Argentine immigrants Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Reflecting significant Italian as well as Spanish influence, Argentines constitute a small immigration population of mostly easily assimilated professionals, scientists, artists, and craftsmen, mainly of European descent (British, French, German, Jewish, Italian, Polish), escaping political and economic trouble in Argentina.

Before the 1970’s, the U.S. government had classified Argentine immigrants within the larger category of “Other Hispanics.” Consequently, Argentine-focused statistics before that decade are absent. Anglo-Argentines in particular had fled dictator Perón, JuanJuan Perón’s regime during the 1950’s, and during the 1960’s Argentine professionals (predominantly Medical professionals;Argentinesmedical doctors and scientists) sought improved economic conditions, resulting in a "Brain drain"[Brain drain];and Argentina[Argentina]“brain drain” to Australia, Canada, and the United States, with more women than men entering the United States. In 1970, there were 44,803 Argentine immigrants nationwide, with 20 percent living in the New York City;Argentine immigrantsNew York metropolitan area. These numbers soared during the mid- to late 1970’s because of political persecution during Argentina’s “dirty war”: Videla, Jorge RafaelJorge Rafael Videla’s military junta snatched off thestreets college students, protesters, trade unionists, and rights activists, who “disappeared” forever.Argentine immigrantsArgentine immigrants[cat]IMMIGRANT GROUPS;Argentine immigrants[00310][cat]LATIN AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS;Argentine immigrants[00310]

The 1970’s political Refugees;Argentinerefugees were less educated and more diverse than the 1960’s immigrants, though more highly educated than the general Argentine population. The Argentine debt crisis of the 1980’s brought another wave of immigration. The 1990 U.S. Census shows the 1970 figure more than doubled over the intervening twenty years to 92,563 Argentines nationwide. There were 15,115 Argentine immigrants in Los Angeles;Argentine immigrantsLos Angeles. By comparison, there were only 15 in North Dakota and Montana combined. Argentine American business and scientific associations, tango dance clubs, and the Italian community made New York City;Argentine immigrantsNew York City so attractive that the 1990 U.S. Census reported 17,363 Argentine Americans residing there. These figures may be low because they exclude more than half the population of Argentine immigrants who fall into other categories, such as Anglo-Argentines, Korean Argentines, Japanese Argentines, Arab Argentines, and especially Italian Argentines. Figures may also be skewed because the “Hispanic” or “Latino” category does notaccurately apply and because Argentines tend to assimilate quickly.

From 1995 to 1999, 9,086 Argentines entered the United States as permanent residents, and the 2000 U.S. Census recorded 100,000 Argentine Americans overall. In 2002, Florida;Argentine immigrantsSouth Florida claimed more than 21,000 in Miami, Florida;Argentine immigrantsMiami’s Little Buenos Aires alone. San Francisco;Argentine immigrantsSan Francisco claimed 6,000. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, poor employment opportunities, especially after the 2001-2002 economic collapse in Argentina; strong foreign-labor demands; and the possibility of entry under family reunification provisions created a new wave of Argentine immigrants. Between 2000 and 2004, 17,306 Argentines entered the United States as permanent residents, leading the U.S. Justice Department to tighten rules for temporary visas to discourage illegal residence.Argentine immigrants

Further Reading
  • Marshall, Adriana. “Emigration of Argentines to the United States.” In When Borders Don’t Divide: Labor Migration and Refugee Movements in the Americas, edited by Patricia R. Pessar. New York: Center for Migration Studies, 1988.
  • Viladrich, Anahí. “From ’Shrinks’ to ’Urban Shamans’: Argentine Immigrants’ Therapeutic Eclecticism in New York City.” Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 31, no. 3 (September, 2007): 307-328.
  • _______. “Tango Immigrants in New York City.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 34, no. 5 (October, 2005): 533-559.

American Jewish Committee

“Brain drain”


Canada vs. United States as immigrant destinations

Economic opportunities


Green cards

Latin American immigrants

New York City

San Francisco

Categories: History