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Map of Argentina
Introduction Argentina
Following independence from Spain in 1816, Argentina experienced periods of internal political conflict between conservatives and liberals and between civilian and military factions. After World War II, a long period of Peronist authoritarian rule and interference in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983, and numerous elections since then have underscored Argentina's progress in democratic consolidation.
Geography Argentina
Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay
Geographic coordinates:
34 00 S, 64 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 2,766,890 sq km
land: 2,736,690 sq km
water: 30,200 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than three-tenths the size of the US
Land boundaries:
total: 9,665 km
border countries: Bolivia 832 km, Brazil 1,224 km, Chile 5,150 km, Paraguay 1,880 km, Uruguay 579 km
4,989 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
mostly temperate; arid in southeast; subantarctic in southwest
rich plains of the Pampas in northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in south, rugged Andes along western border
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Salinas Chicas -40 m (located on Peninsula Valdes)
highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,960 m
Natural resources:
fertile plains of the Pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium
Land use:
arable land: 9.14%
permanent crops: 0.8%
other: 90.06% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
15,610 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
San Miguel de Tucuman and Mendoza areas in the Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike the Pampas and northeast; heavy flooding
Environment - current issues:
environmental problems (urban and rural) typical of an industrializing economy such as deforestation, soil degradation, desertification, air pollution, and water pollution
note: Argentina is a world leader in setting voluntary greenhouse gas targets
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
second-largest country in South America (after Brazil); strategic location relative to sea lanes between the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Cerro Aconcagua is South America's tallest mountain, while the Valdes Peninsula is the lowest point on the continent
People Argentina
37,812,817 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.3% (male 5,090,046; female 4,854,761)
15-64 years: 63.2% (male 11,968,135; female 11,937,709)
65 years and over: 10.5% (male 1,636,332; female 2,325,834) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.13% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
18.23 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
7.57 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
17.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.48 years
female: 79.03 years (2002 est.)
male: 72.1 years
Total fertility rate:
2.41 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.69% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
130,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,800 (1999 est.)
noun: Argentine(s)
adjective: Argentine
Ethnic groups:
white (mostly Spanish and Italian) 97%, mestizo, Amerindian, or other nonwhite groups 3%
nominally Roman Catholic 92% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%
Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.2%
male: 96.2%
female: 96.2% (1995 est.)
Government Argentina
Country name:
conventional long form: Argentine Republic
conventional short form: Argentina
local short form: Argentina
local long form: Republica Argentina
Government type:
Buenos Aires
Administrative divisions:
23 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia), and 1 autonomous city* (distrito federal); Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Capital Federal*, Catamarca, Chaco, Chubut, Cordoba, Corrientes, Entre Rios, Formosa, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Misiones, Neuquen, Rio Negro, Salta, San Juan, San Luis, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Tierra del Fuego - Antartida e Islas del Atlantico Sur, Tucuman
note: the US does not recognize any claims to Antarctica
9 July 1816 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Revolution Day, 25 May (1810)
1 May 1853; revised August 1994
Legal system:
mixture of US and West European legal systems; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal and mandatory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Eduardo Alberto DUHALDE (since 2 January 2002); note - selected by National Congress in aftermath of resignation of former President DE LA RUA on 20 December 2001 and resignations of others who briefly held the office following DE LA RUA's departure; Vice President Carlos "Chacho" ALVAREZ resigned 6 October 2000 and the post remains vacant; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Eduardo Alberto DUHALDE (since 2 January 2002); note - selected by National Congress in aftermath of resignation of former President DE LA RUA on 20 December 2001 and resignations of others who briefly held the office following DE LA RUA's departure; Vice President Carlos "Chacho" ALVAREZ resigned 6 October 2000 and the post remains vacant; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
election results: Fernando DE LA RUA elected president; percent of vote - 48.5% ; Vice President Carlos "Chacho" ALVAREZ resigned 6 October 2000 and a replacement was not named; DE LA RUA resigned 20 December 2001; following a series of interim presidents, Eduardo Alberto DUHALDE was selected president by the National Congress on 1 January 2002
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 24 October 1999 (next to be held NA October 2003)
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate (72 seats; formerly, three members appointed by each of the provincial legislatures; presently transitioning to one-third of the members being elected every two years to six-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats; one-half of the members elected every two years to four-year terms)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by bloc or party - NA%; seats by bloc or party - Justicialist (Peronist) 40, UCR 24, provincial parties 6, Frepaso 1, ARI 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by bloc or party - NA%; seats by bloc or party - Justicialist (Peronist) 113, UCR 74, provincial parties 27, Frepaso 17, ARI 17, AR 9
elections: Senate - last held 14 October 2001 (next to be held NA October 2003); Chamber of Deputies - last held 14 October 2001 (next to be held NA October 2003)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (the nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval by the Senate)
Political parties and leaders:
Action for the Republic or AR [Domingo CAVALLO]; Alternative for a Republic of Equals or ARI [Elisa CARRIO]; Front for a Country in Solidarity or Frepaso (a four-party coalition) [Dario Pedro ALESSANDRO]; Justicialist Party or PJ [Carlos Saul MENEM] (Peronist umbrella political organization); Radical Civic Union or UCR [Angel ROZAS]; several provincial parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Argentine Association of Pharmaceutical Labs (CILFA); Argentine Industrial Union (manufacturers' association); Argentine Rural Society (large landowners' association); business organizations; General Confederation of Labor or CGT (Peronist-leaning umbrella labor organization); Peronist-dominated labor movement; Roman Catholic Church; students
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Eduardo AMADEO
chancery: 1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
FAX: [1] (202) 332-3171
telephone: [1] (202) 238-6400
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James D. WALSH
embassy: Avenida Colombia 4300, C1425GMN Buenos Aires
mailing address: international mail: use street address; APO address: Unit 4334, APO AA 34034
telephone: [54] (11) 5777-4533
FAX: [54] (11) 5777-4240
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of light blue (top), white, and light blue; centered in the white band is a radiant yellow sun with a human face known as the Sun of May
Economy Argentina
Economy - overview:
Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Over the past decade, however, the country has suffered recurring economic problems of inflation, hugh external debt, capital flight, and budget deficits. Growth in 2000 was a negative 0.5%, as both domestic and foreign investors remained skeptical of the government's ability to pay debts and maintain the peso's fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. The economic situation worsened in 2001 with the widening of spreads on Argentine bonds, massive withdrawals from the banks, and a further decline in consumer and investor confidence. Government efforts to achieve a "zero deficit", to stabilize the banking system, and to restore economic growth proved inadequate in the face of the mounting economic problems. The peso's peg to the dollar was abandoned in January 2002, and the peso was floated in February; the exchange rate plunged and inflation picked up rapidly, but by mid-2002 the economy had stabilized, albeit at a lower level. Output was 14.7% below the previous year's figure, and unemployment remained high, at 21.5%. In order to reverse the crisis some economists recently have advocated that Argentina adopt the US dollar as the national currency, however, others argue tieing the economy closely to the dollar was precisely what led to Argentina's current problems.
purchasing power parity - $391 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-14.7% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $10,200 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 28%
services: 66% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
37% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
15 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
25% (yearend 2001)
revenues: $44 billion
expenditures: $48 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel
Industrial production growth rate:
1% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
82.802 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 52%
hydro: 41%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 7%
Electricity - consumption:
80.806 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
3.7 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
7.5 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
sunflower seeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, wheat; livestock
$26.7 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities:
edible oils, fuels and energy, cereals, feed, motor vehicles
Exports - partners:
Brazil 26.5%, US 11.8%, Chile 10.6%, Spain 3.5% (2000)
$20.3 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal manufactures, plastics
Imports - partners:
Brazil 25.1%, US 18.7%, Germany 5%, China 4.6% (2000)
Debt - external:
$155 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$10 billion (2001 est.)
Argentine peso (ARS)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Argentine pesos per US dollar - 1.33325 (January 2002), 1.000 (1997-2001); note - fixed rate pegged to the US dollar was abandoned in January 2002; peso now floats
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Argentina
Telephones - main lines in use:
7.5 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
3 million (December 1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: by opening the telecommunications market to competition and foreign investment with the "Telecommunications Liberalization Plan of 1998", Argentina encouraged the growth of modern telecommunication technology; fiber-optic cable trunk lines are being installed between all major cities; the major networks are entirely digital and the availability of telephone service is being improved; however, telephone density is presently minimal, and making telephone service universally available will take some time
domestic: microwave radio relay, fiber-optic cable, and a domestic satellite system with 40 earth stations serve the trunk network; more than 110,000 pay telephones are installed and mobile telephone use is rapidly expanding
international: satellite earth stations - 8 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); Atlantis II and Unisur submarine cables; two international gateways near Buenos Aires (1999)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 260 (including 10 inactive stations), FM NA (probably more than 1,000, mostly unlicensed), shortwave 6 (1998)
24.3 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
42 (plus 444 repeaters) (1997)
7.95 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
33 (2000)
Internet users:
3.88 million (2001)
Transportation Argentina
total: 33,744 km (167 km electrified)
broad gauge: 20,594 km 1.676-m gauge (141 km electrified)
standard gauge: 2,739 km 1.435-m gauge (26 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 10,154 km 1.000-m gauge; 257 km 0.750-m gauge (2000 est.)
total: 215,434 km
paved: 63,553 km (including 734 km of expressways)
unpaved: 151,881 km (1998 est.)
10,950 km
crude oil 4,090 km; petroleum products 2,900 km; natural gas 9,918 km
Ports and harbors:
Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Comodoro Rivadavia, Concepcion del Uruguay, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Necochea, Rio Gallegos, Rosario, Santa Fe, Ushuaia
Merchant marine:
total: 24 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 147,505 GRT/222,500 DWT
ships by type: cargo 9, petroleum tanker 10, railcar carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1, short-sea passenger 1, includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: United Arab Emirates 1, Uruguay 1 (2002 est.)
1,369 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 145
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 26
1,524 to 2,437 m: 62
914 to 1,523 m: 44
under 914 m: 9 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1,197 1,225
over 3,047 m: 2 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 50 53
914 to 1,523 m: 572 598
under 914 m: 571 570 (2002)
Military Argentina
Military branches:
Argentine Army, Navy of the Argentine Republic (includes naval aviation and Marines), Coast Guard, Argentine Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Aeronautical Police Force
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 9,521,633 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 7,721,219 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 335,085 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$4.3 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.3% (FY00)
Transnational Issues Argentina
Disputes - international:
claims UK-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); claims UK-administered South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica partially overlaps British and Chilean claims
Illicit drugs:
used as a transshipment country for cocaine headed for Europe and the US; some money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border Area; domestic consumption of drugs in urban centers is increasing

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003