Population. – According to a 1989 estimate, the population rises to 31,903,275 residents (11 residents per km 2). The recent demographic evolution is characterized by a natural annual growth rate of 15 ‰ (1983-88), lower than the world average (18 ‰), but still sustained, which is mainly attributed to the average annual increase of about half million residents registered during the 1980s. The contribution of the migratory movement, having now completely ceased European immigration, consists in a significant flow from the poorest countries of Latin America, which swells the mass of dispossessed in the suburbs of Buenos Aires (villas miserias). Another significant data is the high degree of population concentration in industrialized urban areas (in 1985: urban population 85.3%; rural population 14.7%). The metropolitan area of Greater Buenos Aires in a decade has attracted over one and a half million people, with an annual increase of 150,000 residents, Which has aggravated the social, health and all services conditions of the metropolis. The situation in the other cities is less serious, despite the higher percentage increases, because they are often linked to the increased supply of work, as happened for example in Mar del Plata, a large seaside tourist city, in Bahía Blanca, home to important industries, and especially in Patagonia. Here several cities have doubled their population in a decade, such as Neuquén, Río Gallegos and Viedma,
However, the government resolution to transform Viedma into the new capital of the state does not appear appropriate, given its marginal geographical position with respect to the vital part of the country, the large production centers and the land communications network. This decision also contrasts with the need for the centrality of political and economic functions, in anticipation of a wider economic market gravitating to the Platense area.
Economic conditions. – According to Existingcountries, the Argentine economy is in crisis due to incorrect political and productive choices, due to modest technological development, due to high production costs, which do not make industrial products competitive on international markets, due to the lack of mercantile organization and services. Yet the country was rightly pointed out as one of the most advanced and richest in the world, it had helped to feed millions of people in the years immediately following the Second World War, boasted important advanced industrial companies and branches of large foreign companies, including several Italian ones (Fiat, Pirelli, Olivetti).
In the 1950s, an extraordinary wealth of resources was dispersed with an autarchic and nationalist economic policy, which certainly improved the conditions of the working class, but also favored a welfare and patronage system. Nationalizations have weakened the country’s economy, which has proved incapable of proper business management and, on the other hand, an economic policy in contrast with the liberalist one of the Western world has increasingly marginalized the country from European and American capitalist democracies., so that the gap between these and the Argentina, burdened by a growing internal disorganization and disproportionate military spending, has been accentuating. The re-establishment of the democratic regime and external aid could mark a turning point in the life of the country,
Agricultural and livestock production, which depended more on active local entrepreneurship, recorded significant increases. Cereals, fruit trees and irrigated crops have seen strong expansions. The area cultivated with wheat has increased by about a third in a decade and production by over 30% (10 million tonnes in 1989); corn underwent an equal increase, due to growing productivity. Even greater production increases were recorded for sunflowers, peanuts, potatoes and other products. On the other hand, the citrus and viticultural production, destined essentially for internal consumption, is stationary, while that of pomaceous fruit has spread over thousands of hectares in Patagonia (Río Negro, Neuquén), so much so that the production of apples (9.9 million of Q), of peaches and pears has more than tripled and feeds even the European markets, due to the seasonal lag in ripening. In recent years the profit margins in agricultural activity have been tapering due to the low prices of agricultural products and cereals in particular, so that the revenues for these exports have been reduced, weighing down the economic situation of the country.
Argentina preserves one of the richest livestock heritages in the world, and livestock products (meat, skins, wool) are important items of international trade, together with cereals and oil seeds. The industry is present to a greater or lesser extent in all branches, among which food (meat, pasta, fruit, etc.) and textiles are particularly important. Industrial investments are concentrated for 80% in the prov. of Buenos Aires, where the manufacturing industry has its cornerstones; other industrialization centers have sprung up around the cities of Rosario (metallurgy, chemistry), Córdoba (automotive industry, concrete) and Mendoza. Vast peripheral areas are still without modern industrial structures.3). In 1987 52.1 billion kWh were produced, of which 22 of water origin, susceptible of further increase in Patagonia and with the construction of large power plants on Paraná and elsewhere.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning the impressive hydraulic works recently carried out in various parts of the country for irrigation and electricity purposes, with the decisive contribution of Italian construction companies and industries. The Panedile Argentina company, a branch of the Italian water pipes, which began its activity in 1949, has since completed about fifty impressive works such as irrigation and drainage canals and aqueducts in the provinces of San Juan, Córdoba and Buenos Aires, the Río Hondo dam in that of Santiago del Estero, the hydroelectric power plant of Ullun (San Juan), the General Belgrano (Salta) and Los Nogales (Córdoba) dams, the artificial lake of Futaleufú (Chubut). Others are running. Ansaldo is responsible for another the thermoelectric power station of Bahía Blanca and the thermonuclear power plant of Atricha (Buenos Aires); Ercole Marelli has specialized in the production of electric motors, alternators, electric pumps, electric fans; Impregilo is completing the largest civil work in the world with the hydroelectric plant of Yaciretá, commissioned by the Argentine and Paraguayan governments, begun in 1983, which will be completed in 1994. A 70 km dam will create a basin of over 1700 km2, 200 long and about twenty wide: the hydroelectric plant will have a power of 2700 MW. Previously, Impregilo had built the hydroelectric plants of El Chocon-Cerro Colorado and Alicura in Patagonia, that of Salto Grande on the border between Argentina and Uruguay and that of Casa de Piedra in the pre-Andean region, which uses the waters of the Río Colorado . Italimpianti was responsible for the nuclear power plant in Río Tercero (Córdoba), the largest in Latin America, which has a power of 600 MW and the water demineralization plant for the oil industry in Mendoza.