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Geographic Origins

The Argentine Republic is in southern South America. It is bordered by Chile to the west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, and Brazil, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east.

History of Immigration and Settlement

Argentinian immigration to South Australia began in the 1970s, and may be attributed to the decline of Argentina’s economy and standard of living. Argentina developed economic problems in the mid-1950s as a result of the economic policies of President Juan Peron, who had attempted to rapidly strengthen Argentina’s manufacturing industries with finances raised by taxing primary products. As farm production fell, so did the country’s income. Argentina suffered large debts and high inflation.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s Argentina’s economy worsened due to government mismanagement and corruption in the military. In 1973 Argentina’s rate of inflation was 75 per cent. It rose to 183 per cent in 1975, and in March 1976 stood at a staggering 4670 per cent. Prices rose hourly. This was a period of great political turbulence. There were clashes between Peronists and Marxist guerilla forces, military coups, and violations of civil liberties and human rights. Argentinians who migrated to Australia fled their country to escape turmoil and poverty.

Statistics

The 1986 census recorded 261 Argentinian-born South Australians. Only 96 of these stated that they were of Argentinian descent. This disparity may be attributed to Argentina’s diverse population; between 1857 and 1939 3.5 million Europeans emigrated to Argentina. The two dominant cultural groups in Argentina today are Spanish and Italian, followed by people of Polish, German, French, Russian and British descent. There are few Indians or people of mestizo (mixed Indian and European) descent in Argentina.

According to the 1991 census there were 295 Argentinian-born South Australians. 301 people said that their mothers were born in Argentina and 270 that their fathers were.

The 1996 census recorded 312 Argentinian-born South Australians.

The 2001 census recorded 304 Argentinian-born South Australians, while 152 people said that they were of Argentinian descent.

The 2006 census recorded 382 Argentinian-born South Australians, while 292 people said that they were of Argentinian descent.

The 2011 census recorded 422 Argentinian-born South Australians, while 348 people said that they were of Argentinian descent.

The 2016 census has no statistics on Argentinian-born South Australians, although 390 people said that they were of Argentinian descent.

By Migration Museum

This article is part of the From Many Places project documenting the diverse cultural groups in South Australia. It is a project started by the Migration Museum in 1992 and continued in partnership today. 

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