The Mega City
Imagine the total population of the entire state of Tennessee, crammed into Nashville. Now double that population. That is about how many people live in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Buenos Aires is the second largest metropolitan area in South America. Almost 14 million people live in the greater Buenos Aires area. That is 30 percent of the nation of Argentina’s total inhabitants.
The center of the city is called Capital Federal, and is composed of 48 barrios, or “boroughs” as big city inhabitants call them in the U.S.
People born in Buenos Aires are called “Porteños,” or people of the port, and claim a rich heritage from Italy, France, Spain, or Germany. Tourists to the area often say the city looks like Paris, but everyone speaks Spanish and acts Italian. Most Porteños look like Americans. People who look more like the Latin stereotype are typically from the interior provinces of Argentina, or have immigrated from another Latin American country like Bolivia. In fact, Buenos Aires receives more foreign immigrants than any other city in Latin America. So as you can imagine, the city is home to many different ethnic and religious groups.
Spiritual State of the City
- Sixty percent of the population claims to be Catholic, but most do not practice their religion. At major events in the plazas, you may see signs that read “Buscar Jesús, No Las Igleasias,” or seek Jesus, not churches.
- Approximately 250,000 people living in Buenos Aires claim to practice Judaism. One IMB family is currently focusing on reaching the Jewish population.
- The Asian population of Buenos Aires is mostly made up of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean immigrants, some who claim Roman Catholicism, but many who claim Buddhism, Shinto, Atheism or Agnosticism.
- African and Arabic populations are also present in Buenos Aires, and many identify as practicing Muslims. Buenos Aires is home to the largest mosque in South America, the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center.
- Less than six percent of the population in Buenos Aires identify as evangelicals. Five barrios are without a single evangelical church, and 18 barrios have no Baptist Churches.
While some of the Baptist churches mentioned above are growing and making disciples, many churches are struggling to reach new people for Christ and remain relevant in the city’s constantly changing culture. The Baptist churches of Buenos Aires need partners like you to come alongside them as they seek to revitalize their current churches and plant new ones among the least reached people group segments in Buenos Aires.
The least reached demographics in the city are typically middle to upper-class people with a higher education level, and generally live in the city’s high-rises. People living on the fringes of society (the city’s homeless, impoverished people, and sex workers). But, throughout the entire city, there is only one evangelical church for every 15,000 people, and only one Baptist church for every 70,000 people. So while these are the least reached areas of the city, even the most reached areas still have great spiritual need.