Argentina   tune intune in
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Transnational Issues
[Country map of Argentina] Falkland Islands Uruguay Chile Paraguay Brazil Bolivia  

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Location: 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

Coastline: 4,989 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: mostly temperate; arid in southeast; subantarctic in southwest

Terrain: 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
highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,962 m

Natural resources: fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium

Land use:
arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 52%
forests and woodland: 19%
other: 19% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 17,000 sq km (1993 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: erosion results from inadequate flood controls and improper land use practices; irrigated soil degradation; desertification; air pollution in Buenos Aires and other major cities; water pollution in urban areas; rivers becoming polluted due to increased pesticide and fertilizer use

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation

Geography—note: second-largest country in South America (after Brazil); strategic location relative to sea lanes between South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage)


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Population: 36,265,463 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 27% (male 5,078,061; female 4,888,883)
15-64 years: 62% (male 11,299,155; female 11,315,522)
65 years and over: 11% (male 1,526,682; female 2,157,160) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.3% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 19.96 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 7.67 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 19.03 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.54 years
male: 70.9 years
female: 78.34 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.68 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Argentine(s)
adjective: Argentine

Ethnic groups: white 85%, mestizo, Amerindian, or other nonwhite groups 15%

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 90% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 6%

Languages: 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.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Argentine Republic
conventional short form: Argentina
local long form: Republica Argentina
local short form: Argentina

Data code: AR

Government type: republic

National capital: Buenos Aires

Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (provincias, singular—provincia), and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Buenos Aires; Catamarca; Chaco; Chubut; Cordoba; Corrientes; Distrito Federal*; 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

Independence: 9 July 1816 (from Spain)

National holiday: Revolution Day, 25 May (1810)

Constitution: 1 May 1853; revised August 1994

Legal system: mixture of US and West European legal systems; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Carlos Saul MENEM (since 8 July 1989); Vice President Carlos RUCKAUF (since 8 July 1995); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Carlos Saul MENEM (since 8 July 1989); Vice President Carlos RUCKAUF (since 8 July 1995); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 14 May 1995 (next to be held 1999)
election results: Carlos Saul MENEM reelected president; percent of vote—NA

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 three years to a nine-year term) and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats; one-half of the members elected every two years to four-year terms)
elections: Senate—last held NA May 1995 (next to be held NA 1998); Chamber of Deputies—last held 26 October 1997 (next to be held NA 1999)
election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PJ 39, UCR 1, others 32; Chamber of Deputies—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PJ 119, UCR 69, Frepaso 36, other 33

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), the nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval of the Senate

Political parties and leaders: Justicialist Party or PJ [Carlos Saul MENEM] (Peronist umbrella political organization); Radical Civic Union or UCR [Fernando DE LA RUA]; Union of the Democratic Center or UCD (conservative party); Dignity and Independence Political Party or MODIN (right-wing party); Front for a Country in Solidarity or Frepaso (a four party coalition) [leader Carlos ALVAREZ]; Action for the Republic [Domingo CAVALLO]; New Leadership [Gustavo BELIZ]; several provincial parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: Peronist-dominated labor movement; General Confederation of Labor or CGT (Peronist-leaning umbrella labor organization); Argentine Industrial Union (manufacturers' association); Argentine Rural Society (large landowners' association); Argentine Association of Pharmaceutical Labs (CILFA); business organizations; students; the Roman Catholic Church; the Armed Forces

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), Australia Group, BCIE, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G- 6, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MINUGUA, MINURSO, MIPONUH, MTCR, NSG (observer), OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNPREDEP, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Diego Ramiro GUELAR
chancery: 1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6400 through 6403
FAX: [1] (202) 332-3171
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James R. CHEEK has retired; replacement to be appointed in 1998
embassy: 4300 Colombia, 1425 Buenos Aires
mailing address: International mail: use street address; APO address: Unit 4334, APO AA 34034
telephone: [54] (1) 777-4533, 4534
FAX: [54] (1) 777-0197

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


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Economy—overview: Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Nevertheless, following decades of mismanagement and statist policies, the economy in the late 1980s was plagued with huge external debts and recurring bouts of hyperinflation. Elected in 1989, in the depths of recession, President MENEM has implemented a comprehensive economic restructuring program that has put Argentina on a path of stable, sustainable growth. Argentina's currency has traded at par with the US dollar since April 1991, and inflation has fallen to its lowest level in 50 years. Argentines have responded to price stability by repatriating capital and investing in domestic industry. Growth averaged more than 8% between 1991 and 1994, then fell 4.6% in 1995, largely in reaction to the Mexican peso crisis. The economy has since recovered strongly. However, unemployment remains nearly 14%, and Buenos Aires still depends on foreign capital to meet the bulk of its financing needs. The IMF has urged additional economic reforms to ensure equitable long-term growth.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$348.2 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 8.4% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$9,700 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 7%
industry: 36%
services: 57% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 0.3% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 14.5 million (1995 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 12%, industry 31%, services 57% (1985 est.)

Unemployment rate: 13.7% (October 1997)

revenues: $55 billion
expenditures: $59 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Industries: food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel

Industrial production growth rate: 8.7% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 19.61 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 65.72 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,960 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: wheat, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets; livestock

total value: $25.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: meat, wheat, corn, oilseed, manufactures, fuels
partners: Brazil 26.1%, US 8.5%, Chile 7.0%, Netherlands 5.7%, Italy 3.5% (1995)

total value: $30.3 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, transport equipment, agricultural products
partners: Brazil 20.8%, US 20.7%, Italy 6.3%, Germany 6.2%, France 5.2% (1995)

Debt—external: $115 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 nuevo peso argentino = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: pesos per US$1—0.99950 (January 1998), 0.99950 (1997), 0.99966 (1996), 0.99975 (1995), 0.99901 (1994), 0.99895 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 4.6 million (1990)

Telephone system: 12,000 public telephones; extensive modern system but many families do not have telephones; despite extensive use of microwave radio relay, the telephone system frequently grounds out during rainstorms, even in Buenos Aires
domestic: microwave radio relay and a domestic satellite system with 40 earth stations serve the trunk network
international: satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 260, FM 100, shortwave 6

Radios: 22.3 million (1991 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 231

Televisions: 7.165 million (1991 est.)


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total: 37,910 km
broad gauge: 24,124 km 1.676-m gauge (142 km electrified)
standard gauge: 2,765 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 11,021 km 1.000-m gauge (26 km electrified)

total: 218,276 km
paved: 63,518 km (including 567 km of expressways)
unpaved: 154,758 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 11,000 km navigable

Pipelines: 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: 34 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 268,492 GRT/388,524 DWT
ships by type: cargo 11, container 2, oil tanker 13, railcar carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 6, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 1,411 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 137
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 55
914 to 1,523 m: 44
under 914 m: 8 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 1,274
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 65
914 to 1,523 m: 635
under 914 m: 570 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Argentine Army, Navy of the Argentine Republic (includes Naval Aviation, Marines, and Coast Guard), Argentine Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Aeronautical Police Force

Military manpower—military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 9,056,532 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 7,344,910 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 332,008 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $4.6 billion (1997)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 1.5% (1997)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: short section of the southwestern boundary with Chile is indefinite; claims UK-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); claims UK-administered South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica

Illicit drugs: increasing use as a transshipment country for cocaine headed for Europe and the US