|c. 44 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Argentina 43 million (2015)|
|Diaspora total||c. 800,000|
(Rioplatense dialect, Cordobés dialect, Cuyo dialect)
|Predominantly Roman Catholic|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other (especially Uruguayans)|
Argentines (also known as Argentinians or Argentineans; Spanish: masculine argentinos; feminine argentinas) 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.
Argentina is a multiethnic society, which means that it is home to people of many different ethnic backgrounds. Argentina is, along with other areas of new settlement like the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, or New Zealand a melting pot of different peoples.
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, famines, the pursuit of a better life, among other reasons. 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, and are either descendants of colonial-era settlers and/or of the 19th and 20th century immigrants from Europe, with about 86% of the population being of ethnic European descent.
The most common ethnic groups are Italian and Spanish (including Galicians and Basques). It is estimated that up to 25 million Argentines, up to 60% of the total population, have Italian ancestry, wholly or in part. There are also some Germanic, Slavic, Irish and French populations. Smaller Jewish, Native, Arab, Asian, Romani and African communities contribute to the melting pot.
DNA genetics studies
- 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.
Argentines of 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 Argentinians have been a majority in the country since 1914. Some international sources claim the European component of the population to be at around 97% of Argentina's population.
The most numerous immigrant European communities are: Italians (62.5% of the population have some degree of Italian descent), Spaniards (including Basques, Asturians and Galicians), Germans, Scandinavians (mainly Danes and Swedes), Slavs (including Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Czechs, Bulgarians, Slovenes, Serbs, Macedonians and Croats), Finns, the French (including francophone Basques), the Irish, Portuguese, the Dutch among others in smaller number.
Arabs and Argentines with partial Arab ancestry exist. They represent about 3.2 million people, whose ancestry traces back to any of various waves of immigrants, largely of Arab cultural and linguistic heritage and/or identity, originating mainly from what is now Syria and Lebanon. 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.
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) 2004 – 2005, 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.
Within the population totals, there may be an imprecise amount of mixed Mestizo population. 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 that attempted to find the average Argentine ancestry by Daniel Corach 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.
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. Blacks, Mulattos (mixed Black and European ancestry) and Zambos (mixed Black and Native ancestry) in Argentina might be about 67,000 people; this figure includes 53,000 direct descendants from slaves, plus 12,000–15,000 Caboverdian Mulatto 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 oblivion.
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 20th century. 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. The small Asian Argentine population has generally kept a low profile, and is accepted by greater Argentine society.
The first Argentines of 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 so far wave of Asian immigration to Argentina, from mainland Chinese immigrants, eventually becoming the 4th largest foreigner community in 2013, after Paraguayans, Bolivians, and Peruvians.
Although Spanish is dominant, being the national language spoken by virtually all Argentines, the spoken languages of Argentina number at least 40. 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).
Most Argentines outside Argentina are people who have migrated from the middle and upper middle classes. According to official estimates there are 600,000 worldwide Argentine, according to estimates by the International Organization for Migration are 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, with principally to Spain, USA, Mexico and Venezuela. During the 1990s, due to the abolition of visas between Argentina and the United States, thousands of Argentines emigrated to the North American country. 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, Mexico and Canada, and to a lesser degree, South America (mostly to Uruguay and Brazil): 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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Argentina despite this being a Catholic country.
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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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