Surnames in Argentina: A population study through isonymy



In order to study the isonymic structure of Argentina, the surname distributions of 22.6 million electors registered for the year 2001 were analyzed in the 24 districts (distritos) and 541 municipalities (municipios) of the country. The number of different surnames found was 414,441. Matrices of isonymic distances between districts were constructed and tested for correlation with the geographic distance between the capital towns of the districts. We found that, for the whole of Argentina, Euclidean distance was correlated with the log of geographic distance (r = 0.480 ± 0.067). A dendrogram of the 24 regions was built from the matrix of Euclidean distances, using the UPGMA method. The clusters identified by the dendrogram are coincident with conterminous geographical regions of the country. Random inbreeding calculated from isonymy, FST, was highest in La Rioja, Corrientes, and Santiago del Estero. It was lowest in the area of Buenos Aires and in the north-central region of Santa Fé. Average Fisher's α for municipalities was 358; for districts, it was 422; and for Argentina as a unit, it was 602. The geographical distribution of α in 541 municipalities, high in the east and lower in the west of the country, is compatible with the settlement in the 20th century of subsequent waves of immigrants moving from the North Atlantic coast toward the foot of the Andes and toward the south. The present structure of Argentina indicates that migration dominates over drift. Am J Phys Anthropol 128:199-209, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.