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How Much Does It Cost to Live in Argentina?

The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, release their global Prosperity Index annually. The survey ranks the most prosperous countries in the world. Many assume prosperity is used in reference to the financial standing of a country and, while this is included, the Legatum Institute considers more factors in its ranking.

Ranking in 48th place in 2017 (out of 149 countries) was Argentina. This puts Argentina in the top 35%, with its ranking for Personal Freedom (23rd) helping the country secure a place in the top 50. Whilst Argentina’s other rankings fell within the 50s and 60s, it was let down by Social Capital (72nd), Governance (73rd), Economic Quality (81st) and Business Environment (92nd).

Whilst Argentina is championed by expats as one of the most welcoming countries and the best for making friends, it clearly has its pitfalls.

Argentina’s Economy

Argentina is South America’s second largest country and was once one of the world’s wealthiest nations due to its educated population and agricultural and mineral resources. However, it also has a long history of political and economic disruption.

Late President of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner, served between May 2003 and December 2007. During his presidency, Kirchner damaged Argentina’s economy by instating policies that cut the country off and caused economic stagnation.

Current president, Mauricio Macri began his four-year term in 2015 and is pursuing a reformist agenda to reintegrate Argentina onto the world platform and help develop its economy. However, he has faced red tape from the opposition-controlled Congress.

Due to Macri’s work, the Argentine economy is on much sounder footing but many structural and institutional reforms need to be introduced to restore Argentina’s economy to its former levels of freedom and prosperity.

Currency

The Argentine peso is the official currency of Argentina and represented as $ or ARS. Each peso is divided into 100 centavos.

The Argentine peso is available in the following denominations:

Notes: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 ARS

Coins: 1 ARS and 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos

Expat Accommodation in Argentina

Expats are both welcome to rent and buy in Argentina. Due to the country’s economic issues, many expats find their money stretches further when finding a property in the country. There is a wide range of homes to choose from and there is little issue when it comes to the budget.

Many well-off expats in Argentina choose to live in the gated private communities also favoured by wealthy nationals. Families enjoy the villas, Swiss-style chalets and sprawling country homes available in the suburbs and outside of the cities. However, the townhouses and apartments in the likes of Buenos Aires are equally as popular with professionals and younger expats.

Expat Healthcare in Argentina

Expats in Argentina will undoubtedly need comprehensive private medical insurance. Whilst the country offers food levels of healthcare compared to other South American countries, long waiting times can be exasperating. Most expats utilise private healthcare facilities and have private cover for costs whilst living in the country.

Expat Education in Argentina

Argentina is one of the strongest educational countries in Argentina and it has a high literacy rate, partly due to school being free for children up to the age of 13. However, all lessons in public and private schools are taught in Spanish. This is ideal for younger expat children who will be living in Argentina for the foreseeable future and need to pick up the local language.

However, most children go to school in the cities and benefit from attending one of the international schools which teaches either the curriculum of their home country of the International Baccalaureate. Many of these schools are bi-lingual, such as English and Spanish or French and Spanish, so that children can function in Argentine society.

Jobs in Argentina for Expats

Like many countries around the world, a large number of Expats find themselves teaching English in Argentina. Expats will find that the most job opportunities open to expats seek highlight qualified immigrants such as engineers, managers and executives.

Most employers hiring foreign staff look for at least a basic level of Spanish and a willingness to learn. Fluency in English and any experience with Portuguese is also a real benefit.

Comparison to UK

The world’s largest database, Numbeo, has a vast selection of user-contributed data in regard to Argentina.

The tables below provide an overview of the differences in costs between Argentina and the UK. Please note that all Argentine prices have been converted into British pounds.

Groceries UK Price (£) Argentine Price (£) Cheaper Country?
Milk (1l) £0.91 £0.84 Argentina
White bread (500g) £0.95 £0.84 Argentina
Eggs (12) £2.19 £1.29 Argentina
Local Cheese (1kg) £6.04 £5.09 Argentina
Banana (1kg) £0.99 £1.16 UK
Water (0.33l) £0.92 £0.85 Argentina

 

Transport UK Price (£) Argentine Price (£) Cheaper Country?
Petrol (1l) £1.13 £0.88 Argentina
One-way ticket £2.50 £0.30 Argentina
Monthly pass £60 £14.88 Argentina
Taxi (1km) £1.55 £0.56 Argentina

 

Utilities (Monthly) UK Price (£) Argentine Price (£) Cheaper Country?
Electricity/Heating/Water for 85m2 apartment £150.49 £67.41 Argentina
1 minute of PAYG talk time £0.07 £0.19 UK
Internet (10 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) £24.39 £33.96 UK

 

Clothing UK Price (£) Argentine Price (£) Cheaper Country?
Jeans (Levi or similar) £56.61 £57.38 UK
Dress (chain store) £29.07 £41.13 UK
Nike running shoe £55.00 £74.73 UK
Leather business shoes £76.64 £8607 UK

 

Eating Out UK Price (£) Argentine Price (£) Cheaper Country?
Fast food meal £5.24 £5.29 UK
Inexpensive restaurant £15.00 £6.61 Argentina
3 course, mid-range, 2 people £55.00 £23.14 Argentina
Cappuccino £2.53 £1.72 Argentina
Coke/Pepsi £1.14 £1.13 Argentina
Imported beer £3.50 £2.64 Argentina

 

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