
In 1930 Yrigoyen was ousted from power by the military led by José Félix Uriburu. Although Argentina remained among the fifteen richest countries until mid-century, this coup d'état marks the start of the steady economic and social decline that pushed the country back into underdevelopment.
Uriburu ruled for two years; then Agustín Pedro Justo was elected with fraud, and signed a controversial treaty with the United Kingdom. Argentina stayed neutral during World War II, a decision that had full British support but was rejected by the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. A new military coup rose to government, and Argentina declared war to the Axis Powers a month before the end of World War II in Europe. The minister of welfare, Juan Domingo Perón, was fired and jailed because of his high popularity among workers. His liberation was forced by a massive popular demonstration, and he went to win the 1946 election.
Perón created a political movement known as Peronism. He nationalized strategic industries and services, improved wages and working conditions, paid the full external debt and achieved nearly full employment. The economy, however, began to decline in 1950 because of over-expenditure. His highly popular wife, Eva Perón, played a central political role. She pushed Congress to enact women suffrage in 1947, and developed an unprecedented social assistance to the most vulnerable sectors of society. However, her declining health did not allow her to run for the vice-presidency in 1951, and she died of cancer the following year. Perón was reelected in 1951, even surpassing his 1946 performance. In 1955 the Navy bombed the Plaza de Mayo in an ill-fated attempt to kill the president. A few months later, during the self-called Liberating Revolution coup, he resigned and went into exile in Spain.
The new head of State, Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, proscribed Peronism and banned all of its manifestations; nevertheless, Peronists kept organized underground. Arturo Frondizi from the UCR won the following elections. He encouraged investment to achieve energetic and industrial self-sufficiency, reversed a chronic trade deficit and lifted Peronism proscription; yet his efforts to stay in good terms with Peronists and the military earned him the rejection of both and a new coup forced him out. But Senate president José María Guido reacted swiftly and applied the anti-power vacuum legislation, becoming president instead; elections were repealed and Peronism proscribed again. Arturo Illia was elected in 1963 and led to an overall increase in prosperity; however his attempts to legalize Peronism resulted in his overthrow in 1966 by the Juan Carlos Onganía-led Argentine Revolution, a new military government that sought to rule indefinitely.
Onganía shut down Congress, banned all political parties and dismantled student and worker unions. In 1969, popular discontent led to two massive protests: the Cordobazo and the Rosariazo. The terrorist guerrilla organization Montoneros kidnapped and executed Aramburu. The newly chosen head of government, Alejandro Agustín Lanusse, seeking to ease the growing political pressure, let Héctor José Cámpora be the Peronist candidate instead of Perón. Cámpora won the March 1973 election, issued a pardon for condemned guerrilla members and then secured Perón's return from his exile in Spain.
On the day Perón returned to Argentina, the clash between Peronist internal factions—right-wing union leaders and left-wing youth from Montoneros—resulted in the Ezeiza Massacre. Cámpora resigned, overwhelmed by political violence, and Perón won the September 1973 election with his third wife Isabel as vice-president. He expelled Montoneros from the party and they became once again a clandestine organization. José López Rega organized the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (AAA) to fight against them and the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP). Perón died in July 1974 and was succeeded by his wife, who signed a secret decree empowering the military and the police to "annihilate" the left-wing subversion, stopping ERP's attempt to start a rural insurgence in Tucumán Province. Isabel Perón was ousted one year later by Jorge Rafael Videla, initiating the National Reorganization Process, often shortened as Proceso.
The Proceso shut down Congress, removed the judges of the Supreme Court, banned political parties and unions, and resorted to the forced disappearance of suspected guerrilla members and of anyone believed to be associated with the left-wing. By the end of 1976 Montoneros had lost near 2000 members; by 1977, the ERP was completely defeated. A severely weakened Montoneros launched a counterattack in 1979, which was quickly annihilated, ending the guerrilla threat; nevertheless the Junta stayed in government. Then head of State Leopoldo Galtieri launched Operation Rosario, which escalated into the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de Malvinas); within two months Argentina was defeated by the United Kingdom. Reynaldo Bignone replaced Galtieri and began to organize the transition to democratic rule.
Raúl Alfonsín won the 1983 elections campaigning for the prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations during the Proceso: the Trial of the Juntas and other martial courts sentenced all the coup's leaders but, under military pressure, he also enacted the Full Stop and Due Obedience laws, which halted prosecutions further down the chain of command. The worsening economic crisis and hyperinflation reduced his popular support and the Peronist Carlos Menem won the 1989 election. Soon after, riots forced Alfonsín to an early resignation.
Menem embraced neoliberal policies: a fixed exchange rate, business deregulation, privatizations and dismantling of protectionist barriers normalized the economy for a while. He pardoned the officers who had been sentenced during Alfonsín's government. The 1994 Constitutional Amendment allowed Menem to be elected for a second term. The economy began to decline in 1995, with increasing unemployment and recession; led by Fernando de la Rúa, the UCR returned to the presidency in the 1999 elections.
De la Rúa kept Menem's economic plan despite the worsening crisis, which led to growing social discontent. A massive capital flight was responded to with a freezing of bank accounts, generating further turmoil. The December 2001 riots forced him to resign. Congress appointed Eduardo Duhalde as acting president, who abrogated the fixed exchange rate established by Menem. By the late 2002 the economic crisis began to recess, but the assassination of two piqueteros by the police caused political commotion, prompting Duhalde to move elections forward. Néstor Kirchner was elected as the new president.
Boosting the neo-keynesian economic policies laid by Duhalde, Kirchner ended the economic crisis attaining significant fiscal and trade surpluses, and steep GDP growth. Under his administration Argentina restructured its defaulted debt with an unprecedented discount of about 70% on most bonds, paid off debts with the International Monetary Fund, purged the military of officers with doubtful human rights records, nullified and voided the Full Stop and Due Obedience laws,[G] ruled them as unconstitutional, and resumed legal prosecution of the Juntas' crimes. He did not run for reelection, promoting instead the candidacy of his wife, senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was elected in 2007 and reelected in 2011.
With a mainland surface area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,518 sq mi),[B] Argentina is located in southern South America, sharing land borders with Chile across the Andes to the west; Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east; and the Drake Passage to the south; for an overall land border length of 9,376 km (5,826 mi). Its coastal border over Rio de la Plata and South Atlantic Ocean is 5,117 km (3,180 mi) long.
Argentina's highest point is Mount Aconcagua in the Mendoza province (6,959 m (22,831 ft) above sea level), also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres. The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in the San Julián Great Depression, Santa Cruz Province (−105 m (−344 ft) below sea level, also the lowest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres, and the seventh lowest point on Earth)
The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province; the southernmost is Cape San Pío in Tierra del Fuego Province; the easternmost is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones and the westernmost is within Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz province. The maximum north–south distance is 3,694 km (2,295 mi), while the maximum east–west one is 1,423 km (884 mi).
The Argentine Sea is the shallow area of the Atlantic Ocean over the Argentine Shelf, an unusually wide continental platform. Its waters are influenced by two major ocean currents: the warm Brazil Current and the cold Falklands Current.
Although the most populated areas are generally temperate, Argentina has an exceptional climate diversity, ranging from tropical in the north to subpolar in the far continental south. Climate patterns roughly follow the geographic regional division:[H]
Major wind currents include the cool Pampero Winds blowing on the flat plains of Patagonia and the Pampas; following the cold front, warm currents blow from the north in middle and late winter, creating mild conditions. The Sudestada usually moderates cold temperatures but brings very heavy rains, rough seas and coastal flooding. It is most common in late autumn and winter along the central coast and in the Río de la Plata estuary. The Zonda, a hot dry wind, affects Cuyo and the central Pampas. Squeezed of all moisture during the 6,000 m (19,685 ft) descent from the Andes, Zonda winds can blow for hours with gusts up to 120 km/h (75 mph), fueling wildfires and causing damage; between June and November, when the Zonda blows, snowstorms and blizzard (viento blanco) conditions usually affect higher elevations.
Argentina is a megadiverse country, hosting one of the greatest ecosystem varieties in the world: 15 continental zones, 3 oceanic zones, and the Antarctic region are all represented in its territory. This huge ecosystem variety has led to a biological diversity that is among the world's largest:
From this total, 529 species of vertebrates and at least 240 plants are threatened, mostly by conversion of natural land for agriculture and deforestation, but also by industrialization, urbanization and a growing number of alien invasive species.
Argentina is also the 9th most biocapable country in the world. As of 2013[update] it has a protected area network consisting of 299 continental zones (6.3% of total mainland area), 21 Ramsar sites and 11 biosphere reserves partially sampling most of its numerous ecoregions.
Argentina is a federal constitutional republic and representative democracy. The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the Constitution of Argentina, the country's supreme legal document. The seat of government is the city of Buenos Aires, as designated by Congress. Suffrage is universal, equal, secret and mandatory.[L]
The federal government is composed of three branches:
Argentina is a federation of twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires. Provinces are divided for administration purposes into departments and municipalities, except for Buenos Aires Province, which is divided into partidos. The City of Buenos Aires is divided into communes.
Provinces hold all the power that they chose not to delegate to the federal government; they must be representative republics and must not contradict the Constitution. Beyond this they are fully autonomous: they enact their own constitutions, freely organize their local governments, and own and manage their natural and financial resources. Some provinces have bicameral provincial legislatures, while others have unicameral ones.[M]
During the War of Independence the main cities and their surrounding countrysides became provinces though the intervention of their cabildos. The Anarchy of the Year XX completed this process, shaping the original thirteen provinces. Jujuy seceded from Salta in 1834, and the thirteen provinces became fourteen. After seceding for a decade, Buenos Aires accepted the 1853 Constitution of Argentina in 1861, and was made a federal territory in 1880.
A 1862 law designated as national territories those under federal control but outside the frontiers of the provinces. In 1884 they served as bases for the establishment of the governorates of Misiones, Formosa, Chaco, La Pampa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego. The agreement about a frontier dispute with Chile in 1900 created the National Territory of Los Andes; its lands were incorporated into Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca in 1943. La Pampa and Chaco became provinces in 1951. Misiones did so in 1953, and Formosa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz, in 1955. The last national territory, Tierra del Fuego, became the Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province in 1990.
Foreign policy is officially handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, which answers to the President.
An historical and current middle power, Argentina bases its foreign policies on the guiding principles of non-intervention, human rights, self-determination, international cooperation, disarmament and peaceful settlement of conflicts. One of the G-15 and G-20 major economies of the world, it is also a founding member of the UN, WBG, WTO and OAS. In 2012 Argentina was elected again to a two-year non-permanent position on the United Nations Security Council and is participating in major peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Cyprus, Western Sahara and the Middle East.
As a prominent Latin American and Southern Cone regional power, Argentina co-founded OEI, CELAC and UNASUR, of which the former president Néstor Kirchner was first Secretary General. Argentina is also a founding member of the Mercosur block, having Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela as partners. Since 2002 the country has emphasized its key role in Latin American integration, and the block—which has some supranational legislative functions—is its first international priority.
Argentina claims 965,597 km2 (372,819 sq mi) in Antarctica,[N] which overlaps claims by Chile and the United Kingdom, though all such claims fall under the provisions of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, of which Argentina is a founding signatory and permanent consulting member, with the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat being based in Buenos Aires.
Argentina disputes sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which are administered by the United Kingdom as Overseas Territories.
The Armed Forces are controlled by the President and a civilian Minister of Defense. In addition to the army, navy and air force, there are also two forces controlled by the Interior Ministry: the National Gendarmerie, which guards borders and places of strategic importance; and the Naval Prefecture, a coast guard which protects major rivers and maritime territory.
The armed forces of Argentina number about 70,000 active duty personnel, one third fewer than before the return to democracy in 1983. The age for enlistment in the volunteer military is from 16 to 23 years old.
Historically, Argentina's military has been one of the best equipped in the region (for example, developing its own jet fighters as early as the 1950s); but recently it has faced sharper expenditure cutbacks than most other Latin American armed forces. Real military expenditures declined steadily after 1981 and though there have been recent increases, the defense budget is now around US$3 billion.
Traditionally, Argentina maintains close defense cooperation and military-supply relationships with the United States, and to a lesser extent, with Israel, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.
Benefiting from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector and a diversified industrial base, the economy of Argentina is Latin America's third-largest. It has a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index and a relatively high GDP per capita, with a considerable internal market size and a growing share of the high-tech sector.
A middle emerging economy and one of the world's top developing nations,[O] Argentina is a member of the G-20 major economies. Historically, however, its economic performance has been very uneven, with high economic growth alternating with severe recessions, income maldistribution and—in the recent decades—increasing poverty. Early in the 20th century Argentina achieved development, rose to the seventh place among the world's richest countries and became the wealthiest in the Southern Hemisphere. Although managing to keep a place among the top fifteen economies until mid-century, it suffered a long and steady decline and now it's just an upper middle-income country.
High inflation—a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades—has become a trouble once again, with 2013 rates between the official 10.2% and the privately estimated 25%, causing heated public debate. The government has manipulated inflation statistics. Income distribution, having improved since 2002, is classified as "medium", still considerably unequal.
Manufacturing is the largest single sector in the nation's economy (19% of GDP), and is well-integrated into Argentine agriculture, with half the nation's industrial exports being agricultural in nature. Based on food processing and textiles during its early development in the first half of the 20th century, industrial production has become highly diversified in Argentina. Leading sectors by production value are: Food processing and beverages; motor vehicles and auto parts; refinery products, and biodiesel; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; steel and aluminum; and industrial and farm machinery; electronics and home appliances. These latter include over three million big ticket items, as well as an array of electronics, kitchen appliances and cellular phones, among others. The country's auto industry produced 829,000 motor vehicles in 2011, and exported 507,000 (mainly to Brazil, which in turn exported a somewhat larger number to Argentina). Beverages are another significant sector, and Argentina has long been among the top five wine producing countries in the world; beer overtook wine production in 2000, and today leads by nearly two billion liters a year to one.
Other manufactured goods include: glass and cement; plastics and tires; lumber products; textiles; tobacco products; recording and print media; furniture; apparel and leather. Most manufacturing is organized around 280 industrial parks, with another 190 slated to open during 2012. Nearly half the industries are based in the Greater Buenos Aires area, although Córdoba, Rosario, and Ushuaia are also significant industrial centers; the latter city became the nation's leading center of electronics production during the 1980s. The production of computers, laptops, and servers grew by 160% in 2011, to nearly 3.4 million units, and covered two-thirds of local demand. Another important rubric historically dominated by imports – farm machinery – will likewise mainly be manufactured domestically by 2014.
Construction permits nationwide covered nearly 19 million m² (205 million ft²) in 2008. The construction sector accounts for over 5% of GDP, and two-thirds of the construction was for residential buildings.
Argentine electric output totaled over 122 billion Kwh in 2009. This was generated in large part through well developed natural gas and hydroelectric resources. Nuclear energy is also of high importance, and the country is one of the largest producers and exporters, alongside Canada and Russia of cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope widely used in cancer therapy.
Argentina has the largest railway system in Latin America, with 36,966 km (22,970 mi) of operating lines out of a full network of almost 48,000 km (30,000 mi). This system links all 23 provinces plus Buenos Aires City, and connects with all neighboring countries. There are four incompatible gauges in use; this forces virtually all interregional freight traffic to pass through Buenos Aires. The system has been in decline since the 1940s: regularly running up large budgetary deficits, by 1991 it was transporting 1400 times less merchandise than it did in 1973.
Buenos Aires, all provincial capitals except Ushuaia, and all medium-sized towns are interconnected by 69,412 km (43,131 mi) of paved roads, out of a total road network of 230,604 km (143,291 mi). Most important cities are linked by a growing number of expressways, including Buenos Aires–La Plata, Rosario–Córdoba, Córdoba–Villa Carlos Paz, Villa Mercedes–Mendoza, National Route 14 General José Gervasio Artigas and Provincial Route 2 Juan Manuel Fangio, among others. Nevertheless this road infrastructure is still inadequate and cannot handle the sharply growing demand caused by deterioration of the railway system.
There are about 11,000 km (6,800 mi) of waterways, mostly comprising the La Plata, Paraná, Paraguay and Uruguay rivers, with Buenos Aires, Zárate, Campana, Rosario, San Lorenzo, Santa Fe, Barranqueras and San Nicolas de los Arroyos as the main fluvial ports. Some of the largest sea ports are La Plata–Ensenada, Bahia Blanca, Mar del Plata, Quequén–Necochea, Comodoro Rivadavia, Puerto Deseado, Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia and San Antonio Oeste. Buenos Aires has historically been the most important port; however since the 1990s the Up-River port region has become dominant: stretching along 67 km (42 mi) of the Paraná river shore in Santa Fe Province, it includes 17 ports and in 2013[update] accounted for 50% of all exports.
As of 2013[update] there are 159 airports with paved runways out of more than a thousand. The Ezeiza International Airport, about 35 km (22 mi) from downtown Buenos Aires, is the largest in the country, followed by Cataratas del Iguazú in Misiones, and El Plumerillo in Mendoza. Aeroparque, in the city of Buenos Aires, is the most important domestic airport.
Argentina's print media industry is highly developed, with more than two hundred newspapers. The major national ones include the centrist Clarín, the best-seller in Latin America and the second most widely circulated in the Spanish-speaking world; La Nación (center-right, published since 1870), Página/12 (left-wing, founded in 1987), the Buenos Aires Herald (Latin America's most prestigious English language daily, dating back to 1876) and La Voz del Interior (center, founded in 1904)
Argentina began the world's first regular radio broadcasting on 27 August 1920, when Richard Wagner's Parsifal was aired by a team of medical students led by Enrique Telémaco Susini in Buenos Aires' Teatro Coliseo. By 2002[update] there were 260 AM and 1150 FM registered radio stations in the country.
The Argentine television industry is large, diverse and popular across Latin America, with many productions and TV formats having been exported outside. By 1999 Argentines already enjoyed the highest by far availability of cable and satellite television in Latin America, similar to percentages in North America. As of 2011[update] about 67% of the population has internet access and 137.2%, mobile phone subscriptions.
Argentines have three Nobel Prize laureates in the Sciences. Bernardo Houssay, the first Latin American among them, discovered the role of pituitary hormones in regulating glucose in animals. César Milstein did extensive research in antibodies. Luis Leloir discovered how organisms store energy converting glucose into glycogen and the compounds which are fundamental in metabolizing carbohydrates. Argentine research has led to the treatment of heart diseases and several forms of cancer. Domingo Liotta designed and developed the first artificial heart successfully implanted in a human being in 1969. René Favaloro developed the techniques and performed the world's first ever coronary bypass surgery.
Argentina's nuclear programme has been highly successful. In 1957 Argentina was the first country in Latin America to design and build a research reactor with homegrown technology, the RA-1 Enrico Fermi. This reliance in the development of own nuclear related technologies, instead of simply buying them abroad, was a constant of Argentina's nuclear programme conducted by the civilian National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA). Nuclear facilities with Argentine technology have been built in Peru, Algeria, Australia and Egypt. In 1983, the country admitted having the capability of producing weapon-grade uranium, a major step needed to assemble nuclear weapons; since then, however, Argentina has pledged to use nuclear power only for peaceful purposes. As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argentina has been a strong voice in support of nuclear non-proliferation efforts and is highly committed to global nuclear security. In 1974 it was the first country in Latin America to put in-line a commercial nuclear power plant, Atucha I. Although the Argentine built parts for that station amounted to 10% of the total, the nuclear fuel it uses are since entirely built in the country. Later nuclear power stations employed a higher percentage of Argentine built components; Embalse, finished in 1983, a 30% and the 2011 Atucha II reactor a 40%.
Despite its modest budget and numerous setbacks, academics and the sciences in Argentina have enjoyed an international respect since the turn of the 1900s, when Dr. Luis Agote devised the first safe and effective means of blood transfusion as well as René Favaloro, who was a pioneer in the improvement of the coronary artery bypass surgery. Argentine scientists are still on the cutting edge in fields such as nanotechnology, physics, computer sciences, molecular biology, oncology, ecology, and cardiology. Juan Maldacena, an Argentine-American scientist, is a leading figure in string theory. Argentine built satellites include LUSAT-1 (1990), Víctor-1 (1996), PEHUENSAT-1 (2007), and those developed by CONAE, the Argentine space agency, of the SAC series. The Pierre Auger Observatory near Malargüe, Mendoza, is the world's foremost cosmic ray observatory.
Space research has also become increasingly active in Argentina. Argentina has its own satellite programme, nuclear power station designs (4th generation) and public nuclear energy company INVAP, which provides several countries with nuclear reactors. Established in 1991, the CONAE has since launched two satellites successfully and, in June 2009, secured an agreement with the European Space Agency on for the installation of a 35-m diameter antenna and other mission support facilities at the Pierre Auger Observatory. The facility will contribute to numerous ESA space probes, as well as CONAE's own, domestic research projects. Chosen from 20 potential sites and one of only three such ESA installations in the world, the new antenna will create a triangulation which will allow the ESA to ensure mission coverage around the clock.
Tourism in Argentina is characterized by its cultural offerings and its ample and varied natural assets. The country had 5.28 million visitors in 2010, ranking in terms of the international tourist arrivals as the top destination in South America, and second in Latin America after Mexico. Revenues from international tourists reached US$4.93 billion in 2010, up from US$3.96 billion in 2009. The country's capital city, Buenos Aires, is the most visited city in South America.
In the 2001 census [INDEC], Argentina had a population of 36,260,130, and preliminary results from the 2010 census were of 40,091,359 inhabitants. Argentina ranks third in South America in total population and 33rd globally. Population density is of 15 persons per square kilometer of land area, well below the world average of 50 persons. The population growth rate in 2010 was an estimated 1.03% annually, with a birth rate of 17.7 live births per 1,000 inhabitants and a mortality rate of 7.4 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants. The net migration rate has ranged from zero to four immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants.
The proportion of people under 15 is 25.6%, a little below the world average of 28%, and the proportion of people 65 and older is relatively high at 10.8%. In Latin America this is second only to Uruguay and well above the world average, which is currently 7%. Argentina has one of Latin America's lowest population growth rates, recently about 1% a year, as well as a comparatively low infant mortality rate. Its birth rate of 2.3 children per woman is still nearly twice as high as that in Spain or Italy, compared here as they have similar religious practices and proportions. The median age is approximately 30 years and life expectancy at birth is 77.14 years.
As with other areas of new settlement such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Uruguay, it is considered that Argentina is a country of immigrants. Argentines usually refer to the country as a crisol de razas (crucible of races, or melting pot).
During the 18th and 19th centuries especially, Argentina was the country with the second biggest immigration wave in the world, with 6.6 million, second only to the USA in the numbers of immigrants received (27 millions) and ahead of such other areas of new settlement like Canada, Brazil and Australia.
Strikingly, at those times, the national population doubled every two decades. This belief is endured in the popular saying "los argentinos descienden de los barcos" (Argentines descend from the ships). Therefore, most Argentines are descended from the 19th- and 20th-century immigrants of the great immigration wave to Argentina (1850–1955), with a great majority of these immigrants coming from diverse European countries. The majority of these European immigrants came from Italy and Spain. Argentina is home to a significant population of Arab and partial Arab background, mostly of Syrian and Lebanese origin (in Argentina they are considered among the White people, just like in the USA Census). The Asian population in the country numbers at around 180,000 individuals, most of whom are of Chinese and Korean descent, although an older Japanese community that traces back to the early 20th century also exists.
Recent Illegal immigration has mostly been coming from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, with smaller numbers from Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Romania. The Argentine government estimates that 750,000 inhabitants lack official documents and has launched a program to encourage illegal immigrants to declare their status in return for two-year residence visas——so far over 670,000 applications have been processed under the program.
The de facto[C] official language is Spanish, spoken by almost all Argentines. The country is the largest Spanish-speaking society that universally employs voseo, the use of the pronoun vos instead of tú ("you"), which imposes the use of alternate verb forms as well. Due to the extensive Argentine geography, Spanish has a strong variation among regions, although the prevalent dialect is Rioplatense, primarily spoken in the La Plata Basin and accented similarly to Neapolitan language. Italian and other European immigrants influenced Lunfardo—the regional slang—permeating the vernacular vocabulary of other Latin American countries as well.
There are several second-languages in widespread use among the Argentine population:
The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion but also requires the government to support Roman Catholicism financially. Catholic policy remains influential in government though, and still helps shape a variety of legislation. In a study assessing world-wide levels of religious regulation and persecution, with scores ranging from 0–10 where 0 represented low levels of regulation or persecution, Argentina received a score of 1.4 on Government Regulation of Religion, 6.0 on Social Regulation of Religion, 6.9 on Government Favoritism of Religion and 6 on Religious Persecution.
According to the World Christian Database Argentines are: 67% Christian, 15% non-religious, 1% Muslim, 7% other religions and 9% have not stated. Argentine Christians are mostly Roman Catholic with estimates for the number of Catholics varying from 70% to 90% of the population (though perhaps only 20% attend services regularly). On 13 March 2013, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as Pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first pope from the New World. He took the name Pope Francis.
Argentina has the largest Jewish population of any country in Latin America. A recent study found that approximately 11% of Argentines are non-religious (which includes those who believe in God but do not follow a religion), 4% are agnostics and 5% are atheist. Overall 24% attended religious services regularly. Protestants were the only group with a majority of followers who regularly attended services.
Argentina is highly urbanized, with 92% of its population living in cities: the ten largest metropolitan areas account for half of the population. About 3 million people live in the city of Buenos Aires, and including the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area it totals around 13 million, making it one of the largest urban areas in the world.
The metropolitan areas of Córdoba and Rosario have around 1.3 million inhabitants each and Mendoza, Tucumán, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Salta and Santa Fe have at least half a million people each.
The population is unequally distributed: about 60% live in the Pampa region (21% of the total area), including 15 million people in Buenos Aires Province. The provinces of Córdoba and Santa Fe, and the city of Buenos Aires have 3 million each. Seven other provinces have over one million people each: Mendoza, Tucumán, Entre Ríos, Salta, Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones. Tucumán is the most densely populated with 60 inhabitants per square kilometre (160 /sq mi), the only Argentine province more densely populated than the world average, while the southern province of Santa Cruz has around 1 inhabitants per square kilometre (2.6 /sq mi)
Largest cities or towns of Argentina
(2007 INDEC estimate)[n 1]
|1||Buenos Aires||(Autonomous city)||3,050,728||11||Resistencia||Chaco||377,000||
|3||Rosario||Santa Fe||1,242,000||13||Bahía Blanca||Buenos Aires||304,000|
|4||Mendoza||Mendoza||885,434||14||San Salvador de Jujuy||Jujuy||298,000|
|6||La Plata||Buenos Aires||732,503||16||Paraná||Entre Ríos||268,000|
|7||Mar del Plata||Buenos Aires||604,563||17||Neuquén||Neuquén||255,000|
|8||Salta||Salta||516,000||18||Santiago del Estero||Santiago del Estero||244,733|
|9||Santa Fe||Santa Fe||493,000||19||Merlo||Buenos Aires||244,168|
|10||San Juan||San Juan||453,229||20||Quilmes||Buenos Aires||230,810|
Argentina is a multicultural country with significant European influences. Its cities are largely characterized by both the prevalence of people of European descent, and of conscious imitation of European styles in fashion, architecture and design. The other big influence is the gauchos and their traditional country lifestyle of self-reliance. Finally, indigenous American traditions have been absorbed into the general cultural milieu.
Although Argentina's rich literary history began around 1550, it reached full independence with Esteban Echeverría's El Matadero, a romantic landmark that played a significant role in the development of 19th century's Argentine narrative, split by the ideological divide between the popular, federalist epic of José Hernández' Martín Fierro and the elitist and cultured discourse of Sarmiento's masterpiece, Facundo.
The Modernist movement advanced into the 20th century including exponents such as Leopoldo Lugones and poet Alfonsina Storni; it was followed by Vanguardism, with Ricardo Güiraldes's Don Segundo Sombra as an important reference.
Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina's most acclaimed writer and one of the leading figures in the history of literature, found new ways of looking at the modern world in metaphor and philosophical debate and his influence has extended to authors all over the globe. Short stories such as Ficciones and The Aleph are among his most famous books. He was a friend and collaborator with Adolfo Bioy Casares, who wrote one of the most praised science fiction novels, The Invention of Morel. Julio Cortázar, one of the founders of the Latin American Boom, influenced an entire generation of writers in the Americas and Europe.
Other highly regarded Argentine writers, poets and essayists include Eugenio Cambaceres, Almafuerte, Hugo Wast, Enrique Banchs, Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Victoria Ocampo, Silvina Ocampo, Roberto Arlt, Eduardo Mallea, Silvina Bullrich, Ernesto Sábato, María Elena Walsh. Tomás Eloy Martínez, Manuel Puig and Osvaldo Soriano.
Tango, a Rioplatense musical genre with European and African influences, is one of Argentina's international cultural symbols. The golden age of tango (1930 to mid-1950s) mirrored that of jazz and swing in the United States, featuring large orchestras like those of Osvaldo Pugliese, Aníbal Troilo, Francisco Canaro, Julio de Caro and Juan d'Arienzo. After 1955, virtuoso Ástor Piazzolla popularized Nuevo tango, a subtler and more intellectual trend for the genre. Tango enjoys worldwide popularity nowadays with groups like Gotan Project, Bajofondo and Tanghetto.
Argentina developed strong classical music and dance scenes that gave rise to renowned artists such as Alberto Ginastera, composer; Alberto Lysy, violinist; Martha Argerich and Eduardo Delgado, pianists; Daniel Barenboim, pianist and symphonic orchestra director; and to ballet dancers Jorge Donn, José Neglia, Norma Fontenla, Maximiliano Guerra, Paloma Herrera, Marianela Núñez, Iñaki Urlezaga and Julio Bocca.
A national Argentine folk style emerged in the 1930s from dozens of regional musical genres and went to influence the entirety of Latin American music. Some of its interpreters, like Atahualpa Yupanqui and Mercedes Sosa, achieved worldwide acclaim.
Argentine rock developed as a distinct musical style in the mid-1960s, when Buenos Aires and Rosario became cradles of aspiring musicians. Founding bands like Los Gatos, Almendra and Manal were followed by Seru Giran, Los Abuelos de la Nada, Soda Stereo and Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, with prominent artists including Litto Nebbia, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Charly García, Fito Paez and León Gieco.
Buenos Aires is one of the great theater capitals of the world, with a scene of international caliber centered around Corrientes Avenue, "the street that never sleeps", sometimes referred to as an intellectual Broadway in Buenos Aires. Teatro Colón is a global landmark for opera and classical performances; its acoustics are considered among the world's top five.[S] Other important theatrical venues include Teatro General San Martín, Cervantes, both in Buenos Aires City; Argentino in La Plata, El Círculo in Rosario, Independencia in Mendoza, and Libertador in Córdoba. Griselda Gambaro, Copi, Roberto Cossa, Marco Denevi, Carlos Gorostiza, and Alberto Vaccarezza are a few of the most prominent Argentine playwrights.
Development of Argentine cinema started in 1896; by the early 1930s it had already become Latin America's leading film producer, a place it kept until the early 1950s. The world's first animated feature films were made and released in Argentina, by cartoonist Quirino Cristiani, in 1917 and 1918.
Argentine films have achieved worldwide recognition: the country has won fourteen Goya Awards for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film—being by far the most awarded—and is also the only Latin American country that has won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, with The Official Story (1985) and The Secret in Their Eyes (2009). In addition, Argentine composers Luis Enrique Bacalov and Gustavo Santaolalla have been honored with Academy Award for Best Original Score nods. Many other Argentine films have been acclaimed by the international critique: Camila (1984), Man Facing Southeast (1986), A Place in the World (1992), Pizza, Beer, and Cigarettes (1997), Nine Queens (2000), A Red Bear (2002), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) and The Aura (2005) being some of them.
Some of the best-known Argentine painters are Cándido López and Florencio Molina Campos (Naïve style); Ernesto de la Cárcova and Eduardo Sívori (Realism); Fernando Fader (Impressionism); Pío Collivadino, Atilio Malinverno and Cesáreo Bernaldo de Quirós (Postimpressionism); Emilio Pettoruti (Cubism); Julio Barragán (Concretism and Cubism) Antonio Berni (Neofigurativism); Roberto Aizenberg and Xul Solar (Surrealism); Gyula Košice (Constructivism); Eduardo Mac Entyre (Generative art); Juan Del Prete (Futucubism); Luis Seoane, Carlos Torrallardona, Luis Aquino, and Alfredo Gramajo Gutiérrez (Modernism); Lucio Fontana (Spatialism); Tomás Maldonado and Guillermo Kuitca (Abstract art); León Ferrari and Marta Minujín (Conceptual art); and Ciruelo (Fantasy art).
In 1946 Gyula Košice and others created The Madí Movement in Argentina, which then spread to Europe and United States, where it had a significant impact. Tomás Maldonado was one of the main theorists of the Ulm Model of design education, still highly influential globally.
Other Argentine artists of worldwide fame include Adolfo Bellocq, whose lithographs have been influential since the 1920s, and Benito Quinquela Martín, the quintessential port painter, inspired by the immigrant-bound La Boca neighborhood.
The colonization brought the Spanish Baroque architecture, which can still be appreciated in its simpler Rioplatense style in the reduction of San Ignacio Miní, the Cathedral of Córdoba, and the Cabildo of Luján. Italian and French influences increased at the beginning of the 19th century with strong eclectic overtones that gave the local architecture an unique feeling.
Numerous Argentine architects have enriched their own country's cityscape and those around the world: Juan Antonio Buschiazzo helped popularize Beaux-Arts architecture and Francisco Gianotti combined Art Nouveau with Italianate styles, each adding flair to Argentine cities during the early 20th century. Francisco Salamone and Viktor Sulčič left an Art Deco legacy, and Alejandro Bustillo created a prolific body of Neoclassical and Rationalist architecture. Alberto Prebisch and Amancio Williams were highly influenced by Le Corbusier, while Clorindo Testa introduced Brutalist architecture locally. César Pelli's and Patricio Pouchulu's Futurist creations have graced cities worldwide: Pelli's 1980s throwbacks to the Art Deco glory of the 1920s made him one of the world's most prestigious architects, with the Norwest Center and the Petronas Towers among his most celebrated creations.
Besides many of the pasta, sausage and dessert dishes common to continental Europe, Argentines enjoy a wide variety of Indigenous and Criollo creations, including empanadas (a small stuffed pastry), locro (a mixture of corn, beans, meat, bacon, onion, and gourd), humita and mate.
The country has the highest consumption of red meat in the world, traditionally prepared as asado, the Argentine barbecue. It is made with various types of meats, often including chorizo, sweetbread, chitterlings, and blood sausage.
Common desserts include facturas (Viennese-style pastry) and dulce de leche (a sort of milk caramel jam used to fill cakes and pancakes), alfajores (shortbread cookies sandwiched together with chocolate, dulce de leche or a fruit paste).
The official national sport of Argentina is pato, played with a six-handle ball on horseback, but the most popular sport is association football. The national football team has won 25 major international titles including two FIFA World Cups, two Olympic gold medals and fourteen Copa Américas. Over one thousand Argentine players play abroad, the majority of them in European football leagues. There are 331,811 registered football players, and Argentina has produced some of the greatest players in the world, including joint FIFA Player of the Century Diego Maradona, four time FIFA Ballon d'Or recipient Lionel Messi, Argentina and Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano, 1978 World Cup winning captain Daniel Passarella and Golden Boot winner Mario Kempes, and the all-time leading goalscorer for the national team Gabriel Batistuta.
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) was formed in 1893 and is the eighth oldest national football association in the world. The AFA today counts 3,377 football clubs, including 20 in the Premier Division. Since the AFA went professional in 1931, fifteen teams have won national tournament titles, including River Plate with 33 and Boca Juniors with 24. Over the last twenty years, futsal and beach soccer have become increasingly popular. The Argentine beach football team was one of four competitors in the first international championship for the sport in 1993. An increasing number of girls and women play the sport, who have organized their own national championships since 1991 and were South American champions in 2006.
Basketball is the second most popular sport; a number of basketball players play in the U.S. National Basketball Association and European leagues including Manu Ginóbili, Andrés Nocioni, Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola and Fabricio Oberto. The men's national basketball team won Olympic gold in the 2004 Olympics and the bronze medal in 2008. Argentina has been ranked number one in the FIBA World Rankings between 2007 and 2010.
Argentina has an important rugby union football team, "Los Pumas", with many of its players playing in Europe. Argentina beat host nation France twice in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, placing them third in the competition. The Pumas are currently (as per October, 2013) tenth in the official world rankings.
Some of Argentina national symbols are defined by law, while others are traditions lacking formal designation. The Flag of Argentina consists of three horizontal stripes equal in width and colored light blue, white and light blue, with the Sun of May in the center of the middle white stripe. The flag was designed by Manuel Belgrano in 1812; it was adopted as a national symbol on 20 July 1816. The Coat of Arms, which represents the union of the provinces, came into use in 1813 as the seal for official documents. The Argentine National Anthem was written by Vicente López y Planes with music by Blas Parera, and was adopted in 1813. The National Cockade was first used during the May Revolution of 1810 and was made official two years later. The Virgin of Lujan is Argentina's patron saint.
The hornero, living across most of the national territory, was chosen as the national bird in 1928 after a lower school survey. The ceibo is the national floral emblem and national tree, while the quebracho colorado is the national forest tree. Rhodochrosite is known as the national gemstone.
Argentina built a national public education system in comparison to other nations, placing the country high in the global rankings of literacy. Today Argentina has a literacy rate of 97.4%, and 16.2% over age 15 have completed secondary school studies or higher. School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 17. The Argentine school system consists of an elementary or lower school level lasting six or seven years, and a secondary or high school level lasting between five to six years, depending on the jurisdiction.
There are forty-seven national public universities across the country, as well as forty-six private ones. The universities of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, La Plata, Rosario, and the National Technological University are among the most important. Public universities faced cutbacks in spending during the 1980s and 1990s, which led to a decline in overall quality.
Four out of five Argentine adults have completed grade school, over a third have completed their secondary education and one in nine Argentine adults have college degrees. Likewise, Argentina has the highest rate of university students in Latin America: official sources recently reported roughly 1,500,000 college students within the Argentine University System.
Health care is provided through a combination of employer and labor union-sponsored plans (Obras Sociales), government insurance plans, public hospitals and clinics and through private health insurance plans. Health care cooperatives number over 300 (of which 200 are related to labor unions) and provide health care for half the population; the national INSSJP (popularly known as PAMI) covers nearly all of the five million senior citizens.
There are more than 153,000 hospital beds, 121,000 physicians and 37,000 dentists (ratios comparable to developed nations). The relatively high access to medical care has historically resulted in mortality patterns and trends similar to developed nations': from 1953 to 2005, deaths from cardiovascular disease increased from 20% to 23% of the total, those from tumors from 14% to 20%, respiratory problems from 7% to 14%, digestive maladies (non-infectious) from 7% to 11%, strokes a steady 7%, injuries, 6%, and infectious diseases, 4%. Causes related to senility led to many of the rest. Infant deaths have fallen from 19% of all deaths in 1953 to 3% in 2005.
The availability of health care has also reduced infant mortality from 70 per 1000 live births in 1948 to 12.1 in 2009 and raised life expectancy at birth from 60 years to 76. Though these figures compare favorably with global averages, they fall short of levels in developed nations and in 2006, Argentina ranked fourth in Latin America.
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