Map of Argentina Argentina
Argentina Flag

U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Argentina, September 1997
Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.

Official Name: The Argentine Republic


Area: 2.8 million sq. km (1.1 million sq. mi.); about the size of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River; second largest country in South America.
Cities: Capital--Buenos Aires (city: 3 million; metropolitan area: 12 million).
Other major cities: Cordoba (1.2 million); Rosario (950,000); Mar del Plata (900,000); Mendoza (400,000)
Terrain: Andes mountains and foothills in west. Aconcagua, (7,021 m; 23,034 ft) is highest peak in the Western Hemisphere; remainder of country is lowland; central region characterized by vast grassy plains (pampas).
Climate: Varied: predominantly temperate with extremes ranging from subtropical in the north to arid/subantarctic in far south.


Nationality: Noun and adjective--Argentine(s).
Population (mid-1995): 34.6 million.
Annual population growth rate: 1.3%.
Ethnic groups: European 97% , mostly of Spanish and Italian descent.
Religions: Roman Catholic 92% , Protestant 2% , Jewish 2% , other 4%.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--7; Adult literacy--96.2%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--23.6/1000. Life expectancy of newborns: 72.3 years.
Work Force: Industry and commerce--36% , agriculture--19% , transport and communications--6%.


Type: Republic.
Independence: July 9, 1816.
Constitution: 1853, revised 1994.
Branches: Executive--president, vice president, cabinet.
Legislative--bicameral congress (72-member Senate, 257-member Chamber of Deputies). Judicial--Supreme Court, federal and provincial trial courts.
Administrative subdivisions: 23 provinces and one federal capital district.
Political Parties: Justicialist, Radical Civic Union, FREPASO, numerous smaller national and provincial parties.
Suffrage: universal adult.

ECONOMY (1997 projections)

GDP: $292 billion.
Annual real growth rate: 5% .
Per capital GDP: $8,500.
Natural resources: Fertile plains (pampas). Minerals: lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron, manganese, oil, uranium.
Agriculture (7% of GDP, about 60% of exports by value) Products--grains, oilseeds and by-products, livestock products. Industry (26% of GDP), Types--food processing, oil refining, machinery and equipment, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals.
Trade: Exports--$24.5 billion: grains, meats, oilseeds, manufactured products; Major markets--Brazil 25% ; U.S. 11% ; EU 25% .Imports--$25.5 billion: machinery, vehicles and transport products, chemicals. Major suppliers--U.S. 23% , Brazil 20% , EU 28% .


The United States and Argentina currently enjoy a close bilateral relationship, although this has not always been the case. The efforts of the Menem Administration to open Argentina's economy and realign its foreign policy have contributed to the improvement in these relations, and the interests and policies of the two countries coincide on many issues. Argentina and the United States often vote together in the United Nations and other multilateral fora. Argentina has participated in many multilateral force deployments mandated by the United Nations Security Council, including recent missions to Haiti and the former Yugoslavia. Reflecting the growing partnership that marks ties between the two countries, on December 5, 1996, President Clinton and Argentine President Menem announced the establishment of a special consultative process to address important issues in the bilateral relationship.


For more information, visit the State Department's home page.

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South America October 1997

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Today on the South America Trip




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