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Nationality: Noun and adjective--Argentine(s).
Population (2001): 38.74 million.
Annual population growth rate (2001): 1.05%.
Ethnic groups: European 97%, mostly of Spanish and Italian descent.
Mestizo, Amerindian or other nonwhite groups 3%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 92%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%. Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--10. Adult literacy (2001)--97%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--16.16/1,000. Life expectancy (2000 est.)--75.48 yrs.
Work force: Industry and commerce--36%; agriculture--19%; transport and communications--6%.
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's population is overwhelmingly Catholic, but it also has the largest Jewish population in Latin America, about 250,000 strong, and is home to one of the largest Islamic mosques in Latin America. 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.