Buenos Aires at a Glance
Moving to Buenos Aires
When looking for somewhere to live, don’t restrict yourself to within the capital. Buenos Aires isn’t just the 48 neighborhoods within the city boarders.
Expats have come to Buenos Aires from all corners of the world, so it has a very diverse and modern population.
Research all the areas of Buenos Aires carefully before choosing which one to find accommodation in. Each area offers a different side of Argentinian life.
Located near the Río de la Plata, where the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers meet, and surrounded by fertile plains, Buenos Aires was founded in the early 16th century. The city was under Spanish rule until 1816, when Argentina was declared independent without once more falling into royalist hands.
Thousands of people started moving to Buenos Aires when the city, as the center of the young Argentine nation, opened up to large-scale immigration in the 1850s. Newly arrived in Buenos Aires, these immigrants, especially from Spain and Italy, transformed the new capital into a wealthy and sophisticated metropolis.
The Bohemian City That Lost Its Sparkle
In the latter half of the 20th century, however, Buenos Aires lost a bit of its glamour. Even after attempts to re-democratize the country, moving to Buenos Aires still was not all that attractive an option. Along with the rest of the country, the Argentine capital suffered from a serious economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, which led to socio-political unrest among the impoverished population.
However, after Argentina’s bicentennial celebrations in 2010, moving to Buenos Aires has once again been gaining traction. The city is as vibrant and bohemian as ever: Not only has its reputation among international tourists reached new heights, but more foreigners move to Buenos Aires for work, as well.
Look Outside the Limits
When moving to Buenos Aires, you will obviously need a place to live. Among expatriates, the choice of residence is influenced by such factors as proximity to work, transportation, and international schools. Nonetheless, it helps to know a little about the various neighborhoods and suburbs before you move to Buenos Aires.
The city consists of 48 different quarters. These neighborhoods, from Saavedra to Nueva Pompeya, only form the capital itself, however. The autonomous federal district is surrounded by the Buenos Aires Province. Outside the official city limits, the urban sprawl of Gran Buenos Aires extends much further.
Life in the Capital: Comfy & Cultural
As of 2016, it is estimated that just under 2.9 million people are living in Buenos Aires itself. As such, the city suffers from neither rapid demographic growth nor overpopulation. The Gran Buenos Aires region is turning into one enormous conurbation as more and more people move to Buenos Aires and its surrounding towns, and today more than 13 million people live there.
In Buenos Aires City’s 48 neighborhoods, you’ll find an interesting demographic mix of ethnicities and nationalities. A small number of porteños are mestizos (“mixed-raced” descendants of Amerindians and European colonists) or Afro-Argentines. Most Buenos Aires natives, however, trace their ancestry back to the immigration waves from Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, or other Latin American nations.
In addition to the immigrants from Italy and Spain, numerous German, Irish, Portuguese, French, English, Welsh, Scandinavian, and Russian hopefuls decided to try their luck moving to Buenos Aires, especially in the late 19th century. Among these, there was also a considerable number of European Jews: Buenos Aires still boasts Latin America’s largest Jewish community. Its heritage can be seen throughout the city in traditional Jewish neighborhoods, such as Villa Crespo.
Later, Syrians, Lebanese, and Armenians also started moving to Buenos Aires. Then, in the decades following World War II, migration trends shifted to new arrivals from other South American countries, mainly Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay, and a number of East Asian communities emerged. Since then, Argentina has once again become a favorite among expatriates and immigrants from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, China, South Korea, and Japan, and regardless of origin most move to Buenos Aires.
Exclusively Expats: Sticking With the Familiar
Today’s expat residential areas are a far cry from the historical immigrant quarters in Buenos Aires. As mentioned, most expatriates opt to find a home in close proximity to their workplace, a public transportation node, or their children’s school(s). Nevertheless, there are some neighborhoods (barrios) that are especially popular among expats moving to Buenos Aires. These will be introduced on the following page.
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