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Cerrutti (2009) remarks that their preference to live in the City of Buenos Aires can be better seen when their population is compared with the total population of the city. Thus, the percentage of migrants from Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay among the total population of the City of Buenos Aires is 4.9% while they only represent the 1.8% in the total population of Argentina. The same happens regarding their concentration in the Metropolitan Region of Buenos Aires, since they represent the 3.2% of the total population. Besides, the author points out that they tend to concentrate in those neighborhoods where the access to dwellings is cheaper but where the housing conditions are more disadvantageous.
4.2. Sex composition Though migration of the whole family is central in Bolivians’ migratory strategies, the proportion of women among Bolivian migrants has increased since 1980, when they were 44,4% of the total of Bolivians while in 1991 the percentage was of 48,2;
49,7% in 2001;
and, 50,3% in 2010 (Cerrutti, 2009 and 2010;
Castillo & Gurrieri, 2012).
Benencia (2012) and Sassone (2009) remark that during that period Bolivian immigration was related to circuits of informal economy and that labor precarization was dominant.
Women migration may be understood as an adaptive strategy to the global changes. The demand for certain labor sectors has risen up, especially the domestic and care services one, because local women participate more in the labor market than they used to, among other factors. Cerrutti (2010) argues that this feminization process may also be associated to changes such as the fact that familiar reunification is being accomplished in a shorter period of time and/or that the propensity of Bolivian women to emigrate has increased.
Contrasting the aging of transatlantic immigrants, the age structure of those who come to Argentina from adjacent countries and Peru evidences a high concentration in the tract between 15 and 64 years that corresponds to the active ages.
Castillo & Gurrieri (2012) say that out of a total of 345.272 Bolivians residing in Argentina in 2010, 10,74% were between 0 and 14 years old, 80,41% were between 15 and 64 years old and 8,86% were 65 years old or more.
Cerrutti (2009) remarks that the proportion of children and teenagers up to years old and of those who are between 15 and 24 is significantly smaller than the observed in the total population of Argentina. That is to say that the pressure of these groups on the educational services is significantly smaller than the one of the total population. The author also points out that the proportion of adult Bolivian people between 25 and 49 years old is significantly superior to that of the total population. Thus, it may be stated that their inputs to economic activity are considerable. Regarding the effects upon social security, the relation between potential contributors and people in retirement age is favorable among all migrants from adjacent countries and Peru, especially in the case of Peruvians and Bolivians.
It is remarkable that the group of young Bolivians between 15 and 29 years old living in the City of Buenos Aires was considerable big in 2001 since 37% of the total of Bolivian population was settled in that city (Cerrutti, 2010). Even though this fact may be because some of them arrived to Argentina being small children, together with their parents, it can also show the presence of young people who had migrated recently in the search of a job10.
4.4. Education profiles Cerrutti (2009) says that in 2001 immigrants coming from adjacent countries had inferior educational levels than the total population of Argentina, in contrast with those immigrants coming from other countries of Latin America such as Peru. Nevertheless, the author has noticed some improvement of the educational levels of Bolivian recent immigrants in the analyses of the National Census of Population 2001. Thus, 32.4% of Bolivian men who arrived recently had completed the middle level, while only 24.5% of those who arrived previously had completed it. In the case of Bolivian women this improvement is more notorious: from 21.5% to 30.0%.
According to Bologna (2010) this kind of structure, in which there is a remarkable concentration in the labor life stages, is the one that may be expected of a migrant group.
In general, the school attendance rate of teen-agers is lower than native ones.
Pacecca and Courtis (2008) compared the amount of years of school attendance of different migratory groups based on the data of the Project IMILA of CELADE.
They found that Bolivians and Brazilians are those who have less than four years of school attendance (27,1% and 29,2% respectively) while 45% of Bolivians and 40% of Brazilians have between 4 and 9 years of school attendance.
4.5. Participation in the labor market 4.5.a Rates of activity Cerrutti (2009) observes that labor motivation is central in the immigration from adjacent countries to Argentina. She says that, according to the Complementary Survey of International Migrations 2002-2003, 45.1% of Bolivian men who had arrived to Argentina before 1990 declared that they had left their country because of the lack of work or work problems and 59.9% of those who arrived after 1990 declared the same. Even though the motivations of women to migrate are more varied, 33.1% of those who arrived before 1990 said that they migrated in search of a job and 49.5% of those who arrived after 1990 declared the same.
That author also states that these differences between Bolivian men and women who arrived before 1990 and those who did it after show a change in the characteristics of recent Bolivian migration. The labor motivation to migrate increased while the reason for accompanying an adult in charge diminished. In the case of Bolivian men, 28.9% migrated because of the latter reason before 1990 and only 9.9% of them did it because of that reason after 1990.
Being their principal motivation to get a job, they are likely to accept any kind of employs, even when the labor conditions are more disadvantageous. Thus, they generally insert in segregated niches of labor destined to recent migrants characterized by low wages, scarce access to social services and the precarious and insecure labor conditions (Pizarro, 2011a and 2011b).
Besides, the rate of activity of labor immigrants tends to be particularly high.
Cerrutti (2009) notices that, in 2001, the rate of activity of immigrants from adjacent countries was higher than the one of the total population of Argentina, especially in the case of young and old immigrants. Pacecca and Courtis (2008) consider that this may be due to the fact that immigrants suffer of greater labor instability than local laborers, as well as they have a smaller capacity of accumulation and their access to social security benefits is more restricted.
4.5.b Insertion in the labor market Bologna (2010) and Sala (2008) remark that, in 2001, there was a labor segregation of labor immigrants in Argentine according to the branch of activity in which they inserted. Both authors say that Bolivian workers, who are less scholarized and qualified than other immigrants, are the most segregated ones. Regarding their qualifications Cerrutti (2009), Pacecca & Courtis (2008) and Sala (2008) say that occupations that demand operative one have an absolute predominance.
The kind of labor insertion varies among immigrants from adjacent countries according to their origin, especially regarding to the branch of activity and the qualification of the occupation. According to Cerrutti (2009), men from Paraguay and Bolivia concentrated in a few branches in 2001, being the predominant: construction, apparel manufacturing, informal trade and reparation services. These branches gathered 59% of Bolivian workers. 23% of them work in agriculture, which is a very important niche of labor for Bolivian men (Benencia, 2012 and Pizarro, 2011a).
But labor segregation does not only occur according to nationality in the case of Bolivian immigrants. There is also a segregation based in gender that overlaps the previous one, as well as the one based in class. Thus Cerrutti (2009) and Pacecca & Courtis (2008) remark that although the participation of women in the labor force is increasing, there is still a high concentration in occupations considered “typical of women”.
Though in 2001 Bolivian women living in Argentina worked in retail trade (23%), manufacturing industries (14%) and agriculture (13%), 26.9 % of them worked in domestic and care services. Cerrutti (2009) highlights that this proportion is significantly higher than the proportion of Argentine women working in that sector (17.1%), which is itself high at an international level. Besides, it must be said that among the manufacturing industries, they mainly work in the apparel one, as many female labor immigrants do. It can be said that the scarcity of native workers in the secondary sector makes employers to look for immigrant workers, as well as these niches are ethnic enclaves in which immigrant employers prefer workers of their same nationality using their migratory social networks.
4.5.c Labor conditions According to Cerrutti (2009), labor immigrants form adjacent countries and Peru are more likely to work in precarious conditions than Argentine workers11. In 2001, 62,6% of the male Bolivian workers in Argentina did not made pension contributions, and they were those who less contributions made among the immigrants from adjacent countries and Peru. In the case of female Bolivian workers, that percentage was of 70.1%, only being overcome by Peruvian ones.
Regarding the differences of incomes between native and immigrant workers, Cerrutti (2009) says that there is no source in Argentina that can provide relevant information. Nevertheless she points out that those differences are high, even though they are relatively lower among those workers who have a low education or who develop non qualified activities. The author suggests that this situation may indicate that more depressed social sectors share unfavorable work conditions and remunerations regardless their migratory condition. Nevertheless, those differences persist as well as the existence of discriminatory behaviors towards immigrants, especially in the case of women (Pizarro, 2011a and 2011b).
Data of the National Census of Population 2001 regarding labor issues are still useful in order to make a shallow characterization even though they may be particularly obsolete because of the improvement of employment conditions during the last 2000s and of the change in the migration policy in Argentina in 2004 that might have had a positive impact in labor migrants, since it guarantees the right to migrate and the immigrants’ social rights.
5. ConclusionsBolivians are the second major immigrant group after Peruvians in Argentina. Nearly 60% of them concentrate in the City of Buenos Aires (capital of Argentina) and in its adjacent districts. Recently, they have mainly migrated in search of a job and their rate of activity is considerable high. They tend to work in segregated niches of labor destined to recent immigrants such as agriculture, construction, informal trade, apparel manufacturing and care and domestic services. Thus, their ethnic-national identity, as well as that of gender and migration condition, contributes in their acceptance of low wages, fragile and irregular labor contracts, bad working and living conditions, very “sacrificed and tough” works, and scarce social security contributions thus impeding them to access semi-public health services or future public retirement.
Their force of labor was complementary and functional to the work demand in the informal sector in Argentina during the 1990s, due to the economic transformations that resulted in a retraction of employment and consequently in the deterioration of the labor market. Nevertheless, Bolivian labor immigrants began to be perceived as “unfair competitors” of native workers (Pizarro, 2011a and 2011b).
As Bruno (2008) says, there is a correspondence between their location in the lower social and symbolic positions and their segregated insertion in the labor market, which shows the interrelation between political economy and culture in the production of excluded social groups in nowadays capitalist system thanks to the ethnicization of production relations. The surplus extracted from Bolivian workers acquires a specific characteristic which remits to the concept of “ethnic surplus”.
This is so because the specific dynamics of recruitment of laborers according to their ethnic-national identity as well as the scarce labor branches in which they can work makes them accept informal and much sacrificed works. Thus, processes of identity construction strongly influence the segregation of labor markets in which transnational labor immigrants insert.
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