Arguably, no other country in the New World was transformed by the great cycle of migration of the 19th and 20th centuries as profoundly as Argentina. In a relatively short period of time - from roughly 1870 to 1930 - with the arrival of approximately six million people, the dynamics of migration contributed significantly to the creation of a modern, predominantly urban and industrial society.

Italian quarter in Buenos Aires. (© picture alliance / united archives)

After the great waves of transatlantic migration, the movement of people across borders continued to shape Argentina. In the face of newcomers from neighboring countries, waves of Argentines leaving the region, and political projects to redefine the position of the migrant in Argentine society, both governments and society are trying to cope with promises and challenges, both old and new.


Background Information


Capital: Buenos Aires
Official Language: Spanish
Area: 2,780,400 km2
Population (2014): 41.8 million
Population Density: 14.9 inhabitants/km2
Population growth rate (2010): 1.03%
Foreign-born population (2010): 1,805,957
Working Population (2012): 18,850,709
Unemployment rate (2013): 7.1%
Religions: 69% Catholic, 16% Agnostics and Atheists, 12% Protestants, 1.5% Muslims, 1% Jews, others
This focus Migration country profile portrays the dynamics of the multiple forms of migration within the Argentine context. The first part details the historical developments, from colonial times up to the end of the Second World War, focusing on migration patterns, the impact on the receiving country, discourses surrounding migration and the state’s attempts to shape them.

The second part introduces major aspects of the contemporary phenomenon of migration to and from Argentina. The arrival of people from neighboring countries and other new groups of immigrants, the novel reality of Argentines emigrating in the face of political repression and bleak economic outlooks, and attempts to reform the status of migrants in recent years form the major arguments.
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Thomas Maier

Thomas Maier

Thomas Maier is currently researching his PhD at the Institute of the Americas, University College London. His main focus of research is the history of labor and the welfare state in the Americas, particularly Argentina and the Southern Cone. Email: thomas.maier.12@ucl.ac.uk

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