As a native Italian speaker traveling to South America, wondering which South American country has the most Italian speakers is normal since communication would be easier for you in that country.
There are various countries in South America with Italian-speaking natives. Even so, some places have a higher number than others.
Which South American Country Has The Most Italian Speakers?
The answer may surprise you, but Argentina has the highest number of Italian speakers.
Although it was not always known as a destination for Italian immigrants, since World War II, there has been a large influx of Italians to this South American nation.
At least one million Argentinians are estimated to be of Italian descent — making them one of the largest Italian diasporas in the world.
Today, over 500,000 people in Argentina identify as speaking Italian — almost 8% of the population.
Although this number may not be as large as other immigrant communities, such as German and Spanish speakers, it is still a significant portion of the population.
Italian is also a popular second language among Argentinian schoolchildren, and many people in the country can understand at least some of it.
Even Italian-language television programs and newspapers are available in Argentina—which is not available in any other South American nation.
For this reason, the answer to which South American country has the most Italian speakers? Is Argentina.
It has the largest number of Italian speakers in South America and a long-standing tradition of cultural exchange between Italy and its people.
With more than 4 million people speaking the language, there’s no doubt that Argentina has earned its place as the most Italian-speaking country in South America.
What Percentage Of Italian Speakers Live In Argentina?
In 2017, it was estimated that nearly 7% of Argentina’s population comprises Italian speakers.
That makes the nation the most representative in terms of countries with large populations speaking a foreign language.
Most of these people are descended from immigrants from different regions within Italy, making up a significant part of Argentine culture and popular media.
It is safe to say that Italian is Argentina’s second most-spoken language.
Why Is There Such A High Number Of Italian Speakers In Argentina?
Argentina has a long and complicated history when it comes to immigration.
Over the last two centuries, millions have traveled from Italy to South America.
They brought their culture and language with them as they settled in different parts of the continent.
That has resulted in a large number of Italian speakers today in Argentina.
It is believed that close to 1 million Argentines are of full or partial Italian heritage, which represents around 4% of the population.
However, due to a large number of immigrants, it is estimated that around 15% of the population speaks Italian.
That would make Argentina home to the largest number of Italian speakers in any South American country.
Argentina’s strong ties to Italy also extend beyond its language.
Argentina has one of the largest populations of Italians outside of Italy, and many cultural events and festivals in the country celebrate Italian culture.
From pasta and pizza to fashion, architecture, and art, elements of Italian culture can be seen throughout Argentina.
What Is The History Of Italian Immigrants In Argentina?
The history of Italian immigrants in Argentina dates back to the 19th century when waves of Italians migrated to South America for a better life.
Many settled in Argentina and quickly established roots in the country, becoming part of the fabric of Argentine culture.
From 1890-1914 alone, more than 1 million Italian immigrants arrived in Argentina, making it the largest population of Italian descendants outside Italy.
Today, nearly one in ten Argentines claim some form of Italian heritage.
Many speak Spanish and Italian at home or within their communities, and there are several Italian-language newspapers, magazines, and radio stations.
The number of Italian speakers in Argentina is estimated to be well over 10 million, making Argentina the South American country with the most Italian speakers.
It also has the third-largest population of Italian heritage people on earth.
Interestingly, recent studies have shown that there are now more non-native Italian speakers in Argentina than native ones.
That is because a large number of immigrants from Italy settled in Argentina over the past few decades. I
Influence Of Italy On Argentina
In addition to being the country with the most Italian speakers, Argentina has also been deeply impacted by Italian culture.
That is evident in many aspects of life in Argentina, from food and language to art and architecture.
Italy has had a profound influence on Argentinean literature, music, theatre, cuisine, and fashion as well.
Many famous Argentinian authors and artists, such as Jorge Luis Borges and Carlos Gardel, were of Italian descent.
Italy’s influence on Argentina has been profound, from traditional Italian food such as pizza and pasta being staples of the Argentine diet to the architecture of some cities, including Buenos Aires.
The Italian influence has also extended into politics, with several former presidents from Argentina having Italian backgrounds.
What Other Countries Of South America Have Italian Speakers?
Argentina has the largest number of Italian speakers in South America, with over 1.5 million people speaking the language.
That is due to its large population of Italian immigrants who arrived in Argentina during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Overall, it is estimated that around 10 million people speak Italian in South America as a first or second language.
That makes it the most widely spoken European language in the region.
In addition, Italy has a large diaspora, with many people of Italian descent living outside the country.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Italian speakers can be found all over South America.
Aside from Argentina, other countries in South America have significant Italian populations. Those are as follows:
Uruguay is home to over 1.2 million people who speak Italian as their native language, making it the second-largest concentration of Italian speakers in South America.
The country has a long history of immigration from Italy, with many Italians settling here since the 19th century when Uruguay was still part of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata.
Brazil also has many Italian speakers in South America, with over 50,000 people speaking it as their native language.
That is due to a large influx of Italians arriving during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Brazilian Italians are concentrated mainly in the country’s south and are known for their strong cultural identity, having kept many traditions from their Italian homeland.
In Brazil, Italians form one of the largest European ethnic groups, with over 1 million citizens of full or partial Italian descent.
As such, Italian is one of Brazil’s most widely spoken foreign languages, with many universities offering courses.
Overall, Brazil has a high number of Italian speakers in South America, making it a fantastic destination for anyone wanting to practice their skills or enjoy the country’s unique culture!
Though Brazil is the clear leader in Italian speakers, Colombia also has a sizable population of Italians.
There are over 35,000 people who have Italian ancestry in the country. As such, it’s not uncommon to hear conversations between Spanish and Italian speakers in the streets.
Even more so than Brazil, Colombia is a great place to learn Italian, as several language schools and universities offer courses in the language.
Colombia also has a large Italian population due to the immigration of Italians to coastal cities during the 19th and 20th centuries.
So if you’re looking for an interesting and unique cultural experience in South America, Colombia is worth considering!
Chile is also a great destination for those wanting to experience Italian culture in South America.
That is because the country has many people who claim Italian ancestry and thus use it as their first language.
That is especially true in larger cities such as Santiago and Valparaiso, where many families have been in the country for generations.
In addition to its Italian speakers, Chile is also home to one of the biggest communities of Italians outside of Italy itself.
That is because of immigration after World War II and the subsequent economic boom during the 1950s and 1960s.
As such, many Italian restaurants, shops, and cultural centers in Chile are dedicated to preserving the Italian people’s language, culture, and traditions.
Paraguay also has many Italian speakers, with estimates ranging from 40,000 to 800,000 people.
Like in Chile, the origins of Paraguayan Italians come mainly from the wave of immigration that occurred after World War II.
Many Italians moved to Paraguay seeking economic opportunities and set up small businesses in cities like Asuncion, Ciudad del Este, and Pedro Juan Caballero.
In addition to Italian-speaking communities in those cities, there are also smaller Italian-speaking pockets in the countryside.
As such, Paraguay can be considered another South American country with a large population of Italian speakers.
All in all, there are several South American countries with significant populations of Italian speakers.
Argentina has the highest number of Italian-speaking individuals, followed by Brazil and Uruguay.
Chile and Paraguay also have sizable Italian-speaking communities, though exact numbers take time to come by.
So which South American country has the most Italian speakers? It’s impossible to tell, but Argentina is likely at the top.
With its long history of immigration and vibrant Italian-speaking communities, South America has become an important part of the global Italian language community.
So whether you are planning a trip or interested in learning more about Italy’s influence on the continent, understanding which countries have the most Italian speakers can be an important part of the journey.
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