Argentina Geography and Population

Argentina – geography

The population density is only 12 residents per. km2, but the regional differences are large: from the populous province of Buenos Aires to the almost uninhabited Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

By the year 1900, the country had 4.8 million. residents; the large population growth is due to a birth surplus, but also a strong immigration, which culminated around the two world wars.

The population is predominantly of European descent. A large proportion are descendants of families who immigrated from Italy (35%) and Spain (28%). Many immigrant groups still have well-functioning colonies with their own schools, churches and newspapers (see also Danish immigration in Argentina). Incidentally, the population consists of Indians, mestizos and non-European immigrants, especially Arabs.

The number of Indians is uncertain; estimates range between 50,000 and 600,000. The population is very mixed, but there are no racial problems of significance; however, the divide between the Indians and the other groups is considerable, and the Indians are consistently at the bottom of the social system.

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The predominantly European origins have led to what some describe as an Argentine identity crisis: a mixed people who share a language and a country; but a country that culturally belongs somewhere else, namely in Europe. This feeling is most pronounced in the capital Buenos Aires. For culture and traditions of Argentina, please check calculatorinc.

The regional distribution of the population largely reflects the colonization of the country. The northwestern provinces were the first to be colonized by the Spaniards; here the country’s trade and administration center emerged, and the area continues to play a dominant role.

In Buenos Aires city live alone than 1/3 of the country’s residents, and in general the country is highly urbanized; 86% of the population lives in cities with more than 2000 residents (1992), and population growth takes place almost exclusively in the larger cities. The government is trying to get people to settle in the southern provinces, but these are still extremely sparsely populated.

In contrast, Buenos Aires in particular has growing metropolitan problems with slums, etc.; some of these are due to significant illegal immigration from the northern neighboring countries. With approximately 13 million. Buenos Aires is one of the world’s largest cities; other million cities are Córdoba (1.37 million) and Rosario (1.16 million).


The active population constitutes slightly more than 1/3 of the total befolkning.Næsten 3/4 of the working-men’s; women are under-represented in all sectors except the social and health sector.

Agriculture etc. Argentina is one of the world’s major agricultural countries and one of the leading exporters of wheat and beef. More than half of the country’s area is used for agricultural purposes, the vast majority of which are permanent pastures.

The agricultural sector is characterized by large, outdated estates and extensive forms of operation. Among other things. the sown area is often much larger than the harvested area. In addition to the large cattle herd (1.5 head per resident), the most important products are wheat, maize, soy, oilseeds and sorghum. In total, agriculture contributes 9.5% of GDP (2004) and approximately 2/3 of the export. There are significant regional differences in the large country.

The lush Pampas plain in central Argentina is the country’s granary, which is further favored by the expanded infrastructure and by the location of industry and the market. Despite the fact that the plain covers only a fifth of the country, found here about 2/3 of the cattle and pigs, as well as almost half of the sheep; the other half is in Patagonia to the south.

Special local conditions can allow for special crops: Citrus fruits, olives and wine are grown in irrigated oases in the dry, sunny Mendoza (Argentina is the world’s fifth largest wine producer), sugar cane and tobacco are grown to the north. The country is the world’s largest producer of tannin, a tannin extracted from the quebracho tree; it is used in the leather and dye industry.

Fisheries play only a minor role in the national economy, but are locally important. The growth opportunities are great with rich resources in the oceans both to the east and south.

Energy and mining

Argentina is largely self-sufficient in oil and gas. Great potentials presumably exist; much of the subsoil has not yet been explored. The largest natural gas fields are located far to the south at Comodoro Rivadavia and to the west of Neuquén; pipelines connect them to Buenos Aires, and energy is playing a growing role in exports.

Of the country’s total electricity consumption, almost half is covered by hydropower, but the proportion is increasing. At Iguaçu, one of the world’s largest hydropower plants is being built in collaboration with neighboring Paraguay and Brazil. In addition, the country is rich in uranium ores, and there are two nuclear power plants in operation (2006). The rest of the mining is locally important; some tin, lead and zinc are mined, and an iron ore with a relatively low grade is extracted towards the NW.


has traditionally aimed at refining agricultural products, but also produces cars, steel, oil and chemical industrial products. The industry is predominantly located in the Buenos Aires and Pampas areas, while both the northern and southern regions are largely non-industrial. From the mid-1970’s to the mid-1980’s, many jobs in the industrial industries disappeared.

Since then, the government has opted for import-restrictive regulations and a higher degree of self-sufficiency, which has given a greater industrial breadth. The sector is characterized by many small and medium-sized enterprises.


An extensive railway network was built early in the northern part of the country. It is one of the densest in South America, but is heavily worn. Of greater importance is a network of highways that connect the great country together, and a fairly dense network of flight routes. Most of the infrastructure, including relatively well-functioning telecommunications, was privatized in the early 1990’s.

Natural geography

Within the country’s borders there are very large differences in natural conditions: from the high alpine areas of the Andes over the dry, hot plains to the north over the fertile, temperate Pampas and to the windy and cold Tierra del Fuego furthest south. The country can be divided into six natural geographical regions: Mesopotamia, Chaco and Puna to the north, Cuyo to the west, the central Pampas and Patagonia to the south.

Mesopotamia is the area between the two rivers of the La Plata system, Paraná and Uruguay. The northernmost part, Missiones, is a continuation of the Paraná Plateau in Brazil. From here, the Rio Iguaçu flows beyond the plateau in the impressive Iguaçu Falls.

The vegetation is subtropical forest; the climate is humid and characterized by easterly winds. The lowlands south of this are intersected by rivers and are marked by marshes in the swampy, hilly grassland. Despite the heavy rainfall in the lowlands, droughts can occur; the precipitation falls as short, heavy rains, and the water seeps quickly into the sandy soil.

The flat savannah country, Chaco, is the southern part of Gran Chaco, which stretches into Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil. Here there is a rather dry, tropical/subtropical climate with summer rain; irrigation is necessary and it is generally an undeveloped region. Here, South America’s highest temperatures are measured, up to 50 °C.

Towards the NW, the landscape rises from 1000 masl to the high plateau Puna. The average height here is approximately 3800 m, and the area is part of the great Altiplano plateau, which continues into Bolivia. The climate is desert-like with an annual rainfall of less than 100 mm; the vegetation is treeless and consists almost exclusively of scattered cacti.

The watershed of the Andes with several volcanoes over 6000 m marks the border with Chile, and large salt pans cover the bottom of drains. To the east, the promontories are intersected by wide valleys (quebradas), and the vegetation testifies to a subtropical mountain climate.

The arid region continues south to the Cuyo region. Andes is here one coherent mountain range; west of the city of Mendoza lies Aconcagua (6959 m), the highest mountain in South America. An important part of the large wine production comes from oases in this dry and sunny area.

The Pampa, the large and extremely flat steppe country, is covered by a 2-5 m thick loess layer. It is a very fine-grained material, deposited by the wind. Loose soils are fertile, and the Pampa is almost entirely cultivated; there is virtually nothing left of the natural grass steppe.

Precipitation is least in the western part and grows to the east around Buenos Aires (Pampa humeda), where agricultural production is also greatest. The Pampa has no major rivers, but a myriad of small lakes; at intervals the area is hit by drought. When this happens, the farmers leave large fields unharvested while the cattle are irrigated from the many wells where characteristic wind turbines pump up the water.

A large part of northern Argentina (along with even larger areas in neighboring countries) is drained by the Rio de la Plata system with the rivers Paraná, Paraguay, Uruguay and Salado. They end in the la Plata delta, which is filled with natural streams in a unique marsh landscape. Buenos Aires is located in the delta and it is necessary to constantly clean the ports due to the deposits from the rivers.

Where northern Argentina usually has summer rain (November-March), it shifts south to winter rain around the rivers Colorado and Negro, the natural border of Patagonia. Only in the Andes is there abundant rainfall, in some places up to 3000 mm per year, but the annual precipitation falls very quickly to the east to 200 mm or less. This rapid shift is reflected in the vegetation. A sharp border separates the Patagonian forest from the grass steppe.

The dry, windswept plateaus fall from the Andes in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east. The landscape is characterized by severe erosion, created by sheep grazing along with the persistent westerly wind. The climate is temperate with neither hot summers nor cold winters. In the inner parts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego the climate is more continental, and here the sheep can perish in cold and snowstorms. Tierra del Fuego is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan and has the same natural conditions as Patagonia. The western half of the island belongs to Chile.

In the southernmost Andes mountains are the Parque Nacional de los Glaciares National Park with many large glaciers. Famous is the glacier Perito Moreno, which shoots out into Lake Argentino. It follows a cycle of three years, after which it calves due to accumulated pressure from the lake.


There is not much left of the country’s native wildlife; but along the coast of Patagonia, especially on the Valdés peninsula, penguins, seals, sea elephants and whales attract quite a few tourists.

Argentina – Danish immigration

From the middle of the 1800’s. and up to approximately In 1930, about 13,000 Danes emigrated to Argentina. Many settled in the area between the towns of Tandil, Tres Arroyos and Necochea in the province of Buenos Aires and found employment in agriculture. The employment as a farm worker provided the opportunity for savings and later rent or purchase of own land. Many Danish immigrants sought to maintain their connection to Danish culture, often following the Grundtvigian model; culturally and socially, they long sought to avoid assimilation. They established Danish Evangelical Lutheran churches with their own priests, published Danish newspapers and gathered in Danish association life, which was continued by both second and third generation Danish-Argentines. In the following generations, assimilation into Argentine society has become more and more pronounced.

Argentina – language

The official language is Spanish. It is largely indistinguishable from the language of Spain, but it has a characteristic intonation and some grammatical and pronunciation features. Many European immigrants have preserved their original language in the fourth and fifth generations. This applies in particular to Italian, but also English, German, French as well as Slavic and Scandinavian languages. In addition, it is estimated that approximately 400,000 residents speak one of 15 different Native American languages. Most important are quechua on the border with Bolivia, guaraní and mataco (wichí) in the northeastern part as well as mapudungun(Araucanian) at the border with Chile. In the province of Corrientes, guaraní became the official language alongside Spanish in 2004.