Argentina Immigration

The population of Argentina in July 2009 was estimated at 40,913,584. Approximately 10. 8% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 25. 6% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 97. 4 males for every 100 females in the country in 2007. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 2005-10 was expected to be 0. 9%. The projected population for the year 2020 was 44,523,752. The population density was 15 per sq km (38 per sq mi). The UN estimated that 89% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1. 5%. More than one-third of all Argentines live in or around Buenos Aires, the capital city, which had a population of 13,047,000 in 2005. Other estimated metropolitan area populations in 2000 were Cordoba, 1,592,000; Rosario, 1,312,000; Mendoza, 988,600; La Plata, 838,600; and San Miguel de Tucuman, 837,000. The majority of the population descends from early Spanish or Italian immigrants. Approximately 10% of the people are of indigenous Indian or mestizo descent. Migration Migration to Argentina from Spain and Italy has been heavy in the past.

Under the rule of Juan Domingo Peron (1946-1955), immigration was restricted to white persons, exceptions being made for relatives of nonwhites (Japanese and others) already resident. More recently, immigrants from across the border in Paraguay have numbered at least 600,000; Bolivia, 500,000; Chile, 400,000; Uruguay, 150,000; and Brazil, 100,000. Some 300,000 illegal aliens were granted amnesty in 1992. Foreigners, on application, may become Argentine citizens after two years’ residence.

A total of 16,738 were naturalized in 1991, of which 13,770 were from other American countries. In 2000, Argentina’s refugee population was estimated at 2,400. Few Argentines emigrated until the 1970s, when a “brain drain” of professionals and technicians began to develop. In the mid-1980s, some 10,000 of the estimated 60,000 to 80,000 political exiles returned home. Of much greater significance to Argentina has been the tendency for workers in rural areas to throng to the cities. This had particular political and economic overtones during the Peron regime.

Peron’s encouragement of workers to move to Buenos Aires and surrounding industrial areas drained rural areas of so many persons that agriculture and livestock raising, the base of Argentina’s wealth, suffered severely. Moreover, the inability of the economy to absorb all of the new urban masses led to a host of economic and social problems that still besiege the nation in the 21st century. Both the federal government and provincial governments have since vainly entreated aged workers to return to rural areas.

There has been a significant increase in asylum claims in recent years, beginning in the latter half of the 1990s. As of the end of 2004, there were 3,910 refugees and asylum seekers. Of the 990 asylum seekers, 428 received counseling and assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Most asylum seekers were from neighboring countries, but there were also more than 30 other nationalities from Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. In 2005 estimates were that there were 0. 4 migrants per 1,000 population.

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