[Country map of Argentina]



Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay

Map references: South America

total area: 2,766,890 sq km
land area: 2,736,690 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than three-tenths the size of the US

Land boundaries: total 9,665 km, Bolivia 832 km, Brazil 1,224 km, Chile 5,150 km, Paraguay 1,880 km, Uruguay 579 km

Coastline: 4,989 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: short section of the boundary with Uruguay is in dispute; short section of the boundary with Chile is indefinite; claims British-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); claims British-administered South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica

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

Natural resources: fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium

Land use:
arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 4%
meadows and pastures: 52%
forest and woodland: 22%
other: 13%

Irrigated land: 17,600 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: erosion results from inadequate flood controls and improper land use practices; irrigated soil degradation; desertification; air pollution in Buenos Aires and other major cites; water pollution in urban areas; rivers becoming polluted due to increased pesticide and fertilizer use
natural hazards: Tucuman and Mendoza areas in the Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike the Pampas and northeast; heavy flooding
international agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation

Note: second-largest country in South America (after Brazil); strategic location relative to sea lanes between South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage)


Population: 34,292,742 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (female 4,706,793; male 4,903,589)
15-64 years: 62% (female 10,680,074; male 10,689,728)
65 years and over: 10% (female 1,922,552; male 1,390,006) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.11% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 19.51 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 8.62 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 28.8 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.51 years
male: 68.22 years
female: 74.97 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.65 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Argentine(s)
adjective: Argentine

Ethnic divisions: white 85%, mestizo, Indian, or other nonwhite groups 15%

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 90% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 6%

Languages: Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 95%
male: 96%
female: 95%

Labor force: 10.9 million
by occupation: agriculture 12%, industry 31%, services 57% (1985 est.)


conventional long form: Argentine Republic
conventional short form: Argentina
local long form: Republica Argentina
local short form: Argentina

Digraph: AR

Type: republic

Capital: Buenos Aires

Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia), and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Buenos Aires; Catamarca; Chaco; Chubut; Cordoba; Corrientes; Distrito Federal*; 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 or Argentina's claims to the Falkland Islands

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

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government: President Carlos Saul MENEM (since 8 July 1989); Vice President (position vacant); election last held 14 May 1995 (next to be held NA May 1999); results - Carlos Saul MENEM was reelected
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional)
Senate: elections last held May 1989, but provincial elections in late 1991 set the stage for indirect elections by provincial senators for one-third of 48 seats in the national senate in May 1992; seats (48 total) - PJ 29, UCR 11, others 7, vacant 1
Chamber of Deputies: elections last held 3 October 1993 ( next to be held October 1995); elections are held every two years and half of the total membership is elected each time for four year terms; seats - (257 total) PJ 122, UCR 83, MODIN 7, UCD 5, other 40

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema)

Political parties and leaders: Justicialist Party (PJ), Carlos Saul MENEM, Peronist umbrella political organization; Radical Civic Union (UCR),Raul ALFONSIN, moderately left-of-center party; Union of the Democratic Center (UCD), Jorge AGUADO, conservative party; Dignity and Independence Political Party (MODIN), Aldo RICO, right-wing party; Grand Front (Frente Grande), Carlos ALVAREZ, center-left coalition; several provincial parties

Other political or pressure groups: Peronist-dominated labor movement; General Confederation of Labor (CGT; Peronist-leaning umbrella labor organization); Argentine Industrial Union (manufacturers' association); Argentine Rural Society (large landowners' association); business organizations; students; the Roman Catholic Church; the Armed Forces


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Raul Enrique GRANILLO OCAMPO
chancery: 1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6400 through 6403
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador James R. CHEEK
embassy: 4300 Colombia, 1425 Buenos Aires
mailing address: Unit 4334; APO AA 34034
telephone: [54] (1) 777-4533, 4534
FAX: [54] (1) 777-0197

Flag: 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


Overview: Argentina, rich in natural resources, benefits also from a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Nevertheless, following decades of mismanagement and statist policies, the economy in the late 1980s was plagued with huge external debts and recurring bouts of hyperinflation. Elected in 1989, in the depths of recession, President MENEM has implemented a comprehensive economic restructuring program that shows signs of putting Argentina on a path of stable, sustainable growth. Argentina's currency has traded at par with the US dollar since April 1991, and inflation has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years. Argentines have responded to the relative price stability by repatriating flight capital and investing in domestic industry. The economy registered an impressive 6% advance in 1994, fueled largely by inflows of foreign capital and strong domestic consumption spending. The government's major short term objective is encouraging exports, e.g., by reducing domestic costs of production. At the start of 1995, the government had to deal with the spillover from international financial movements associated with the devaluation of the Mexican peso. In addition, unemployment had become a serious issue for the government. Despite average annual 7% growth in 1991-94, unemployment surprisingly has doubled - due mostly to layoffs in government bureaus and in privatized industrial firms and utilities and, to a lesser degree, to illegal immigration. Much remains to be done in the 1990s in dismantling the old statist barriers to growth, extending the recent economic gains, and bringing down the rate of unemployment.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $270.8 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 6% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $7,990 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.9% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 12% (1994 est.)

revenues: $48.46 billion
expenditures: $46.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.5 billion (1994 est.)

Exports: $15.7 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: meat, wheat, corn, oilseed, manufactures
partners: US 12%, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Netherlands

Imports: $21.4 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)
commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, fuels and lubricants, agricultural products
partners: US 22%, Brazil, Germany, Bolivia, Japan, Italy, Netherlands

External debt: $73 billion (April 1994)

Industrial production: growth rate 12.5% accounts for 31% of GDP (1994 est.)

capacity: 17,330,000 kW
production: 54.8 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 1,610 kWh (1993)

Industries: food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel

Agriculture: accounts for 8% of GDP (including fishing); produces abundant food for both domestic consumption and exports; among world's top five exporters of grain and beef; principal crops - wheat, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets

Illicit drugs: increasing use as a transshipment country for cocaine headed for the US and Europe

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $1 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $4.4 billion; Communist countries (1970-89), $718 million

Currency: 1 nuevo peso argentino = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: pesos per US$1 - 0.99870 (December 1994), 0.99901 (1994), 0.99895 (1993), 0.99064 (1992), 0.95355 (1991), 0.48759 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 34,572 km
broad gauge: NA km 1.676-m gauge
standard gauge: NA km 1.435-m
narrow gauge: 400 km 0.750-m gauge; NA km 1.000-m gauge (209 km electrified)

total: 208,350 km
paved: 57,000 km
unpaved: gravel 39,500 km; improved/unimproved earth 111,850 km

Inland waterways: 11,000 km navigable

Pipelines: crude oil 4,090 km; petroleum products 2,900 km; natural gas 9,918 km

Ports: Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Comodoro Rivadavia, Concepcion del Uruguay, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Necochea, Rio Gallegos, Rosario, Santa Fe, Ushuaia

Merchant marine:
total: 44 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 434,525 GRT/667,501 DWT
ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 21, chemical tanker 1, container 4, oil tanker 8, railcar carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 5, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1

total: 1,602
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 5
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 25
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 55
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 48
with paved runways under 914 m: 703
with unpaved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 70
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 693


Telephone system: 2,650,000 telephones; 12,000 public telephones; 78 telephones/1,000 persons; extensive modern system but many families do not have telephones; microwave widely used; however, during rainstorms, the telephone system frequently grounds out, even in Buenos Aires
local: NA
intercity: microwave radio relay and domestic satellite network with 40 earth stations
international: 2 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth stations

broadcast stations: AM 171, FM 0, shortwave 13
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 231
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Argentine Army, Navy of the Argentine Republic, Argentine Air Force, National Gendarmerie, Argentine Naval Prefecture (Coast Guard only), National Aeronautical Police Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 8,573,780; males fit for military service 6,954,584; males reach military age (20) annually 301,166 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP