Buenos Aires is the largest city and capital of Argentina, and the second largest metropolitan area in South America. It sits along the western shore of the Rio de la Plata estuary and is not a part of Buenos Aires Province or the capital of the Province; Buenos Aires is an autonomous district that was granted autonomy in 1994. Its official name is Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires or the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. In 2016, the estimated population of Buenos Aires is 2,891,000.
In 2010, Buenos Aires had an official population of 2.89 million in the city proper, which has grown very modestly to an estimated 2,891,000 in 2016.
The metropolitan population jumps to just over 13.5 million and includes an area of over 3,800 square kilometers.
The city has a density of about 13,680 people per square kilometer (34,800/square mile), but this density drops to just 2,400 per square kilometer in the suburbs. The Buenos Aires metropolitan area is home to about 13.5 million people.
Since 1947, the population of Buenos Aires has stayed around 3 million because of slow migration to the surrounding areas and low birth rates, but the neighboring districts have seen fivefold expansion.
Buenos Aires Demographics
As of the last census, the racial composition of Buenos Aires was:
- White: 88.9%
- Mestizo: 7%
- Asian: 2.1%
- Black: 2%
Most of the population is of European descent, with the most common ethnic origin groups being Italian and Spanish. Interestingly, Buenos Aires has the largest Jewish community in Latin America, and the second largest in the Americas.
The census in 2001 also showed that Buenos Aires has a somewhat aged population, as 22% of the population was over 60 years old. This is pretty comparable to most European cities, however, but Buenos Aires is older than Argentines as a whole.
The largest religion in Buenos Aires is Roman Catholicism. The former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, was even elected Pope for the Roman Catholic Church in 2013. It's believed around 20% of the city's population is a practicing Catholic. There are also Jewish, Protestant, Orthodox and Muslim communities in Buenos Aires, which is home to the largest mosque in the continent.
Buenos Aires History
The first European to reach the Rio de la Plata was a Spaniard named Juan Diaz de Solis in 1516. He was later killed by a native Charrua tribe in present-day Uruguay.
Buenos Aires was established as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre, or City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds, in 1536 by a Spanish expedition headed by Pedro de Mendoza, and this settlement was in the present day San Telmo district of Buenos Aires.
Settlers were pushed away from attacks by indigenous people, and the site was eventually abandoned just six years after its founding. A second establishment was created in 1580, called Santisima Trinidad, and its port became Puerto de Santa María de los Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires had a trade-dominated economy from the start, and during the 17th and 18th century, ships from Spain were plagued by pirates. They eventually developed a complicated system where ships with military protection left to Central America, crossed land to Lima, Peru and then to the inner cities. Products took a long time to reach Buenos Aires, and taxes became cost-prohibitive.
Buenos Aires was officially declared an open port in the late 1700s to ease trade restrictions. When the British invaded the Rio de la Plata, the city was attacked twice and successfully invaded in 1806. During this invasion, Spain left the city to its fate and the citizens took up arms to defend the city. When Spain was invaded by Bonaparte two years later, the Buenos Aires people decided they had seen enough of rule under Spain and established an independent government in 1810, although formal independence didn't come for another six years.
Throughout the 19th century, Buenos Aires attracted hundreds of thousands of immigrants, and the city grew massively. The country experienced a revival in the 1990s and a cultural revival in the 1980s with a return of democracy, and despite slow growth, Buenos Aires is still one of the largest and most populous cities in the world.
Buenos Aires Population Growth
While still a major tourist destination, Buenos Aires has experienced a stagnating economy over the last few years. While the economic decline is not as apparent in Buenos Aires as it is in Argentina as a whole, its dense city population is slowly moving to the suburbs.
The city is still growing, although not in huge numbers, and Greater Buenos Aires is expected to have a population of 13.6 million by 2025, and 14 million by 2030.