Argentines are a fusion of diverse national and ethnic groups, with descendants
of Italian and Spanish immigrants predominant. Waves of immigrants from many European
countries arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Syrian, Lebanese,
and other Middle Eastern immigrants number about 500,000, mainly in urban areas.
Argentina has the largest Jewish population in Latin America, about 250,000 strong.
In recent years, there has been a substantial influx of immigrants from neighboring
Latin American countries. The indigenous population, estimated at 700,000, is
concentrated in the provinces of the north, northwest, and south. The Argentine
population has one of Latin America's lowest growth rates. Eighty percent of the
population resides in cities or towns of more than 2,000, and over one-third lives
in the greater Buenos Aires area.
With 13 million inhabitants, this sprawling metropolis serves as the focus for
national life. Argentines enjoy comparatively high standards of living; half the
population considers itself middle class.