Global Reach: Argentina

Year Work
Total Funds
Invested To Date


As is true in all five of the Latin American countries in which EMpower works, Argentina has high rates of income inequality, poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, teenage pregnancy and, in the past years, growing violence.

The quality of education in Argentina is deficient, particularly in low-income urban areas and rural areas. Teachers themselves are the product of poor-quality education, which translates to continued poor teaching outcomes. Almost all children attend primary school, but those from the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to drop out before completion of secondary school, whereas their peers from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to finish secondary school and go on to university, perpetuating lifelong disparities in opportunities for Argentina’s low-income youth.

Wages in Argentina are also highly and positively correlated with level of education, which has ramifications as only 50% of all youth have completed upper secondary school. Combined with a skill gap (according to the OECD, only 15% of upper secondary school students in Argentina are enrolled in vocational or pre-vocational programs), this results in many young people (31% of males and 23% of females) working in the informal sector in jobs that offer lower wages, lack social protection, and are often exempt from labor regulations. While Argentina has developed a number of government plans to formalize employment, their effectiveness and impact are mixed.

Adolescent pregnancy in Argentina is a complex problem that has roots in poverty, gender inequality, violence and lack of education. Despite generally widespread information about contraception, high rates of adolescent pregnancy persist. Early pregnancy is associated with maternal morbidity and mortality, school dropouts, probability of raising children in poverty, lower earnings over a lifetime, and welfare dependency. 

All of these problems are made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit Latin America harder than any other region in the world. Indeed, while Latin America is home to just eight percent of the world’s population, it accounts for roughly 40% of global coronavirus-related deaths.[1]

In Argentina, EMpower seeks to address these challenges by supporting local organizations to combine education with livelihoods in new, innovative ways. EMpower supports grantee partners to test new program elements that other funders cannot or will not fund, and provides long-term support with the possibility of general operating support, which allows grantee partners to think more strategically about their work. EMpower’s funding has been critical in grantee partners mastering the intersection between education and livelihoods, while also providing critical support in other areas such as sexual and reproductive health and gender equity training.


Total population: 45,200,000 (2020)[2]

Percentage of population ages 10-24: 23.5% (2020)[3]

% urban/rural: 92.8% of the population is urban (2020).[4]

Special populations (e.g., refugees, indigenous young people, migrants) of interest:  European (mostly Spanish and Italian descent) and mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian ancestry) 97.2%, Amerindian 2.4%, African 0.4% (2010 est.)[5] In the past decades, people from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru migrated to Argentina and established important communities.

Economy and Environment

GDP per capita, whether growing/shrinking: $11,688 (2018), shrinking in recent years[6]

GINI index and rank: 41.4 (2018) (ranked 53rd globally, indicating high levels of inequality) [7]

% of population living in poverty (by country’s own poverty line): 35.5% living at/below the country’s poverty line of 14,700 pesos ($193) per month (2019).[8]

INFORM Risk Index score (2020): Widely-used tool to assess the risk of humanitarian crisis and disasters, including the Hazard and Exposure subscale, which includes natural disasters like earthquakes, droughts, and floods, and human disasters like conflict. Argentina: 2.7 (Medium, stable) overall; Rank 128; Hazard & Exposure score: 2.8 (medium)

Key issues that affect youth:

Gender inequality

Rank in Global Gender Gap report (2020): 30 (out of 153, where ranking closer to the bottom indicates more gender inequality in economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment).[9]

Internet and mobile phone access: in 2019 75% of men used the internet, compared to 73% of women. 87% of men and 88% of women owned a mobile phone (2018).

Education (Quality education, SDG4)

100% of girls and 95% of boys make the transition from primary to secondary school (2014)[10]

14% of young people in secondary school (13% girls) are at least 2 years over age for grade (2017)[11]

Secondary school enrollment or completion rates, by sex: unavailable

PISA reading score (2018): 402 (vs. OECD average of 487)[12]

PISA math score (2018): 379 (vs. OECD average of 489)[13]

PISA science score (2018): 404 (vs. OECD average of 489)[14]

Livelihoods (Decent work and economic growth, SDG 8)

Labor force participation rate for persons aged 15-24: Male (46.7%), Female (31.1%) (2017)[15]

Percentage of youth not in education, employment or training (NEET): Male (16.8%), Female (28.4%) (2019).[16]

Health and well-being (as relevant, key data points below)

% of young women 20-24 married by age 18: not available[17]

% of young women 20-24 mothers by age 18: 12% (2012)[18]

Gender-based violence prevalence or acceptance: 2.3% of 15-19 year-old females agreed that wife-beating was justified under certain circumstances (2012).[19]



[2] Estimated size of populations at mid-year., table beginning on page 142.

[3] UNFPA calculation based on UN Population Division data, as cited in, on table beginning on page 142.



[6], page 177.














Other countries in Latin America:

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