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Country Profile of Argentina

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC)
Web address
www.indec.mecon.gov.ar
Organizational structure and finance
The statistical services of Federal, provincial and municipal agencies are all integrated into and coordinated by the National Statistical System. In each of the 23 Argentine provinces, as well as in the Federal Capital (the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires) there operates a provincial Statistical Office (DPE, Dirección Provincial de Estadística), under the control of the respective provincial government. Each provincial Statistical Office coordinates statistical activities in its respective province and takes active part in collecting, entering and processing information at that level. In turn, the INDEC and other Federal agencies consolidate the data furnished by the provinces in order to obtain integrated and consistent information from the entire nation. The production of statistical information by the INDEC results from various data collection procedures (censuses, surveys, administrative and other government records) which make it possible to elaborate a number of indicators describing different fields of social and economic interest.

Through the various activities of its Dissemination/Communications Division (Dirección de Difusión) the INDEC is in permanent contact with users from both the public and the private sectors, in Argentina as well as abroad. The launching of its Statistical Services Center (CES, Centro Estadístico de Servicios) brought about an across-the-board reappraisal of the Institute's relations to the different groups of information users. Thus the INDEC is now committed to make full use of all technologically available communication channels in order to achieve effective contact with the general public.

The Institute's operational structure is organized into three basic areas:
o statistical production,
o dissemination,
o support activities to facilitate statistical production and dissemination.

The statistical production departments survey and process data required by the general public and by government policy-making decisions. Each specialized sector of the Institute defines the goals and scope of its research programs, develops the appropriate methodological procedures and defines the operative concepts that are to be measured in the INDEC's censuses and surveys.

The department of publications and statistics dissemination (Dirección de Difusión) makes the results available to the community at large in order to satisfy the general public's information needs as well as those of special users. In due turn, the analysis and interpretation by different types of users in their own decision-making process stimulate changes in statistical approaches and spur new demands for information to be provided by the INDEC.

Lastly, the technical support sector provides adequate facilities, backing and maintenance to the other two areas enabling them to carry out their statistical endeavors and to disseminate their results. Thus the INDEC's support area clears out budget snags and solves logistic, computer and technological problems; it also trains human resources and effectively paves the way for the obtention and dissemination of public statistics.
Multi-annual or annual work program
The INDEC is also responsible for the coordination of the National Statistical System (SEN, Sistema Estadístico Nacional), under the principle of procedural, methodological and standards' centralization coupled with operative decentralization. This means that the INDEC is ultimately responsible for the production of public statistics under appropriate quality and methodological standards, to ensure reliability and comparability of data obtained from many different sources and jurisdictions.
Main duties
With the purpose of maintaining continuous communication with the international community of public statistics, the INDEC cooperates on a permanent basis with both government and non-government international organizations, as well as with other countries' national statistical agencies. Thus the participation of National Statistical System officials in training activities abroad is consistently promoted. At the same time, the Institute also promotes the active cooperation of foreign public statistical experts in the INDEC's activities as well as the exchange of technical missions with other countries and agencies.

Throughout the world, the impact of public statistics on policy-making decisions in economic, demographic, social and environmental matters makes it necessary to ensure the quality and reliability of statistical data. Because of this need, the United Nations Statistical Commission adopted the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics drawn up in 1992 by the Economic Commission for Europe in view of promoting their acceptance and implementation in other regions. The INDEC endorses these recommendations and carries out its activities in accordance to the following guidelines:

1. Public statistics are an essential element in a free democratic society's information system. They provide economic, demographic, social and environmental data to the government, to the economic actors and to the general public. For these purposes, official statistical agencies should impartially compile and disseminate public statistics of proven practical usefulness enabling the citizenry to assert its rights to adequate public information.

2. In order to preserve the public trust in official statistics, the agencies responsible for public statistics should base their decisions solely on strictly professional considerations, including adequate scientific criteria and professional ethical standards, whenever methods and procedures for the collection, processing, storage and presentation of statistical data are involved.

3. In order to enable a correct interpretation of data, statistical agencies should present their information in accordance to scientific standards concerning sources, methods and procedures.

4. Public statistical agencies have the right criticize erroneous interpretations and the improper use of official statistics.

5. Data for statistical purposes may be obtained from a variety of sources, including statistical surveys/censuses and administrative records. Statistical agencies should select their sources taking into consideration quality, timeliness, cost, and burden on the informant population.

6. Data gathered by public statistical agencies for compilation purposes, involving either individuals or firms, should be handled in strictly confidential terms and used exclusively for statistical purposes.

7. The general public should be clearly informed about the public laws, regulations and provisions governing the operation of statistical systems.

8. Coordination among official statistical agencies throughout the nation is indispensable to warrant consistency and efficiency in the system of public statistics.

9. The use of international concepts, classifications and methods by each country's official statistical agencies promotes consistency and efficiency in the respective national system of statistics.

10. In every country, bilateral and multilateral cooperation in statistical matters contributes to the improvement of the respective national statistical systems.


Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
Towards the end of the 19th century Argentina underwent unprecedented demographic and economic changes whose appraisal and measurement were of vital interest to the ruling classes that were forging ahead with the so-called National Organization process. Statistical research aimed at increasing knowledge about the population growth and the consequences of immigration, as well as obtaining information about the conditions of economic production. Such knowledge was essential to the diagnosis and design of government policies. Thus, in 1869 the first National Population Census was carried out throughout the entire Argentine territory.

In 1929, as a consequence of developments in the country's social and productive structure, derived in turn from the new international economic conditions as well as from the effects of successive waves of European immigration on Argentina's population patterns, particularly in the aftermath of both World Wars, there arose new demands for further national statistical researches.

A list of the Argentine government agencies in charge of the production of public statistics in the last hundred years follows, with an indication of its insertion in the government structure.

1894: Dirección General de Estadística (General Direction of Statistics), an agency of the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Public Finances).

1944: Consejo Nacional de Estadística y Censos (National Council of Statistics and Censuses), an agency of the Consejo de Defensa Nacional, Ministerio del Interior (Council of National Defense in the Ministry of Interior), and of the Secretaría Técnica de la Presidencia de la Nación (Technical Secretariat of the Argentine Presidency).

1950: Dirección General del Sistema Estadístico Nacional (General Direction of the National Statistical System), an agency of the Dirección Nacional de Servicios Técnicos del Estado, Ministerio de Asuntos Técnicos (National Direction of the Technical Services of the State, in the Ministry of Technical Affairs).

1952: Dirección Nacional de Servicio Estadístico (National Direction of Statistical Service), an agency of both the Ministry of Technical Affairs and the Ministry of Public Finances.

1956: Dirección Nacional de Estadística y Censos (National Direction of Statistics and Censuses), an agency of the Ministerio de Economía (Ministry of Economy).

1968: The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) is created. From its inception, it was successively subordinated to various agencies and departments of the Executive branch, preserving in all cases its independence regarding the production of public statistics. At present it is an agency of the Secretaría de Programación Económica y Regional, Ministerio de Economía y Obras y Servicios Públicos de la Nación (Secretariat of Economic and Regional Planning in the National Ministry of Economy and Public Works and Services).

The INDEC as such started to operate in 1968 under the provisions of its founding act, National Law No. 17622. This law not only created the Institute but also specified its two main operational purposes and objectives:

- To direct and supervise all public statistics.

- To organize and direct the National Statistical System (SEN).

The INDEC coordinates the SEN operations under the principle of procedural, methodological and standards' centralization coupled with operative decentralization. It draws up the Annual Program of Statistics and Censuses and develops the methods and standards that will ensure the comparability of statistical information originated in different sources.

Besides governing all SEN operations, the aforementioned national law sets forth the obligation for all persons in the Argentine territory to provide data and information of statistical interest as may be required by agencies included in the SEN, under the assurance that the secrecy of such individual data will be duly preserved. In accordance to the provisions of its governing law, the INDEC publishes the results of all its surveys and censuses in aggregate compilations, so as to preserve individual or specific business information from undue publicity or exploitation and to prevent the identification of any individual personal or business source.

The consolidation of democracy after 1983 reinforced the citizens' role in demanding accountability from public officials.

- The deregulation of the national economy and the integration of Argentina into the global markets, as well as the transformation of the country's production structure, required an increased availability of timely statistical data in the decision making process. In 1991 a thorough "reform of the State" and deregulation of the economy were implemented, both of which increased the need for efficient indicators to describe the results of government policies.

- In that context, the previous information gaps about education, health, housing and social services' coverage, as well as the impact of technolog ical and economic changes on employment and on the population's consumption patterns, reinforced the need for updated and reliable public statistics.

- These developments caused the INDEC to diversify its production and to accelerate the publication of its results, as well as ensuring its widespread dissemination. For these purposes, the Institute's work and research procedures were updated, the operations of the SEN (National Statistical System) were redesigned, and the production of provincial, regional and municipal statistics was intensified, always ensuring their comparability and their dissemination after publication, as well as welcoming the demands and needs of new users.

Social and economic developments give rise to demands of statistical information that trigger the INDEC's statistical production cycle. The cycle starts with the definition of a theoretical frame for the study of the selected research object. Specific indicators are designed to measure the phenomenon in question and relevant data collection activities are carried out in the community under study. Validation procedures established by the INDEC are performed, and the resulting data are processed to obtain statistical information that will be disseminated among public officials, interested researchers throughout the world, as well as the population at large. When this information is analyzed and interpreted, different users will base on it their decision making process, and as a consequence of such interactions new demands for statistical information will arise.

Thus the INDEC produces relevant data which provide social and economic agents with an information infrastructure extremely useful for interpreting the real world. The main trait of this type of information is the rigorous scientific methodology used in its production and applied to research procedures, data collection and processing, as well as to data quality control safeguards. In addition, the INDEC offers technical assistance to other agencies concerning methodological design, organization, implementation and data processing of statistical surveys.

These attributes have earned the INDEC widespread recognition as a highly qualified technical agency, independent from political influences, whose activity is oriented to provide timely answers to current specific demands for statistical information. The Institute generates two basic types of information:

-social, demographic and economic information, obtained from censuses, surveys and public registries/records;

-indexes and short-term indicators.

Upon recommendation of international organizations, in order to facilitate international comparability of results, national censuses are carried out periodically to survey the basic characteristics of the country's population and housing conditions, agricultural and other economic activities. The various units surveyed during national and provincial censuses provide the sample framework for surveys carried out in intercensual periods to measure the evolution of indicators among the population under study.

These surveys are used to extend the results obtained from a sample to the total reference population. Such procedures are applied in the Encuesta Permanente de Hogares (National Household Survey), the Encuesta Nacional de Gastos de los Hogares (National Household Expenditures Survey), the Encuesta Industrial Mensual/Anual (Monthly Industrial Survey and Yearly Industrial Survey), the Encuesta Nacional Agropecuaria (ENA, National Agricultural Survey), et cetera.

Other indexes and indicators are derived from primary or secondary data-they make possible an accurate and synthetic followup of developments in various fields of activity. Some such indicators are the Índice de Precios al Consumidor (IPC, Consumer Price Index), the Índice del Costo de la Construcción (ICC, Construction Cost Index), the Sistema de Índices de Precios Mayoristas (System of Wholesale Prices Indexes) and the Intercambio Comercial Argentino (Argentine Foreign Trade) indicators. The Institute also carries out special studies (Estudios Especiales) used in decision-making diagnoses, such as research modules on specific subject matter, standardization of classifications and nomenclatures, as well as methodological investigation.

Through the various activities of its Dissemination/Communications Division (Dirección de Difusión) the INDEC is in permanent contact with users from both the public and the private sectors, in Argentina as well as abroad. The launching of its Statistical Services Center (CES, Centro Estadístico de Servicios) brought about an across-the-board reappraisal of the Institute's relations to the different groups of information users. Thus the INDEC is now committed to make full use of all technologically available communication channels in order to achieve effective contact with the general public.

The Institute's operational structure is organized into three basic areas:
o statistical production,
o dissemination,
o support activities to facilitate statistical production and dissemination.

The statistical production departments survey and process data required by the general public and by government policy-making decisions. Each specialized sector of the Institute defines the goals and scope of its research programs, develops the appropriate methodological procedures and defines the operative concepts that are to be measured in the INDEC's censuses and surveys.

The department of publications and statistics dissemination (Dirección de Difusión) makes the results available to the community at large in order to satisfy the general public's information needs as well as those of special users. In due turn, the analysis and interpretation by different types of users in their own decision-making process stimulate changes in statistical approaches and spur new demands for information to be provided by the INDEC.

Lastly, the technical support sector provides adequate facilities, backing and maintenance to the other two areas enabling them to carry out their statistical endeavors and to disseminate their results. Thus the INDEC's support area clears out budget snags and solves logistic, computer and technological problems; it also trains human resources and effectively paves the way for the obtention and dissemination of public statistics.

In recent years the use of statistical information in decision making has increased considerably. The immediate consequence of this growth for the agencies producing public statistics has been a marked increase in user demand for objectivity, disaggregation and timeliness, both in the production and dissemination of information.


Legal basis
Legal basis
The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) is the technical government agency responsible for the coordination and supervision of all public statistical activities taking place in the Argentine territory. Its creation and operations are governed by the provisions of National Law No. 17622, passed in 1968, and the Executive Orders No. 3110/70 and No. 1831/93.

The Law No. 17 622 confers on the INDEC the direct responsibility for the methodological design, the organization and supervision of all Federal survey and census operations, as well as the elaboration and compilation of basic social and economic indicators and the production of other basic statistical information.


Data collection
Most recent population census
18 November 2001


Data dissemination
Main publications
Statistical Yearbook of the Argentine Republic

The list of selected tables below gives an impression of the statistical information available:

Geographical Information, Climate and Political-Administrative Organization of the Argentine Republic

Areas protected by the Administración de Parques Nacionales (National Parks Administration), classified by natural region or phytogeographical province.

Annual mean temperatures by meteorological station. Years 1998/2002.

Area and number of provincial districts by province. National totals.

Population

Evolution of the total population according to the national censuses. National totals. Years 1869-2001.

Total population by gender, male factor, and density, by province. National totals. Year 2001.

Demographic indicators, by province. National totals. Years 1990-2001.

Total population by birthplace, gender and age group. National totals. Year 2001.

Total population by health insurance coverage, by gender and age group. National totals. Year 2001. Years 2001.

Total population in private households and population in households with unsatisfied basic needs (NBI), by province. National totals. Years 1980, 1991 and 2001.

Percentages of population living under the poverty line and in extreme poverty. Statistical regions totals and urban centers totals. May and October 2001/2002.

Population 10 years old and older, by literacy condition, gender, and age group. National totals. Year 2001.

Population 5 years old and older and population not at present attending any educational establishment but having previously attended for some time, by highest educational level attained and by province. National totals. Year 2001.

Students in the educational system, by level and province. National totals. Year 2000.

Students attending national universities, re-registered, newly registered, and graduated. National totals. Years 2000/2001.

General mortality rate per 100 000 inhabitants, by main causes of death and by sex. National totals. Years 1999/2001.

Households by quality of housing materials (CALMAT) and by availability of household appliances. National totals. Year 2001.

Open unemployment rate in the main urban centers. Years 1998/2002.

Delinquency rate, and crimes and felonies reported to the police, to Gendarmería and to Prefectura, by province, by type of crime. National totals. Year 2002.

Social Security

Distribution of the number of salaried workers by choice of retirement system and by level of workers' earnings. National totals as of June. Years 1998/2002.

Beneficiaries of mutual care associations, by type of institution. National totals. Year 2002.

Price Indexes

Consumer Price Index (IPC), base: 1999 = 100; general index and chapters. Greater Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area; yearly averages. Years 1998/2002.

Wholesale Domestic Price Index (IPIM), base: 1993 = 100; general index and main titles. Yearly averages. Years 1998/2002.

Construction Cost Index (ICC) in the Greater Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area, base: 1993 = 100, itemized. Yearly averages. Years 1995/2002.

Sectors of the Economy

Number and total area of agricultural holdings, by province. National totals. Provisional results of the National Agricultural Census. Year 2002.

Cereal produce, by crop. National totals. Harvest years 1999-2000/2002-2003

Cattle stocks, by age and sex. National totals and selected provinces. Year 2001.

Total sea catch, by species. National totals. Years 1998/2002.

Industrial production statistics, by product groups. National totals. Years 1998/2002.

Monthly Industrial Estimator (EMI), general index, base: 1997 = 100. National totals. Years 1998/2002.

Oil and natural gas extraction. National totals. Years 1998/2002.

Registration (licensing) of new vehicles. National totals. Years 1998/2002.

Telephone service installations and employed personnel. National totals. Years 1998/2002.

Length of the national road system, by type of pavement and by province. National totals. Years 2001/2002.

Financial Activities

International reserves and liabilities of the Argentine Central Bank (BCRA). Years 1998/2002.

Public Sector

Execution of the National Budget, at current values. Savings, investment and funding schedules. Years 1998/2002.

Public sector expenditure by application and function. Year 2001.

Foreign Sector

Argentine trade balance. Years 1998/2002.

Exports, imports and trade balance, by sections of the tariff nomenclator. Years 1998/2002.

Argentina's trade balance with the Mercosur countries. Years 1998/2002.

Balance of payments estimates as of December. Years 1998/2002.

National Accounts

Gross Domestic Product at market prices and Gross Value Added at producer's prices, by sector, at current prices. Years 1997/2002.

Gross Domestic Product at market prices and Gross Value Added at producer's prices, by sector, at 1993 prices. Years 1997/2002.




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