|c. 45 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Argentina 43 million (2015)|
|Primarily Argentine Spanish|
|Predominantly Roman Catholic|
|Related ethnic groups|
Argentines (also known as Argentinians or Argentineans; in Spanish argentinos (masculine) or argentinas (feminine) are people identified with the country of Argentina. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Argentines, several (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Argentine.
Argentina is a multiethnic and multilingual society, home to people of various ethnic, religious, and national origins, with the majority of the population made up of Old World immigrants and their descendants. As a result, Argentines do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with citizenship and allegiance to Argentina. Aside from the indigenous population, nearly all Argentines or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries. Among countries in the world that have received the most immigrants in modern history, Argentina, with 6.6 million, ranks second to the United States (27 million), and ahead of other immigrant destinations such as Canada, Brazil and Australia.
In the mid-19th century a large wave of immigration started to arrive in Argentina due to new Constitutional policies that encouraged immigration, and issues in the countries the immigrants came from, such as wars, poverty, hunger, and famines. The main immigration sources were from Europe, the countries from the Near and the Middle East, Russia, and Japan. Eventually, Argentina became the country with the second-largest number of immigrants in the period, with 6.6 million, second only to the United States with 27 million.
Therefore, most Argentines are of European descent (with a significant Native component), and are either descendants of colonial-era settlers and/or of the 19th and 20th century immigrants from Europe, with about 65% of the population being of ethnic European descent.
The most common ethnic groups are a mix between Spanish (including Galicians and Basques), Italian and Native American. It is estimated that up to 30 million Argentines, up to 62.5% of the total population, have Italian ancestry, wholly or in part. There are also some Germanic, Slavic, Irish and French populations. Smaller Jewish, Arab, Asian, Romani and African communities contribute to the melting pot.
Large comprehensive studies across Argentina's many regions in order to characterize the genetic admixture have been lacking. Small sample size studies give the following composition.
- Homburguer et al., 2015, PLOS One Genetics: 67% European, 28% Amerindian, 4% African and 1,4% Asian.
- Avena et al., 2012, PLOS One Genetics: 65% European, 31% Amerindian, and 4% African.
- Buenos Aires Province: 76% European and 24% others.
- South Zone (Chubut Province): 54% European and 46% others.
- Northeast Zone (Misiones, Corrientes, Chaco & Formosa provinces): 54% European and 46% others.
- Northwest Zone (Salta Province): 33% European and 67% others.
- Oliveira, 2008, on Universidade de Brasília: 60% European, 31% Amerindian and 9% African.
- National Geographic: 52% European, 27% Amerindian ancestry, 9% African and 9% others.
- Corach, Daniel (2010): 78.5% European, 17.3% Amerindian, and 4.2% Black African ancestry.
A team led by Daniel Corach conducted a study in 2009, analyzing 246 samples from eight provinces and three different regions of the country. The results were as follows: the analysis of Y-Chromosome DNA revealed a 94.1% of European contribution, and only 4.9% and 0.9% of Native American and Black African contribution, respectively. Mitochondrial DNA analysis again showed a great Amerindian contribution by maternal lineage, at 53.7%, with 44.3% of European contribution, and a 2% African contribution. The study of 24 autosomal markers also proved a large European contribution of 78.6%, against 17.3% of Amerindian and 4.1% Black African contributions.
Argentines of total or partial European descent constitute the majority of Argentina's population. Ethnic Europeans include the Argentine descendants of colonists from Spain during the colonial period prior to 1810, and mainly of immigrants from Europe in the great immigratory wave from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century. No recent Argentine census has included comprehensive questions on ethnicity, although numerous studies have determined that European Argentines have been a majority in the country since 1914. Some international sources claim the European component of the population to be at around 97%.
The most numerous immigrant European communities are: Spaniards (including Basques, Asturians and Galicians), Italians (62.5% of the population have some degree of Italian descent), Germans, Scandinavians (mainly Danes and Swedes), Slavs (including Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Czechs, Bulgarians, Slovenes, Serbs and Croats), Finns, the French (including francophone Basques), the Irish, Portuguese, the Dutch, among others in smaller number.
Within the population totals, there may be an imprecise amount of mixed population, known in the country as 'morochos'. In one of the most comprehensive genetic studies involving the population of Argentina, 441 Argentines from across the North East, North West, Southern, and Central provinces (especially the urban conglomeration of Buenos Aires) of the country, it was observed that the sample population comprised on average of 65% European, followed by 31% Amerindian, and finally 4% of African ancestry; however, this study was unweighted and meant to be a representation of the diversity of Argentine DNA rather than a demonstration of the average ethnic composition of the country. It was also found there were great differences in the ancestry amongst Argentines as one traveled across the country. A study by Daniel Corach that attempted to find the average Argentine ancestry by weighing the population of various regions gave a significantly higher estimate of European ancestry at 78.5% of the average Argentine's autosomal DNA.
Contemporary Native cultures are represented in the country mainly by the Mapuche, Kolla, Wichí and Toba peoples. According to the provisional data of INDEC's Complementary Survey of Indigenous Peoples (ECPI), 600,329 Natives (about 1.49% of the total population) reside in Argentina. The most numerous of these communities are the Mapuches, who live mostly in the south, the Kollas and Wichís, from the northwest, and the Tobas, who live mostly in the northeast. Some Mestizo population may identify with Native ethnicity.
Genetic studies carried out in 2005 showed that the average level of African genetic contribution in the population of Buenos Aires is 2.2%, but that this component is concentrated in 10% of the population who display notably higher levels of African ancestry. Black people, Those of mixed Black and European ancestry, and those of mixed Black and Native ancestry make up around 67,000 people; this figure includes 53,000 direct descendants from slaves, plus 12,000–15,000 Caboverdian immigrants and their descendants, who arrived in the 1950s and 1960s. With constant wars in the 19th century, the spread of diseases like yellow fever, thousands of immigrants from Europe arriving to Argentine soil, and most black women intermarrying with them; noting that their populations were already low, the Afro-Argentine population faded into obscurity. In recent years, there has been a revival on self-identification as Afro-Argentine, as many people are rediscovering their roots.
A new wave of Black immigration started in the 1990s, from African countries (Cape Verde, Nigeria, Senegal, Angola, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, etc.). In recent years Africa Vive, an organization that helps to keep alive Afro-Argentine heritage, calculates that there are between 1 and 2 million Afro-descendants in Argentina.
Argentines of Asian ancestry are defined as either born within Argentina, or born elsewhere and later to become a citizen or resident of Argentina. Asian Argentines settled in Argentina in large numbers during several waves of immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the 19th century, West Asian immigrants, primarily from Lebanon and Syria came as a result of the 1860 Mount Lebanon civil war. In the early 20th century, a small wave of East Asian immigrants, particularly from Japan came to the country.
The first Argentines of East Asian descent were a small group of Japanese immigrants, mainly from the Okinawa prefecture, which came in the period between the early and mid 20th century. In the 1960s, Koreans began to arrive, and in the 1980s, Taiwanese immigrants. The 1990s brought the largest wave of Asian immigration so far to Argentina, from mainland Chinese immigrants, eventually becoming the fourth largest immigrant community in 2013, after Paraguayans, Bolivians, and Peruvians. The small East Asian Argentine population has generally kept a low profile, and is accepted by greater Argentine society. Primarily living in their own neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires, many currently own their own businesses of varying sizes – largely textiles, grocery stores, and buffet-style restaurants.
West Asian/Arab Argentines
Arabs and Argentines with partial Arab ancestry represent about 3.2 million people, whose ancestry traces back to any of various waves of immigrants, largely from the Levantine region of Western Asia, from what is now Syria and Lebanon; and from Cilicia and Palestine in a lesser extent. Due to the fact that many Arab countries were under control of the Ottoman Empire by the time the large immigration wave took place, most Arabs entered the country with Turkish passports, and so they are colloquially referred to as los turcos. The majority of Arab-Argentines are Christians, albeit Argentina is the Latin American country with the largest Muslim population and the one that host the largest mosque. There is also a sizeable Syrian-Lebanese Jewish community in the country, mainly centred in Buenos Aires, Rosario and Tucumán.
Although Spanish is dominant, being the national language spoken by virtually all Argentines, at least forty languages are spoken in Argentina. Languages spoken by at least 100,000 Argentines include Amerindian languages such as Southern Quechua, Guaraní and Mapudungun, and immigrant languages such as German, Italian, or Levantine Arabic.
Two native languages are extinct (Abipón and Chané), while some others are endangered, spoken by elderly people whose descendants do not speak the languages (such as Vilela, Puelche, Tehuelche and Selknam).
There are also other communities of immigrants that speak their native languages, such as the Chinese language spoken by at least half of the over 60,000 Chinese immigrants (mostly in Buenos Aires) and an Occitan-speaking community in Pigüé, Buenos Aires Province. Welsh is also spoken by over 35,000 people in the Chubut Province. This includes a dialect called Patagonian Welsh, which has developed since the start of the Welsh settlement in Argentina in 1865.
A majority of the population of Argentina is Christian. According to CONICET survey on creeds, about 76.5% of Argentines are Roman Catholic, 11.3% religiously indifferent, 9% Protestant (with 7.9% in Pentecostal denominations), 1.2% Jehovah's Witnesses, and 0.9% Mormons.
Although Jews account for less than 1% of Argentina's population, Buenos Aires has the second largest population of Jews in the Americas, second only to New York City. Argentina also has the largest Muslim minority in Latin America (see Islam in Argentina).
According to official estimates there are 600,000 Argentines worldwide, and according to estimates by the International Organization for Migration there have been about 806,369 since 2001. It is estimated that their descendants would be around 1,900,000. The first wave of emigration occurred during the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983, principally to Spain, the United States, Mexico and Venezuela. During the 1990s, due to the abolition of visas between Argentina and the United States, thousands of Argentines emigrated to North America. The last major wave of emigration occurred during the 2001 crisis, mainly to Europe, especially Spain, although there was also an increase in emigration to neighboring countries, particularly Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.
The rate of Argentine emigration to Europe (especially to Spain and Italy) peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s and is noteworthy. Spain and Italy have the largest Argentine communities in Europe, however, there are also important communities in France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
The most popular immigration destinations in the Americas are: the United States and Brazil, and to a lesser degree, mostly to (Uruguay and Canada): Chile, Paraguay and Bolivia, while other communities settled in Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
- There are two different groupings for Spanish citizens with Argentine origin. 256,071 is the size of the population in Spain who were born in Argentina (including those with dual Spanish citizenship). 72,041 is the size of the foreign population in Spain with Argentine citizenship (thus, no Spanish citizenship).
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Se estima que en la actualidad, el 90% de la población argentina tiene alguna ascendencia europea y que al menos 25 millones están relacionados con algún inmigrante de Italia.
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