map (opens in new window)


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 has persisted despite numerous challenges, the most formidable of which was a severe economic crisis in 2001-02 that led to violent public protests and the resignation of several interim presidents.


Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay

Geographic coordinates:

34 00 S, 64 00 W


total: 2,766,890 sq km
land: 2,736,690 sq km
water: 30,200 sq km

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:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 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: Laguna del Carbon -105 m (located between Puerto San Julian and Comandante Luis Piedra Buena in the province of Santa Cruz)
highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,960 m (located in the northwestern corner of the province of Mendoza)

Natural resources:

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

Land use:

arable land: 10.03%
permanent crops: 0.36%
other: 89.61% (2005)

Irrigated land:

15,500 sq km (2003)

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

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 Laguna del Carbon is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere


39,921,833 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 25.2% (male 5,153,164/female 4,921,625)
15-64 years: 64.1% (male 12,804,376/female 12,798,731)
65 years and over: 10.6% (male 1,740,118/female 2,503,819) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 29.7 years
male: 28.8 years
female: 30.7 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.96% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

16.73 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

7.55 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.97 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 14.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 16.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.12 years
male: 72.38 years
female: 80.05 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.16 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.7% (2001 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

130,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

1,500 (2003 est.)


noun: Argentine(s)
adjective: Argentine

Ethnic groups:

white (mostly Spanish and Italian) 97%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry), Amerindian, or other non-white 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: 97.1%
male: 97.1%
female: 97.1% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Argentine Republic
conventional short form: Argentina
local long form: Republica Argentina
local short form: 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 compulsory

Legislative branch:

bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate (72 seats; members are elected by direct vote; presently one-third of the members elected every two years to a six-year term) and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats; members are elected by direct vote; one-half of the members elected every two years to a four-year term)
elections: Senate - last held 23 October 2005 (next to be held in 2007); Chamber of Deputies - last held last held 23 October 2005 (next to be held in 2007)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by bloc or party - FV 45.1%, FJ 17.2%, UCR 7.5%, other 30.2%; seats by bloc or party - FV 14, FJ 3, UCR 2, other 5; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by bloc or party - FV 29.9%, UCR 8.9%, ARI 7.2%, PJ 6.7%, PRO 6.2%, FJ 3.9%, other 37.2%; seats by bloc or party - FV 50, UCR 10, ARI 8, PJ 9, PRO 9, FJ 7, other 34

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (the nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval by the Senate)

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 problems of inflation, external debt, capital flight, and budget deficits. Growth in 2000 was a negative 0.8%, 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 real GDP fell by 10.9% in 2002, but by mid-year the economy had stabilized, albeit at a lower level. GDP expanded by about 9% per year from 2003 to 2005. Growth is being led by a revival in domestic demand, solid exports, and favorable external conditions. The government boosted spending ahead of the October 2005 midterm congressional elections, but strong revenue performance allowed Argentina to maintain a budget surplus. Inflation has been rising steadily and reached 12.3 percent in 2005.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$542.8 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$182 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

8.7% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$13,700 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 10.5%
industry: 35.8%
services: 53.7% (2004 est.)

Labor force:

15.34 million (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:

11.1% (September 2005)

Population below poverty line:

38.5% (June 2005)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

52.2 (2001)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

12.3% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

19.4% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $42.63 billion
expenditures: $39.98 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

69% of GDP (June 2005)

Agriculture - products:

sunflower seeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, wheat; livestock


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

Industrial production growth rate:

7.7% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

87.16 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity - consumption:

82.97 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity - exports:

2.07 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity - imports:

1.561 billion kWh (2004)

Oil - production:

745,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

450,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

2.95 billion bbl (2005 est.)

Natural gas - production:

41.04 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

34.58 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

6.05 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

663.5 billion cu m (2005)

Current account balance:

$3.9 billion (2005 est.)


$40 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

edible oils, fuels and energy, cereals, feed, motor vehicles

Exports - partners:

Brazil 15.4%, Chile 10.4%, US 10.2%, China 8.7%, Spain 4.4% (2004)


$28.8 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal manufactures, plastics

Imports - partners:

Brazil 36.1%, US 16.6%, Germany 5.7%, China 4.3% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$28.07 billion (December 2005)

Debt - external:

$119 billion (June 2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$10 billion (2001 est.)

Currency (code):

Argentine peso (ARS)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

8.7 million (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

13,512,400 (2004)

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 telecommunications 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 improving; however, telephone density is presently minimal, and making telephone service universally available will take 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: country code - 54; satellite earth stations - 112; Atlantis II and Unisur submarine cables; two international gateways near Buenos Aires (2005)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 260 (including 10 inactive stations), FM NA (probably more than 1,000, mostly unlicensed), shortwave 6 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

42 (plus 444 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

1,233,175 (2005)

Internet users:

10 million (2005)


1,333 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 144
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: 8 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 1,189
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 50
914 to 1,523 m: 569
under 914 m: 566 (2005)


gas 27,166 km; liquid petroleum gas 41 km; oil 3,668 km; refined products 2,945 km; unknown (oil/water) 13 km (2004)


total: 34,091 km (167 km electrified)
broad gauge: 20,594 km 1.676-m gauge (141 km electrified)
standard gauge: 2,885 km 1.435-m gauge (26 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 10,375 km 1.000-m gauge; 237 km 0.750-m gauge (2004)


total: 229,144 km
paved: 68,809 km (including 734 km of expressways)
unpaved: 160,335 km (2004)


11,000 km (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 37 ships (1000 GRT or over) 379,788 GRT/609,005 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 10, chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 9 (Chile 4, UK 4, Uruguay 1)
registered in other countries: 23 (Bolivia 1, Liberia 8, Panama 9, Paraguay 2, Uruguay 3) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Concepcion del Uruguay, La Plata, Punta Colorada, Rosario, San Lorenzo-San Martin, San Nicolas

Military branches:

Argentine Army, Navy of the Argentine Republic (includes Naval Aviation and Naval Infantry), Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Argentina, FAA) (2005)

Military - note:

the Argentine military is a well-organized force constrained by the country's prolonged economic hardship; the country has recently experienced a strong recovery, and the military is now implementing "Plan 2000," aimed at making the ground forces lighter and more responsive (2005)

Disputes - international:

Argentina continues to assert its claims to the UK-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in its constitution, forcibly occupying the Falklands in 1982, but in 1995 agreed no longer to seek settlement by force; territorial claim in Antarctica partially overlaps UK and Chilean claims (see Antarctic disputes); unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations; uncontested dispute between Brazil and Uruguay over Braziliera Island in the Quarai/Cuareim River leaves the tripoint with Argentina in question; action by the joint boundary commission, established by Chile and Argentina in 2001, for mapping and demarcating the disputed boundary in the Andean Southern Ice Field (Campo de Hielo Sur) remains pending

Illicit drugs:

used as a transshipment country for cocaine headed for Europe; some money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border Area; domestic consumption of drugs in urban centers is increasing