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By Details > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Argentina
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Map of Argentina
IntroductionTop
Background: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 numerous elections since then have underscored Argentina's progress in democratic consolidation.
GeographyTop
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
Area: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: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

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: 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: 12.31%
permanent crops: 0.48%
other: 87.21% (2001)

Irrigated land:15,610 sq km (1998 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: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

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

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
PeopleTop
Population:39,537,943 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 25.6% (male 5,170,721/female 4,938,171)
15-64 years: 63.9% (male 12,626,711/female 12,627,026)
65 years and over: 10.6% (male 1,712,117/female 2,463,197) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 29.42 years
male: 28.52 years
female: 30.4 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:0.98% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:16.9 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:7.56 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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 (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 15.18 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.07 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 75.91 years
male: 72.17 years
female: 79.85 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.19 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.7% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:130,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:1,500 (2003 est.)
Nationality: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%
Religions:nominally Roman Catholic 92% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%
Languages:Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.1%
male: 97.1%
female: 97.1% (2003 est.)

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

Government type:republic
Capital: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

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 and compulsory
Executive branch:chief of state: President Nestor KIRCHNER (since 25 May 2003); Vice President Daniel SCIOLI (since 25 May 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Nestor KIRCHNER (since 25 May 2003); Vice President Daniel SCIOLI (since 25 May 2003); 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 27 April 2003 (next election to be held NA 2007)
election results: results of the presidential election of 27 April 2003: Carlos Saul MENEM 24.3%, Nestor KIRCHNER 22%, Ricardo Lopez MURPHY 16.4%, Adolfo Rodriguez SAA 14.4%, Elisa CARRIO 14.2%, other 8.7%; the subsequent runoff election slated for 25 May 2003 was awarded to KIRCHNER by default after MENEM withdrew his candidacy on the eve of the election

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 intermittently by province during the 2nd half of 2003 (next to be held NA 2005); Chamber of Deputies - last held intermittently by province during the 2nd half of 2003 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by bloc or party - NA%; seats by bloc or party - PJ 41, UCR 16, provincial parties 15; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by bloc or party - NA%; seats by bloc or party - PJ 133, UCR 46, IF 23, ARI 11, Socialist 6, other/provincial parties 38

Judicial branch:Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (the nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval by the Senate)
Political parties and leaders:Action for the Republic or AR [Domingo CAVALLO]; Alternative for a Republic of Equals or ARI [Elisa CARRIO]; Federal Recreate Movement or RECREAR [Ricardo LOPEZ MURPHY]; Front for a Country in Solidarity or Frepaso (a four-party coalition) [Dario Pedro ALESSANDRO]; Interbloque Federal or IF (a broad coalition of approximately 12 parties including RECREAR) [leader NA]; Justicialist Party or PJ (Peronist umbrella political organization) [leader NA]; Radical Civic Union or UCR [Angel ROZAS]; Socialist Party or PS [Ruben GIUSTINIANI]; Union For All [Patricia BULLRICH]; several provincial parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:Argentine Association of Pharmaceutical Labs (CILFA); Argentine Industrial Union (manufacturers' association); Argentine Rural Society (large landowners' association); business organizations; Central of Argentine Workers or CTA (a radical union for employed and unemployed workers); General Confederation of Labor or CGT (Peronist-leaning umbrella labor organization); Peronist-dominated labor movement; Roman Catholic Church; students
International organization participation:AfDB, Australia Group, BCIE, BIS, CSN, FAO, G-6, G-15, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMOVIC, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC
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
EconomyTop
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 more than 8% in 2003 and again in 2004, with unemployment falling and inflation remaining in single digits.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $483.5 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:8.3% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $12,400 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 10.6%
industry: 35.9%
services: 53.5% (2004 est.)

Labor force:15.04 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:14.8% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:44.3% (June 2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):6.1% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):18.3% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $29.15 billion
expenditures: $26.84 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Public debt:118% of GDP (June 2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:sunflower seeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, wheat; livestock
Industries:food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel
Industrial production growth rate:12% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:81.39 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 52.2%
hydro: 40.8%
nuclear: 6.7%
other: 0.2% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:81.65 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:2.818 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:8.775 billion kWh (2002)
Oil - production:755,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:486,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:2.9 billion bbl (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:37.15 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:31.1 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:6.05 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:768 billion cu m (2004)
Current account balance:$5.473 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$33.78 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:edible oils, fuels and energy, cereals, feed, motor vehicles
Exports - partners:Brazil 16.5%, Chile 10.9%, US 10.2%, China 8.5%, Spain 4.5% (2004)
Imports:$22.06 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal manufactures, plastics
Imports - partners:Brazil 27%, US 20%, Germany 6.6%, China 4.6%, France 4.2%, Italy 4.1% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$19.47 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$157.7 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):Argentine peso (ARS)
Currency code:ARS
Exchange rates:Argentine pesos per US dollar - 2.9233 (2004), 2.9006 (2003), 3.0633 (2002), 0.9995 (2001), 0.9995 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:8,009,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:6.5 million (2002)
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 telecommunication 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 being improved; 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 - 8 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); Atlantis II and Unisur submarine cables; two international gateways near Buenos Aires (1999)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 260 (including 10 inactive stations), FM NA (probably more than 1,000, mostly unlicensed), shortwave 6 (1998)
Radios:24.3 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:42 (plus 444 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions:7.95 million (1997)
Internet country code:.ar
Internet hosts:742,358 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):33 (2000)
Internet users:4.1 million (2002)
TransportationTop
Railways: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)

Highways:total: 215,471 km
paved: 63,348 km (including 734 km of expressways)
unpaved: 152,123 km (1999)

Waterways:11,000 km (2004)
Pipelines:gas 27,166 km; liquid petroleum gas 41 km; oil 3,668 km; refined products 2,945 km; unknown (oil/water) 13 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Concepcion del Uruguay, La Plata, Punta Colorada, Rosario, San Lorenzo-San Martin, San Nicolas
Merchant marine:total: 26 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 149,007 GRT/212,620 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 9, chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 7, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Chile 1, Uruguay 1)
registered in other countries: 23 (2005)

Airports:1,334 (2004 est.)
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 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 1,190
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: 567 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:Argentine Army, Navy of the Argentine Republic (includes Naval Aviation and Marines), Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Argentina, FAA)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 8,981,886 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 7,316,038 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 344,575 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$4.3 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.3% (FY00)
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)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:Argentina claims the UK-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in its constitution; it briefly occupied 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
Illicit drugs:used as a transshipment country for cocaine headed for Europe and the US; some money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border Area; domestic consumption of drugs in urban centers is increasing



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