Argentina at a Glance
Moving to ArgentinaiStockphoto
A move to Argentina beckons expats, due to the comparatively high quality of life.
European emigrants have been moving to Argentina ever since Spanish colonial rule in South America. As a typical “immigration nation”, the second largest Latin American country first attracted Spanish people and then Italian migrants in the 19th century. Nowadays, Argentines of Spanish or Italian descent make up the biggest groups among the populace.
In contrast to other American regions, such as the Inca Empire, Argentina’s Pampas and Patagonia were sparsely populated before the conquistadores came to Argentina. Today, only 3% of the population identify as Amerindians or mestizos (mixed-race). The indigenous people, mostly Mapuche and Guaraní, live in Argentina’s rural southwest and northeast, respectively.
Ethnicities and Languages
Most of the population has settled in Argentina’s cities. The majority of Argentines are urbanites of European stock. In the major cities, you will also find Japanese-Argentine communities, Chinese and Koreans immigrants, and a significant number of Middle-Eastern folks from Syria and Lebanon, who decided to move to Argentina.
It is not surprising that Argentina considers itself a cosmopolitan nation with all those different people moving to Argentina. While the official language is Spanish, about 40 languages are spoken in Argentina today. Indigenous inhabitants in the Andes speak Quechua, and the various immigrants brought their own languages with them.
Expats are more likely to move to an urban center, particularly the Buenos Aires metropolitan region, where nearly one third of the population lives. However, many are fascinated by the country’s amazing geography and biodiversity. As mentioned above, Argentina is the second largest state in Latin America, after Brazil, and the eighth largest country in the world.
If you plan to explore the country, you, too, will be astonished at its sheer size and variety. Stretching 3,900 km from north to south and 1,400 km from east to west, Argentina ranges from the subtropics to Antarctica, from the peaks of the Andes to the Atlantic coast.
Politics and Economy
Unfortunately, in recent decades, Argentina was not exactly famous for its natural beauty or economic wealth. The country’s political situation was rather plagued by internal unrest. In the late 1970s, this resulted in eight years of oppressive military rule. Thus fewer people contemplated moving to Argentina.
In 1983, democratic rule was finally reestablished. The Argentine government made a commendable effort at re-democratizing politics and society. However, much of the late 1990s was marked by economic problems, financial panic, declining real wages, and increasing poverty.
Fortunately, moving to Argentina is a more attractive option again. When the country celebrated the bicentennial of its independence in 2010, its economy was definitely on the rebound. This positive trend of increased trade and investment seems to have continued in 2011. Unfortunately, it was then followed by a very small margin of economic growth in 2012 (only 1.5% of the GDP). However, experts are cautiously optimistic for 2013.
All economic troubles notwithstanding, expatriates can look forward to a diverse and exciting country when moving to Argentina.