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The enormous traffic shown by these figures is due to the growth of the suburbs and the enforced exodus thence of urban population, owing to the constantly rising and already exorbitant rents prevalent in the city.
In an article published in the Financial News for August 20, 1888, it was stated by the author that: The population of the United Kingdom is about 37,000,000.
The Board of Trade returns show that the number of passengers carried by the British tramways during the year 1887, over a total roadway of 900 miles, was, in round numbers, 400,000,000.
This gives a monthly average of 33,500,000, or 1.096 millions per day. Thus the tramways of the United Kingdom carry every thirty-four days passengers equal in number to the entire population of the kingdom. The collective statistics of tramways in Buenos Aires demonstrate that with only 93 miles of rails and with a population of less than half a million, the same result is obtained every four days.
Therefore, comparing population with population and mileage with mileage, the proportion of the population who use daily the tram cars is sixty-six times greater in Buenos Aires than in the United Kingdom.
Allowing for the increase of population and mileage in both countries, the proportion continues about the same for 1890 as for 1887.
But it is not alone in the capital that tramway enterprise has made such prodigious strides. There are provincial tramways which, for length and efficiency, almost rival the great trunk railways of the country. What, for instance, would be thought in England of a tramway worked by horse power alone for a total distance of 360 miles, with regular stations, yet stopping at any point of the line; with a well-conducted passenger and freight service; with sleepingcars, cars for fruit, fish, and live stock, and even refrigerator cars? There are several undertakings of this kind, though none of such importance as Lacroze's Rural Tramway, which, starting from the city, will ultimately reach as far south as Bahia Blanca. The utility of these “ camp” trains, as they are familiarly termed, is great. They connect with the extensive colonies of the interior and enable the colonist, settled far beyond the railroad regions, to communicate with the outer world. In the Province of Santa Fé alone, at the close of the year 1890, there were 67 miles of tramway in operation, while 492 miles were projected and in the course of construction, the greater part of the latter being camp” or intercolonial tramways.
In 1887, the populated districts of Flores and Belgrano were added to the city of Buenos Aires, increasing its area to 34,829 acres, making it one of the most extensive capitals of the world.
The area of Paris is only 19,276 acres and that of Berlin only 15,632 acres. While almost the entire area of Buenos Aires is built
up the majority of the houses are only one story high, while the yards and gardens take up a great deal of space. This explains how the population of this extensive city is only 600,000 inhabitants, while the population of Paris is over 2,000,000 and the population of Berlin over 1,000,000.
In 1869, the first authentic census of Buenos Aires was taken, and the population was found to be 177,787. In 1887, another and better census was taken, and the population had increased to 404,000 (not counting the 28,000 inhabitants of Flores and Belgrano). On the 30th of November 1891, the Monthly Bulletin of Municipal Statistics gave the figures of 553,007 as the population of the whole federal district; and it is now calculated to be 600,000.
According to conservative calculations of persons who have studied the increase of the population for the last fifty years, Buenos Aires will have in 1902, 808,000 inhabitants; in 1917, 1,616,000, and in 1932, 3,232,000 inhabitants; and this without taking into consideration the population of the annexed districts of Flores and Belgrano, now over 30,000.
According to the census taken in 1869, there were then 20,858 houses in Buenos Aires, of which 1,558 were wood and 1,300 had ceilings of straw. In 1887, the census showed that there were 33,804 houses, and that the 1,300 with straw ceilings had completely disappeared, having been replaced by buildings of brick. The total increase during the eighteen years from 1869 to 1887, was 12,946 houses, or 719 houses per year.
- But it must be remembered,” says the compiler of the census, “that the extraordinary increase in the building of new houses dates only from 1880 (when Buenos Aires was definitely chosen as the capital of the nation), and during the last three years (1884–1887) the number of houses built each year has always been double the number of
those built the preceding years.” “ The modern buildings,” he adds, “ have nothing in common with the old ones.
The first are constructed artistically, while the latter are not. The rules of aesthetics and of hygiene are now strictly observed, while before, they were generally disregarded. The great majority of houses built lately are three or four stories high without including the basements.”
Taking as a basis the sales of real estate made in 1886–87, calculations were made by the chief of the bureau of statistics to ascertain the value of the real estate property of Buenos Aires in 1887. These calculations show that while in 1886, the total value of tax-paying real estate property amounted to $490,000,000, it had increased the following year to $773,182,000, revealing an absolute increase of nearly $300,000,000 in only one year. These figures give an idea of the activity displayed in real estate transactions, and also of the immense rise in the value of
property, owing to the increase of population, the great number of modern buildings erected, and general improvements made.
The tax paid on real estate amounts to only one-halt per cent of its valuation.
According to the census of 1887, 15,366 houses were owned by Argentines; 12,349 by Italians; 2,853 by Spaniards; 1,977 by Frenchmen; 569 by Englishmen; 446 by Germans; 479 by Uruguayans, and 656 by persons of other nationalities.
The total area of plazas and promenades in Buenos Aires is 960 acres, or an acre to every 560 inhabitants. This compares with some other cities as follows:
Inhabitants to one acre of park.
560 Dublin ..
410 | Glasgow
175 I, 293 I, 025