The gaps between the poor and the rich are large. During the acute crisis in 1999–2002, 60 percent of the residents were considered poor. As the economy improved, special support measures were put in place to help disadvantaged families and poverty gradually diminished. In 2017, however, it was estimated that just over a quarter of Argentines live below the poverty line, and the situation deteriorated as the country 2018 entered a new economic crisis.
By the end of 2019, about 40 percent of Argentines were estimated to be living in poverty.
Many Argentinian families got better since a new child allowance, introduced in 2009, and which is especially aimed at families where the parents are unemployed or employed in the informal sector. Later, some low-income earners and pregnant women were also included. The grant is paid for a maximum of five children per family. For disabled children, the level of compensation is higher. For the grant to be paid out, the children must attend school and do regular health checks. In 2018, the grant was paid to 4 million families.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Argentina, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Large social differences exist between different parts of Argentina. The well-off live mainly in and around Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Santa Fé. The poor live mainly in the north or in the slums on the outskirts of big cities, villas misery. There are many who leave the countryside in the hope of finding work in the cities.
Despite widespread protests, Mauricio Macri’s government pushed through pension reform at the end of 2017 (see Calendar). The retirement age will be increased from 65 years to 70 years for men, and from 60 years to 63 years for women. It also means a new way of calculating how large the pension should be. Instead of assuming taxed income and the wage situation (with a reconciliation twice a year), the pension should be linked to the consumer price index (it should be adjusted every quarter and the increase should be 5 percent higher than inflation). Those who have the lowest pensions should also receive a lump sum bonus (about 72 percent of all pensioners).
When it comes to access to care, there are major differences between the city and the countryside and between different parts of the country. In the northern provinces the problems are greatest. There is both public and private care. Some of the public hospitals offer free care, under the auspices of the provinces, but the queuing times can be long.
At the end of 2018, it became mandatory to vaccinate against diseases that can be prevented, such as measles, rubella and mumps. After the change in the law, citizens will not be able to access some public service if they are unable to present a valid vaccination card (see further Calendar).
A mental health law is slowly changing mental health care. The emphasis should be on outpatient care, where staff with different skills work in teams while limiting the hours of care at mental hospitals.
Argentina is said to be the world’s most psychologically dense country. According to a 2012 study, there were over 200 psychologists per 100,000 residents. More than half of them are in the capital Buenos Aires. Especially in the middle and upper classes, it is common to go into therapy or psychoanalysis without it being seen as a big deal, but there is also the opportunity for people with low incomes to go into therapy, for example through government healthcare or through insurance. which some unions have.
Argentina has adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but not all provinces have adapted their legislation accordingly. To enter into marriage, a person must be 18 years of age.
Women were given the right to vote in 1947. After the autumn 2017 election, just over 38 percent of the women’s MPs were elected. The proportion was about as high in the Senate. In September 2018, 2 out of 12 ministers were women, ie almost 17 percent. At the same time, three out of 24 governors were women.
Since 2003, all women have the right to free contraception and sexual information at health centers, but this does not always work in practice.
Abortion is prohibited except after a rape (when the victim is mentally ill or has a mental disability) or when the woman’s life is in danger, but it happens that women are denied abortion even in these cases. According to estimates, hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions are carried out each year, often with major sanitary shortcomings. According to Amnesty, about 3,000 women have died in connection with illegal abortions since the mid-1990s. In March 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that no prior authorization is needed for abortions that occur after a rape. By September 2017, nine provinces had introduced rules to adapt to this.
Opinion polls indicate that a majority of Argentines are for legalizing abortion. In June 2018, the Chamber of Deputies voted with little margin to introduce free abortion, but a few months later the bill was rejected by the Senate (see Calendar). The Ni Una Menos movement has been pushing for the ban on abortion, while the Catholic Church has opposed all changes.
Violence against women in the home is common. Women can now turn to family courts to secure housing. In order for a longer sentence to be imposed, the man is often required to subject the woman to sexual violence. There are also few women’s medical records. Since 2010, there is a new national law that aims to prevent gender-related violence, within the family, working life, the media, etc. In 2012, a new law was passed which means that a perpetrator can receive a higher penalty if the crime is gender-related.
Trafficking in human beings, which has been prohibited by law since 2008, occurs both within the country and from other countries in the region. Most of the victims are used for prostitution but also for forced labor in agriculture, in shops or in industry. Prostitution is legal, but it is forbidden to provide sexual services.
When it comes to the approach to gay relationships, there are major differences between different parts of the country. In 2002, Buenos Aires became the first in Latin America to introduce partnership laws.
In December 2009, two men in Buenos Aires entered the first same-sex marriage in the country’s history after obtaining their marriage license in the province of Tierra del Fuego. In 2010, both congresses of the Congress passed a new national law which meant that gender-neutral marriages are allowed throughout the country. Argentina thus became the first South American nation to allow marriage between gays. In 2012, same-sex couples from other parts of the world were also allowed to marry in Argentina.
Same-sex couples also have the right to adopt children. In 2009, Argentina abolished the ban that prevented homosexuals from getting jobs in the defense. Although attitudes have changed rapidly, persecution and discrimination against LGBT people continues.
In 2012, new laws were introduced that allow sex change to take place in all official documents without a person having first been diagnosed or undergoing any surgical procedures. Both private and public health care providers were also required to offer hormone treatments or sex-corrective surgery to those who so desired. This also applies to persons under the age of 18. In 2013, a gender change was approved for a child as young as six years old. In 2012, Argentina became the first in the world to register dual paternity for a child born by a surrogate mother.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 9 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.4 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 99.6 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 94.3 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 6.8 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 955 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 39 percent (2018)
The communications are best developed around Buenos Aires and at Pampas. The Pan-American highway runs from Buenos Aires in four directions towards the borders of Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. Most of the foreign trade is by ship, and Buenos Aires has South America’s largest port. Bahía Blanca and Quequén are other important ports and the river ports Rosario and Santa Fé can be reached by Atlantic vessels.
From the largest ports, Latin America’s longest rail network spreads over 3,200 km. There are train connections to all neighboring countries. In Buenos Aires there are metro and commuter trains. Plans are on a new express train line between Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba. In many places maintenance is neglected and traffic is down. Profitable passenger traffic between the major cities and parts of freight was privatized in the early 1990s.
After a serious train accident in 2012 that claimed at least 50 lives and injured hundreds, several local companies lost their licenses to operate train traffic. From 2015, most of the commuter train traffic is run by a state-owned company, Sofse.
Domestic flights are well developed. Aerolíneas Argentinas was sold to Spanish Iberia in 2001, but was re-nationalized in 2008. There are ten international airports, of which Ezeiza outside Buenos Aires is the largest.
The state takes over pension funds
The government nationalizes ten private pension funds and justifies the decision to safeguard workers’ assets so that they do not lose value due to the ongoing financial crisis. The opposition claims that the government needs the money to pay its debts. The President promises that money will be used to build housing and to create new jobs.
Former generals are sentenced to life imprisonment
Two former generals, Antonio Bussi and Luciano Menendez, are sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes committed during the dictatorship.
The government loses congressional vote on export taxes
Congress may vote on the higher export taxes and the government suffers a defeat in the Senate since Vice President Julio Cobos voted no. He then steps over to the opposition. The tax increases are then withdrawn. The Cabinet Chief, in effect the Governor, Alberto Fernández resigns and is replaced by Sergio Massa.
Conversation with peasant groups fails
The talks the government held with farmer organizations about the new export tax (see March 2008) fail. New strikes break out.
New export taxes cause protests
The government’s decision to raise export taxes, especially soy products, has led to widespread protests organized by four farmer organizations. The actions receive strong support in public opinion despite the fact that food shortages are occurring in several parts of the country.