Argentina Population, Politics and Economy
Population in Argentina
Of the country’s 40.8 million residents, 13.2 million (agglomeration) live in Buenos Aires, the country’s capital. Almost a third of all Argentines therefore live in the capital and its immediate vicinity. In the rest of the country, too, the majority of the population lives in the big cities (Córdoba, Rosario, Morón, etc.). With around 15 residents per km², Argentina is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. According to directoryaah, the population is made up of around 95% whites as well as mestizos, Indians and people of other origins. More than 75% of Argentines are Roman Catholics, 8% are Pentecostal churches, and there are minorities of Protestants, Jews and Muslims.
Europeans immigrated to the country in large numbers since around 1850 (especially Italians and Spaniards), and today Argentina has the largest number of European descendants compared to other South American countries. The native Indian population was displaced by the immigrant Europeans and today numbers around 30,000 people, most of whom live in the Chaco and Patagonia. Argentina has the lowest illiteracy rate (just under 3%) in South America, but it is regionally significantly higher in rural areas. Attending school from 6 to 14 years of age is compulsory. The oldest university in the country was founded in 1613 in Córdoba in the interior of the country. The population growth is only 1%; life expectancy averages 76 years.
Politics and economics in Argentina
The Argentine Republic is a presidential federal republic. The president, who is elected for four years, is simultaneously head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces (President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, since December 2007); a one-time direct re-election is possible. The National Congress consists of a Chamber of Senators (Senado) with 72 senators (indirectly elected for six years; partial election every two years) and a Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) with 257 members (directly elected for four years; partial election every two years). The most important parties in the country are the Partido Justicialista-Frente para la Victoria (PJ-FPV) and the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR). An independent judiciary and legal body proposes the appointment of judges to the government and can initiate proceedings for improper judicial conduct. Each of the 22 provinces, the Tierra del Fuego National Territory and the autonomous federal district of Buenos Aires have their own constitution and elect governors, members of parliament and judges without intervention by the federal government.
According to ebizdir, Argentina continues to be the largest economy in Spanish-speaking South America. The country builds its economic development on several sectors: On the one hand, the country with its fertile plains has excellent foundations for productive agriculture. On the other hand, the industrial sector is very important, the automotive industry plays a major role. The country’s most important export goods are still agricultural products (soybean oil, corn, wheat, dairy and fishery products, fruit, beef, poultry and wine), as well as motor vehicles, raw materials, fuels and chemical products. Chemical products as well as motor vehicles and machines are imported. The largest industrial companies can be found in the greater Buenos Aires area and belong to the consumer goods industry. Products made from meat, grain, sugar and oil are produced and processed here primarily for the domestic market. A strong energy resource base (natural gas, oil, hydropower, nuclear power) makes the country almost self-sufficient. The great potential of previously untapped mineral resources continues to have a positive effect on the country’s future prospects. The raw materials already mined and produced include asbestos, lead, copper, tungsten, zinc, tin, gold and silver, manganese, uranium, crude oil and natural gas. The currency is the Argentine Peso (= 100 Centavos).
Transport network in Argentina
The role of the railroad in passenger transport was largely taken over by modern, air-conditioned coaches. Practically every point in the country can be reached by coach, and so the bus stations are now the most popular infrastructure facilities alongside the airports. The most important bus station in Argentina is Retiro in Buenos Aires. From there there are bus connections all over the country. Other busy bus stations and hubs can be found in Cordoba (about 10 hours travel time from Buenos Aires) and Mendoza (about 14-15 hours travel time from Buenos Aires). The longest direct connection is between San Salvador de Jujuy and Rio Gallegos (3430 km, scheduled 55 hours travel time), from where you can continue to Ushuaia.
Cities and regions in Argentina
Buenos Aires: Buenos Aires is the large, cosmopolitan capital of Argentina. Its center is the Plaza de Mayo with stately buildings from the 19th century, such as the famous Casa Rosada presidential palace. Other major attractions include the Teatro Colón, a magnificent opera house with almost 2,500 seats from 1908, and the modern MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) for Latin American art.
Mendoza: Mendoza is a city in the Cuyo region of Argentina. It is located in the center of the wine-growing region of Argentina, which is known for the Malbec and other red wine varieties. Many bodegas (wineries) offer tastings and guided tours. The city has wide, shady avenues lined with modern and Art Deco buildings, as well as smaller squares around Plaza Independencia. This is also where the underground Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno is located, where modern and contemporary art is exhibited.
Santa Fe: Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz is a city in northeast Argentina. It is the capital of the rich, agricultural and industrial province of Santa Fe and one of the largest cities in the country with around 390,000 residents.