POPULATION42,192,494 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA$17,700 (2011 est.)
RELIGIONSnominally Roman Catholic 92% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%
ALSO IN LATIN AMERICABrazil
AT THE CENTER
The society, culture, and politics of Argentina are deeply imbued with Roman Catholicism. The Church’s place in Argentine national identity, which spans across the ideological spectrum, stems from the perpetual ability of Argentines on different sides of political and social divides to find some level of support in the Church. The Church solidified its hold on the territory of modern-day Argentina during the period of Spanish colonial rule from the 16th to early 19th centuries. Church leaders variously supported and opposed the policies of Juan Perón (1946-55) and the violent tactics of the Dirty War (1976-83). Roman Catholicism remains the official religion of the state and Catholic representatives take part in many state functions. Freedom of religion is also guaranteed by the Constitution. Today, areas of Church-State contention include contraception, economic policies, and the disputed involvement of the Church in the Dirty War. Around 90% of Argentines self-identify as Catholic, though only 20% practice their faith on a regular basis.