South America :: Chile

Introduction ::Chile

    Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the Inca ruled northern Chile while the Mapuche inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Mapuche were brought under central government control. After a series of elected governments, the three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE was overthrown in 1973 by a military coup led by Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a freely elected president was inaugurated in 1990. Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and have helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation.

Geography ::Chile

    Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru
    30 00 S, 71 00 W
    total: 756,102 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 38
    land: 743,812 sq km
    water: 12,290 sq km
    note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez
    slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana
    total: 6,339 km
    border countries: Argentina 5,308 km, Bolivia 860 km, Peru 171 km
    6,435 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200/350 nm
    temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south
    low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Nevado Ojos del Salado 6,880 m
    copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower
    arable land: 1.74%
    permanent crops: 0.6%
    other: 97.65% (2011)
    11,990 sq km (2003)
    922 cu km (2011)
    total: 26.67 cu km/yr (4%/10%/86%)
    per capita: 1,603 cu m/yr (2007)
    severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
    volcanism: significant volcanic activity due to more than three-dozen active volcanoes along the Andes Mountains; Lascar (elev. 5,592 m), which last erupted in 2007, is the most active volcano in the northern Chilean Andes; Llaima (elev. 3,125 m) in central Chile, which last erupted in 2009, is another of the country's most active; Chaiten's 2008 eruption forced major evacuations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Cerro Hudson, Copahue, Guallatiri, Llullaillaco, Nevados de Chillan, Puyehue, San Pedro, and Villarrica
    widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage
    party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    the longest north-south trending country in the world, extending across 38 degrees of latitude; strategic location relative to sea lanes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert - the driest desert in the world - spreads across the northern part of the country; the crater lake of Ojos del Salado is the world's highest lake (at 6,390 m)

People and Society ::Chile

    noun: Chilean(s)
    adjective: Chilean
    white and white-Amerindian 95.4%, Mapuche 4%, other indigenous groups 0.6% (2002 census)
    Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
    Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 15.1%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other Christian 1%, other 4.6%, none 8.3% (2002 census)
    Chile is in the advanced stages of demographic transition and is becoming an aging society - with fertility below replacement level, low mortality rates, and life expectancy on par with developed countries. Nevertheless, with its dependency ratio nearing its low point, Chile could benefit from its favorable age structure. It will need to keep its large working-age population productively employed, while preparing to provide for the needs of its growing proportion of elderly people, especially as women - the traditional caregivers - increasingly enter the workforce. Over the last two decades, Chile has made great strides in reducing its poverty rate, which is now lower than most Latin American countries. However, its severe income inequality ranks as the worst among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Unequal access to quality education perpetuates this uneven income distribution.
    Chile has historically been a country of emigration but has slowly become more attractive to immigrants since transitioning to democracy in 1990 and improving its economic stability (other regional destinations have concurrently experienced deteriorating economic and political conditions). Most of Chile's small but growing foreign-born population consists of transplants from other Latin American countries, especially Peru.
    17,216,945 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    0-14 years: 21% (male 1,846,433/female 1,771,225)
    15-24 years: 16.6% (male 1,457,772/female 1,398,684)
    25-54 years: 43.2% (male 3,694,178/female 3,738,355)
    55-64 years: 9.6% (male 771,790/female 872,824)
    65 years and over: 9.7% (male 694,570/female 971,114) (2013 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 45 %
    youth dependency ratio: 30.6 %
    elderly dependency ratio: 14.5 %
    potential support ratio: 6.9 (2013)
    total: 33 years
    male: 31.8 years
    female: 34.3 years (2013 est.)
    0.86% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    14.12 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    5.86 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    0.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    urban population: 89% of total population (2010)
    rate of urbanization: 1.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    SANTIAGO (capital) 6.034 million; Valparaiso 865,000 (2011)
    at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    23.7 (2004 est.)
    25 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    total: 7.19 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 160
    male: 7.67 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 6.68 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 78.27 years
    country comparison to the world: 53
    male: 75.25 years
    female: 81.42 years (2013 est.)
    1.85 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2006)
    8% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    1.09 physicians/1,000 population (2003)
    2.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    urban: 99% of population
    rural: 75% of population
    total: 96% of population
    urban: 1% of population
    rural: 25% of population
    total: 4% of population (2010 est.)
    urban: 98% of population
    rural: 83% of population
    total: 96% of population
    urban: 2% of population
    rural: 17% of population
    total: 4% of population (2010 est.)
    0.4% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    40,000 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    29.4% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    0.5% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    4.2% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 98.6%
    male: 98.6%
    female: 98.5% (2009 est.)
    total: 15 years
    male: 15 years
    female: 15 years (2011)
    total number: 82,882
    percentage: 3 % (2003 est.)
    total: 17.5%
    country comparison to the world: 73
    male: 15.2%
    female: 21.1% (2011)

Government ::Chile

    conventional long form: Republic of Chile
    conventional short form: Chile
    local long form: Republica de Chile
    local short form: Chile
    name: Santiago
    geographic coordinates: 33 27 S, 70 40 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, under a new pilot program begins second Sunday in September; ends fourth Sunday in April
    note: Valparaiso is the seat of the national legislature
    15 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Arica y Parinacota, Atacama, Biobio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Los Rios, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca, Valparaiso
    note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
    18 September 1810 (from Spain)
    Independence Day, 18 September (1810)
    11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended several times
    civil law system influenced by several West European civil legal systems; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Tribunal
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal and voluntary
    chief of state: President Sebastian PINERA Echenique (since 11 March 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Sebastian PINERA Echenique (since 11 March 2010)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held on 13 December 2009 with runoff election held on 17 January 2010 (next to be held 17 November 2013)
    election results: Sebastian PINERA Echenique elected president; percent of vote - Sebastian PINERA Echenique 51.6%; Eduardo FREI 48.4%
    bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (38 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve eight-year terms; one-half elected every four years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 13 December 2009 (next to be held in November 2013); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 13 December 2009 (next to be held in November 2013)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPD 9 (PDC 4, PPD 3, PS 2), APC 9 (RN 6, UDI 3); Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 58 (UDI 37, RN 18, other 3), CPD 57 (PDC 19, PPD 18, PS 11, PRSD 5, PC 3, other 1), PRI 3, independent 2; note - as of 19 February 2013, the composition of the entire legislature is as follows: Senate - seats by party - CPD 19 (PDC 9, PPD 4, PS 5, PRSD 1), Coalition for Change (former APC) 16 (RN 8, UDI 8), independent 2, MAS 1; Chamber of Deputies - seats by party - Coalition for Change (former APC) 56 (UDI 39, RN 17), CPD 53 (PDC 19, PPD 18, PS 11, PRSD 5), independent 5, PC 3, PRI 2, IC 1
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (consists of a court president and 20 members or ministros); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 members); Electoral Court (consists of 5 members)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate from lists of candidates provided by the court itself; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 70; Constitutional Court members appointed - 3 by the Supreme Court, 1 by the president of the republic, 2 by the National Security Council, and 1 by the Senate; members serve 8-year terms with partial court replacement every 4 years (the court reviews constitutionality of legislation); Electoral Court member appointments - 4 by the Supreme Court and 1 a former president or vice-president of the Senate or Chamber of Deputies selected by the Supreme Court; member term NA
    subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; oral criminal tribunals; military tribunals; local police courts; specialized tribunals and courts in matters such as family, labor, customs, taxes, and electoral affairs
    Broad Social Movement or MAS [Alejandro NAVARRO Brain]
    Citizen Left or IC
    Equality Party [Lautaro GUANCA Vallejos]
    Coalition for Change or CC (also known as the Alliance for Chile (Alianza) or APC) (including National Renewal or RN [Carlos LARRAIN Pena], and Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Patricio MELERO]
    Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertacion) or CPD (including Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Ignacio WALKER Prieto], Party for Democracy or PPD [Jaime Daniel QUINTANA Leal], Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Jose Antonio GOMEZ Urrutia], and Socialist Party or PS [Osvaldo ANDRADE Lara])
    Communist Party of Chile (Partido Comunista de Chile) or PC [Guillermo TEILLIER del Valle]
    Ecological Green Party [Cristian VILLAROEL Novoa]
    Humanist Party or PH [Danilo MONTEVERDE Reyes]
    Independent Regionalist Party or PRI [Carlos OLIVARES Zepeda]
    Progressive Party or PRO [Marco ENRIQUEZ-OMINAMI Gumucio]
    Roman Catholic Church, particularly conservative groups such as Opus Dei
    United Labor Central or CUT includes trade unionists from the country's five largest labor confederations
    other: university student federations at all major universities
    APEC, BIS, BRICS, CAN (associate), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, MINUSTAH, NAM, OAS, OECD (Enhanced Engagement, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, SICA (observer), UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Felipe BULNES Serrano
    chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746
    FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
    chief of mission: Ambassador Alejandro D. WOLFF
    embassy: Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago
    mailing address: APO AA 34033
    telephone: [56] (2) 330-3000
    FAX: [56] (2) 330-3710, 330-3160
    two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red represents the blood spilled to achieve independence
    note: design was influenced by the US flag
    huemul (mountain deer); Andean condor
    name: "Himno Nacional de Chile" (National Anthem of Chile)

    lyrics/music: Eusebio LILLO Robles and Bernardo DE VERA y Pintado/Ramon CARNICER y Battle
    note: music adopted 1828, original lyrics adopted 1818, adapted lyrics adopted 1847; under Augusto PINOCHET"s military rule, a verse glorifying the army was added; however, as a protest, some citizens refused to sing this verse; it was removed when democracy was restored in 1990

Economy ::Chile

    Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade and a reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Exports account for approximately one-third of GDP, with commodities making up some three-quarters of total exports. Copper alone provides 19% of government revenue. From 2003 through 2012, real growth averaged almost 5% per year, despite the slight contraction in 2009 that resulted from the global financial crisis. Chile deepened its longstanding commitment to trade liberalization with the signing of a free trade agreement with the US, which took effect on 1 January 2004. Chile has 22 trade agreements covering 60 countries including agreements with the European Union, Mercosur, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. Chile has joined the United States and nine other countries in negotiating the Trans-Pacific-Partnership trade agreement. In 2012, foreign direct investment inflows reached $28.2 billion, an increase of 63% over the previous record set in 2011. The Chilean Government has generally followed a countercyclical fiscal policy, accumulating surpluses in sovereign wealth funds during periods of high copper prices and economic growth, and generally allowing deficit spending only during periods of low copper prices and growth. As of 31 December 2012, those sovereign wealth funds - kept mostly outside the country and separate from Central Bank reserves - amounted to more than $20.9 billion. Chile used these funds to finance fiscal stimulus packages during the 2009 economic downturn. In May 2010 Chile signed the OECD Convention, becoming the first South American country to join the OECD.
    $325.8 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    $308.9 billion (2011 est.)
    $291.7 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $268.2 billion (2012 est.)
    5.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    5.9% (2011 est.)
    5.8% (2010 est.)
    $18,700 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    $17,900 (2011 est.)
    $17,100 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    21.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    22.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
    23.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 62.5%
    government consumption: 12.1%
    investment in fixed capital: 24.1%
    investment in inventories: 0.8%
    exports of goods and services: 34.2%
    imports of goods and services: -33.9%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 3.6%
    industry: 36%
    services: 60.4% (2012 est.)
    grapes, apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans; beef, poultry, wool; fish; timber
    copper, lithium, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles
    4.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    8.231 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    agriculture: 13.2%
    industry: 23%
    services: 63.9% (2005)
    6.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    6.6% (2011 est.)
    15.1% (2009 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.5%
    highest 10%: 42.8% (2009 est.)
    52.1 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    57.1 (2000)
    revenues: $58.81 billion
    expenditures: $57.38 billion (2012 est.)
    21.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    0.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    11.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    11.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    3.3% (2011 est.)
    3.12% (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    0.5% (31 December 2009 est.)
    10.06% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    9.03% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $40.95 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    $34.54 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $193.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    $191.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $202.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    $164.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $270.3 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    $341.6 billion (31 December 2010)
    $209.5 billion (31 December 2009)
    -$9.769 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    -$3.387 billion (2011 est.)
    $78.28 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    $81.46 billion (2011 est.)
    copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine
    China 23.9%, US 12.2%, Japan 10.6%, South Korea 5.8%, Brazil 5.5% (2012)
    $74.86 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    $70.91 billion (2011 est.)
    petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, natural gas
    US 21.9%, China 18.2%, Argentina 6.7%, Brazil 6.5% (2012)
    $41.65 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    $41.94 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $104.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    $96.24 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $192.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    $162.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $91.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    $70.21 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Chilean pesos (CLP) per US dollar -
    486.49 (2012 est.)
    483.67 (2011 est.)
    510.25 (2010 est.)
    560.86 (2009)
    509.02 (2008)

Energy ::Chile

Communications ::Chile

    3.366 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    22.4 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    general assessment: privatization began in 1988; most advanced telecommunications infrastructure in South America; modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations
    domestic: number of fixed-line connections have stagnated in recent years as mobile-cellular usage continues to increase, reaching 130 telephones per 100 persons
    international: country code - 56; landing points for the Pan American, South America-1, and South American Crossing/Latin America Nautilus submarine cables providing links to the US and to Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
    national and local terrestrial TV channels, coupled with extensive cable TV networks; the state-owned Television Nacional de Chile (TVN) network is self financed through commercial advertising revenues and is not under direct government control; large number of privately owned TV stations; about 250 radio stations (2007)
    2.152 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    7.009 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 39

Transportation ::Chile

    481 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    total: 90
    over 3,047 m: 5
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
    914 to 1,523 m: 31
    under 914 m: 24 (2013)
    total: 391
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
    914 to 1,523 m: 56
    under 914 m:
    319 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    gas 3,160 km; liquid petroleum gas 781 km; oil 985 km; refined products 722 km (2013)
    total: 7,082 km
    country comparison to the world: 28
    broad gauge: 3,435 km 1.676-m gauge (850 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 3,647 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
    total: 77,764 km
    country comparison to the world: 62
    paved: 18,119 km (includes 2,387 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 59,645 km (2010)
    total: 42
    country comparison to the world: 74
    by type: bulk carrier 13, cargo 5, chemical tanker 7, container 2, liquefied gas 1, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 8, roll on/roll off 1
    foreign-owned: 1 (Norway 1)
    registered in other countries: 52 (Argentina 6, Brazil 1, Honduras 1, Isle of Man 9, Liberia 9, Panama 14, Peru 6, Singapore 6) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Coronel, Huasco, Lirquen, Puerto Ventanas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Valparaiso

Military ::Chile

Transnational Issues ::Chile

    Chile and Peru rebuff Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, but Chile has offered instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile to Bolivian natural gas; Chile rejects Peru's unilateral legislation to change its latitudinal maritime boundary with Chile to an equidistance line with a southwestern axis favoring Peru; in October 2007, Peru took its maritime complaint with Chile to the ICJ; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims; the joint boundary commission, established by Chile and Argentina in 2001, has yet to map and demarcate the delimited boundary in the inhospitable Andean Southern Ice Field (Campo de Hielo Sur)
    transshipment country for cocaine destined for Europe and the region; some money laundering activity, especially through the Iquique Free Trade Zone; imported precursors passed on to Bolivia; domestic cocaine consumption is rising, making Chile a significant consumer of cocaine (2008)