Argentina or Argentine Republic, federal republic in southern South America, bounded on the north by Bolivia and Paraguay; on the east by Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic Ocean; on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and Chile; and on the west by Chile. The country occupies most of the southern portion of the continent of South America and is somewhat triangular in shape, with the base in the north and the apex at Punta Dungeness, the southeastern extremity of the continental mainland. The length of Argentina in a northern to southern direction is about 3330 km (about 2070 mi); its extreme width is about 1384 km (about 860 mi). The country includes the Tierra del Fuego territory, which comprises the eastern half of the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego and a number of adjacent islands to the east, including Isla de los Estados. The area of Argentina is 2,766,889 sq km (1,068,302 sq mi); it is the second largest South American country, Brazil ranking first in area. Argentina, however, claims a total of 2,808,602 sq km (1,084,120 sq mi), including the Falkland Islands, or Islas Malvinas, and other sparsely settled southern Atlantic islands, as well as part of Antarctica. The Argentina coastline measures about 5000 km (about 3100 mi) in length. The capital and largest city is Buenos Aires.
About 85 percent of the population is of European origin. Unlike most Latin American countries, Argentina has relatively few mestizos (persons of mixed European and Native American ancestry), although their number has increased in recent times. European immigration continues to be officially encouraged; from 1850 to 1940, some 6,608,700 Europeans settled in the country. Spanish and Italian inmigrants have predominated, with significant numbers of French, British, German, Russian, Polish, Syrian, and other South American immigrants. More than one-third of the population lives in or around Buenos Aires; about 92 percent of the people live in urban areas.
According to the 1991 census, Argentina had a population of 32,663,983. The 1995 estimated population is 34,264,000, giving the country an overall population density of about 12 persons per sq km (about 32 per sq mi) in 1995.
In the 2001 census [INDEC], Argentina had a population of 36,260,130, and preliminary results from the 2010 census were of 40,091,359 inhabitants. Argentina ranks third in South America in total population and 33rd globally. Population density is of 15 persons per square kilometer of land area, well below the world average of 50 persons. The population growth rate in 2010 was an estimated 1.03% annually, with a birth rate of 17.7 live births per 1,000 inhabitants and a mortality rate of 7.4 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants. The net migration rate has ranged from zero to four immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants per year.
Argentina comprises 23 provinces; the self-governing Distrito Federal (Federal District), which consists of the city of Buenos Aires and several suburbs; the Argentine-claimed sector of Antarctica; and several South Atlantic islands.
Argentina is divided into seven geographical regions:
Northwest, a continuation of the high Puna with even higher, more rugged topography to the far-west; the arid precordillera, filled with narrow valleys or quebradas to the mid-west; and an extension of the mountainous Yungas jungles to the east.
Mesopotamia, a subtropical wedge covering the western Paraná Plateau and neighboring lowlands enclosed by the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.
Gran Chaco, a large, subtropical and tropical low-lying, gently sloping alluvial plain between Mesopotamia and the Andes.
Sierras Pampeanas, a series of medium-height mountain chains located in the center.
Cuyo, a basin and range area in the central Andes piedmont, to the west.
Pampas, a massive and hugely fertile alluvial plain located in the center east.
Patagonia, a large southern plateau consisting mostly of arid, rocky steppes to the east; with moister cold grasslands to the south and dense subantarctic forests to the west.
Argentina is highly urbanized, with 92% of its population living in cities: the ten largest metropolitan areas account for half of the population. About 3 million people live in the city of Buenos Aires, and including the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area it totals around 13 million, making it one of the largest urban areas in the world.
The metropolitan areas of Córdoba and Rosario have around 1.3 million inhabitants each. Mendoza, San Miguel de Tucumán, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Salta and Santa Fe have at least half a million people each.
The population is unequally distributed: about 60% live in the Pampas region (21% of the total area), including 15 million people in Buenos Aires province. The provinces of Córdoba and Santa Fe, and the city of Buenos Aires have 3 million each. Seven other provinces have over one million people each: Mendoza, Tucumán, Entre Ríos, Salta, Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones. With 64.3 inhabitants per square kilometre (167/sq mi), Tucumán is the only Argentine province more densely populated than the world average; by contrast, the southern province of Santa Cruz has around 1.1/km2 (2.8/sq mi).
The official language is Spanish, spoken by almost all Argentines. The country is the largest Spanish-speaking society that universally employs voseo, the use of the pronoun vos instead of tú ("you"), which imposes the use of alternate verb forms as well. Due to the extensive Argentine geography, Spanish has a strong variation among regions, although the prevalent dialect is Rioplatense, primarily spoken in the La Plata Basin and accented similarly to Neapolitan language. Italian and other European immigrants influenced Lunfardo—the regional slang—permeating the vernacular vocabulary of other Latin American countries as well.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Although it enforces neither an official nor a state faith, it gives Roman Catholicism a differential status.
According to a CONICET poll, Argentines are 76.5% Catholic, 11.3% Agnostics and Atheists, 9% Evangelical Protestants, 1.2% Jehovah's Witnesses, 0.9% Mormons; 1.2% follow other religions, including Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.
The country is home to both the largest Muslim and largest Jewish communities in Latin America, the latter being the 7th most populous in the world. Argentina is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
Argentines show high individualization and de-institutionalization of religious beliefs; 23.8% of them claim to always attend religious services; 49.1%, to seldom do and 26.8%, to never do.
On 13 March 2013, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as Pope of the Catholic Church and took the name "Francis", becoming the first pope from the Americas and from the Southern Hemisphere, the first non-European pope in 1272 years, and the first Jesuit one.