Satellite view of the Puyehue-Cordon Volcano Complex on 13 June 2011 - the 10th day of the eruption - shows a very large blanket of ash deposited onto the Pampas of Argentina. Photo courtesy of NASA.
Country Flag
Country Map
Special Country Products
Locator Map

Introduction

Background

Indigenous groups inhabited central and southern Chile for several thousands of years, living in mixed pastoralist and settled communities, ending with the Inka ruling the north of the country for nearly a century prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. The Captaincy General of Chile was founded by the Spanish in 1541, lasting until Chile declared its independence in 1810. The subsequent struggle became tied to other South American independence conflicts, with a decisive victory over the Spanish not being achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia to win its current northernmost regions. By the 1880s, the Chilean central government cemented its control over the central and southern regions inhabited by Mapuche Indigenous peoples. Between 1891 and 1973, a series of elected governments succeeded each other until the three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE was overthrown in 1973 by a military coup led by General Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a democratically-elected president was inaugurated in 1990. Economic reforms, maintained consistently since the 1980s, contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and 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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru

Geographic coordinates

30 00 S, 71 00 W

Map references

South America

Area

total: 756,102 sq km

land: 743,812 sq km

water: 12,290 sq km

note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez

country comparison to the world: 44

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana

<p>slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana</p>

Land boundaries

total: 7,801 km

border countries (3): Argentina 6,691 km; Bolivia 942 km; Peru 168 km

Coastline

6,435 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200/350 nm

Climate

temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south

Terrain

low coastal mountains, fertile central valley, rugged Andes in east

Elevation

highest point: Nevado Ojos del Salado 6,893 m (highest volcano in the world)

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 1,871 m

Natural resources

copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 21.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 18.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 21.9% (2018 est.)

other: 57% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

11,100 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lago General Carrera (shared with Argentina) - 2,240 sq km; Lago O'Higgins (shared with Argentina) - 1,010 sq km; Lago Llanquihue - 800 sq km; Lago Fagnano (shared with Argentina) - 590 sq km

Population distribution

90% of the population is located in the middle third of the country around the capital of Santiago; the far north (anchored by the Atacama Desert) and the extreme south are relatively underpopulated

Natural hazards

severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis

volcanism: significant volcanic activity due to more than three-dozen active volcanoes along the Andes Mountains; Lascar (5,592 m), which last erupted in 2007, is the most active volcano in the northern Chilean Andes; Llaima (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, Calbuco, Copahue, Guallatiri, Llullaillaco, Nevados de Chillan, Puyehue, San Pedro, and Villarrica; see note 2 under "Geography - note"

Geography - note

note 1: the longest north-south trending country in the world, extending across 39 degrees of latitude; strategic location relative to sea lanes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage)

note 2: Chile is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: the Atacama Desert - the driest desert in the world - spreads across the northern part of the country; Ojos del Salado (6,893 m) in the Atacama Desert is the highest active volcano in the world, Chile's tallest mountain, and the second highest in the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere - its small crater lake (at 6,390 m) is the world's highest lake

Map description

Chile map showing major cities as well as parts of surrounding countries and the South Pacific Ocean.

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Chilean(s)

adjective: Chilean

Ethnic groups

White and non-Indigenous 88.9%, Mapuche 9.1%, Aymara 0.7%, other Indigenous groups 1% (includes Rapa Nui, Likan Antai, Quechua, Colla, Diaguita, Kawesqar, Yagan or Yamana), unspecified 0.3% (2012 est.)

Languages

Spanish 99.5% (official), English 10.2%, Indigenous 1% (includes Mapudungun, Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui), other 2.3%, unspecified 0.2%; note - shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2012 est.)

major-language sample(s):
La Libreta Informativa del Mundo, la fuente indispensable de información básica. (Spanish)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Spanish audio sample:

Religions

Roman Catholic 60%, Evangelical 18%, atheist or agnostic 4%, none 17% (2018 est.)

Demographic profile

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.

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.79% (male 1,836,240/female 1,763,124)

15-24 years: 13.84% (male 1,283,710/female 1,233,238)

25-54 years: 42.58% (male 3,882,405/female 3,860,700)

55-64 years: 11.98% (male 1,034,049/female 1,145,022)

65 years and over: 11.81% (2020 est.) (male 902,392/female 1,245,890)

This is the population pyramid for Chile. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.9

youth dependency ratio: 28.1

elderly dependency ratio: 17.9

potential support ratio: 5.6 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 35.5 years

male: 34.3 years

female: 36.7 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

Birth rate

12.75 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Death rate

6.52 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 136

Net migration rate

0.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

Population distribution

90% of the population is located in the middle third of the country around the capital of Santiago; the far north (anchored by the Atacama Desert) and the extreme south are relatively underpopulated

Urbanization

urban population: 87.9% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 0.78% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

6.857 million SANTIAGO (capital), 1.000 million Valparaiso, 902,000 Concepcion (2022)

Sex ratio

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: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.56 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

13 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

Infant mortality rate

total: 6.55 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 7.12 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 5.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.79 years

male: 76.8 years

female: 82.92 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

2.84 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

(2018) <1000

Tobacco use

total: 29.2% (2020 est.)

male: 31.6% (2020 est.)

female: 26.8% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 34

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.4%

male: 96.3%

female: 96.3% (2017)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 17 years

male: 17 years

female: 17 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 24.9%

male: 23.7%

female: 26.6% (2020 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; noise pollution; improper garbage disposal; soil degradation; widespread deforestation and mining threaten the environment; wildlife conservation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 21.03 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 85.82 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 15.97 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south

Land use

agricultural land: 21.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 18.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 21.9% (2018 est.)

other: 57% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 87.9% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 0.78% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 6.517 million tons (2009 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 24,113 tons (2009 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 0.4% (2009 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lago General Carrera (shared with Argentina) - 2,240 sq km; Lago O'Higgins (shared with Argentina) - 1,010 sq km; Lago Llanquihue - 800 sq km; Lago Fagnano (shared with Argentina) - 590 sq km

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 1.267 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 4.744 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 29.42 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

923.06 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Chile

conventional short form: Chile

local long form: Republica de Chile

local short form: Chile

etymology: derivation of the name is unclear, but it may come from the Mapuche word "chilli" meaning "limit of the earth" or from the Quechua "chiri" meaning "cold"

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Santiago; note - Valparaiso is the seat of the national legislature

geographic coordinates: 33 27 S, 70 40 W

time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in August; ends second Sunday in May; note - Punta Arenas observes DST throughout the year

time zone note: Chile has three time zones: the continental portion at UTC-3; the southern Magallanes region, which does not use daylight savings time and remains at UTC-3 for the summer months; and Easter Island at UTC-5


etymology: Santiago is named after the biblical figure Saint James (ca. A.D. 3-44), patron saint of Spain, but especially revered in Galicia; "Santiago" derives from the local Galician evolution of the Vulgar Latin "Sanctu Iacobu"; Valparaiso derives from the Spanish "Valle Paraiso" meaning "Paradise Valley"

Administrative divisions

16 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aysen, Antofagasta, Araucania, Arica y Parinacota, Atacama, Biobio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Los Rios, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena (Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica), Maule, Nuble, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca, Valparaiso

note: the US does not recognize any claims to Antarctica

Independence

18 September 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 18 September (1810)

Constitution

history: many previous; latest adopted 11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; a referendum held on 25 October 2020 approved forming a convention to draft a new constitution, and on 15-16 May 2021, a referendum was held to elect members to the convention; the convention will finalize in July 2022, and Chileans will vote on the new constitution in a 4 September referendum 

amendments: proposed by members of either house of the National Congress or by the president of the republic; passage requires at least three-fifths majority vote of the membership in both houses and approval by the president; passage of amendments to constitutional articles, such as the republican form of government, basic rights and freedoms, the Constitutional Tribunal, electoral justice, the Council of National Security, or the constitutional amendment process, requires at least two-third majority vote by both houses of Congress and approval by the president; the president can opt to hold a referendum when Congress and the president disagree on an amendment; amended many times, last in 2020

Legal system

civil law system influenced by several West European civil legal systems; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Tribunal

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Gabriel BORIC (since 11 March 2022); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Gabriel BORIC (since 11 March 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a single 4-year term; election last held on 21 November 2021 with a runoff held on 19 December 2021 (next to be held on 23 November 2025 with runoff if needed on 20 December)

election results:
2021: Gabriel BORIC elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Jose Antonio KAST (FSC) 27.9%; Gabriel BORIC (AD) 25.8%; Franco PARISI (PDG) 12.8%; Sebastian SICHEL (ChP+) 12.8%; Yasna PROVOSTE (New Social Pact) 11.6%; other 9.1%; percent of vote in second round - Gabriel BORIC (AD) 55.9%; Jose Antonio KAST (FSC) 44.1%

2017:
 Sebastian PINERA Echenique elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Sebastian PINERA Echenique (independent) 36.6%; Alejandro GUILLIER (independent) 22.7%; Beatriz SANCHEZ (independent) 20.3%; Jose Antonio KAST (independent) 7.9%; Carolina GOIC (PDC) 5.9%; Marco ENRIQUEZ-OMINAMI (PRO) 5.7%; other 0.9%; percent of vote in second round - Sebastian PINERA Echenique 54.6%, Alejandro GUILLIER 45.4%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of:
Senate or Senado (50 seats); members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by open party-list proportional representation vote to serve 8-year terms with one-half of the membership renewed every 4 years)
Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (155 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by open party-list proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections:
Senate - last held on 21 November 2021 (next to be held on 23 November 2025)
Chamber of Deputies - last held on 21 November 2021 (next to be held on 23 November 2025)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ChP+ 12 (RN 5, UDI 5, EVOPOLI 2), NPS 8 (PS 4, PPD 2, PDC 2), PLR 1, AD 4 (PCCh 2, FREVS 2) independent 2; note - total composition of the Senate as of 1 May 2022: seats by party - ChP+ 24 (RN 12, UDI 9, EVOPOLI 3), NPS 18 (PS 7, PPD 6, PDC 5), AD 6 (PCCh 2, FREVS 2, RD 2), PLR 1, independent 1; composition - men 38, women 12, percent of women 24%

Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ChP+ 53 (RN 25, UDI 23, EVOPOLI 4, PRI 1), AD 37 (PCCh 12, CS 9, RD 8, Commons 6, FREVS 2), NPS 37 (PS 13, PDC 8, PPD 7, PL 4, PRSD 4, CIU 1), FSC 15 (PLR 14, PCC 1), PDG 6, PH 3, PEV 2, IU 1, independent 1; composition - men 100, women 55, percent of women 35.5%; note - overall National Congress percent of women 32.7%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (consists of a court president and 20 members or ministros); Constitutional Court (consists of 10 members and is independent of the rest of the judiciary); Elections Qualifying Court (consists of 5 members)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges (ministers) appointed by the president of the republic 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, 3 by the president of the republic, 2 by the Chamber of Deputies, and 2 by the Senate; members serve 9-year terms with partial membership replacement every 3 years (the court reviews constitutionality of legislation); Elections Qualifying Court members appointed by lottery - 1 by the former president or vice president of the Senate and 1 by the former president or vice president of the Chamber of Deputies, 2 by the Supreme Court, and 1 by the Appellate Court of Valparaiso; members appointed for 4-year terms

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

Political parties and leaders

Approve Dignity (Apruebo Dignidad) coalition or AD  - (includes PC, FA, and FREVS) [Gabriel BORIC]
Broad Front Coalition (Frente Amplio) or FA (includes RD, CS, and Comunes) [Gonzalo WINTER]
Broad Social Movement of Leftist Citizens (includes former MAS and Izquierda Ciudadana) [Fernando ZAMORANO]
Chile We Can Do More or ChP+ [Sebastian SICHEL] (coalition includes EVOPOLI, PRI, RN, UDI)
Christian Conservative Party or PCC [Antaris VARELA]
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Carmen FREI Ruiz-Tagle]
Christian Social Front or FSC [Jose Antonio KAST] (includes PCC, PLR)
Citizens or CIU [María Ignacia GOMEZ Martinez]
Commons (Comunes) [Jorge RAMIREZ]
Communist Party of Chile or PCCh [Guillermo TEILLIER del Valle]
Democratic Revolution or RD [Margarita PORTUGUEZ]
Green Ecological Party or PEV [Felix GONZALEZ]
Humanist Party or PH [Octavio GONZALEZ]
Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Javier MACAYA]
Independent Regionalist Democratic Party or PRI [Hugo ORTIZ de Filippi]
Liberal Party (Partido Liberal de Chile) or PL [Patricio MORALES]
National Renewal or RN [Francisco CHAHUAN]
New Social Pact or NPS [Yasna PROVOSTE] (includes PDC, PL, PPD, PRSD, PS)
Party for Democracy or PPD [Natalia PERGIENTILI Domenech]
Party of the People or PDG [Luis MORENO]
Political Evolution or EVOPOLI [Andres MOLINA]
Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Carlos MALDONADO Curti]
Republican Party or PLR [Rojo EDWARDS]
Social Convergence or CS [Alondra ARELLANO]
Social Green Regionalist Federation or FREVS [Jaime Francisco MULET Martinez]
Socialist Party or PS [Alvaro Antonio ELIZALDE Soto]
United Independents or IU [Cristian Alejandro CONTRERAS Radovic]

International organization participation

APEC, BIS, CAN (associate), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, 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, Pacific Alliance, PCA, PROSUR, SICA (observer), UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Beatriz DE LA FUENTE FUENTES (since 8 March 2022)

chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746

FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579

email address and website:
echile.eeuu@minrel.gob.cl

https://chile.gob.cl/estados-unidos/en/

consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Richard H. GLENN (since August 2020)

embassy: Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago

mailing address: 3460 Santiago Place, Washington DC  20521-3460

telephone: [56] (2) 2330-3000

FAX: [56] (2) 2330-3710

email address and website:
SantiagoUSA@state.gov

https://cl.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

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 influenced by the US flag

National symbol(s)

huemul (mountain deer), Andean condor; national colors: red, white, blue

National anthem

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 7 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Rapa Nui National Park; Churches of Chiloe; Historic Valparaiso; Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works; Sewell Mining Town; Qhapaq Ñan/Andean Road System; Chinchorro archeological sites

Economy

Economic overview

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 of goods and services account for approximately one-third of GDP, with commodities making up some 60% of total exports. Copper is Chile’s top export and provides 20% of government revenue.

 

From 2003 through 2013, real growth averaged almost 5% per year, despite a slight contraction in 2009 that resulted from the global financial crisis. Growth slowed to an estimated 1.4% in 2017. A continued drop in copper prices prompted Chile to experience its third consecutive year of slow growth.

 

Chile deepened its longstanding commitment to trade liberalization with the signing of a free trade agreement with the US, effective 1 January 2004. Chile has 26 trade agreements covering 60 countries including agreements with the EU, Mercosur, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. In May 2010, Chile signed the OECD Convention, becoming the first South American country to join the OECD. In October 2015, Chile signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which was finalized as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and signed at a ceremony in Chile in March 2018.

 

The Chilean Government has generally followed a countercyclical fiscal policy, under which it accumulates surpluses in sovereign wealth funds during periods of high copper prices and economic growth, and generally allows deficit spending only during periods of low copper prices and growth. As of 31 October 2016, those sovereign wealth funds - kept mostly outside the country and separate from Central Bank reserves - amounted to more than $23.5 billion. Chile used these funds to finance fiscal stimulus packages during the 2009 economic downturn.

 

In 2014, then-President Michelle BACHELET introduced tax reforms aimed at delivering her campaign promise to fight inequality and to provide access to education and health care. The reforms are expected to generate additional tax revenues equal to 3% of Chile’s GDP, mostly by increasing corporate tax rates to OECD averages.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$445.88 billion (2020 est.)

$473.19 billion (2019 est.)

$468.77 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 45

Real GDP growth rate

1.03% (2019 est.)

4% (2018 est.)

1.41% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Real GDP per capita

$23,300 (2020 est.)

$25,000 (2019 est.)

$25,000 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 81

GDP (official exchange rate)

$282.655 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.2% (2019 est.)

2.7% (2018 est.)

2.1% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A- (2020)

Moody's rating: A1 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: A+ (2017)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 32.8% (2017 est.)

services: 63% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 62.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 28.7% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -27% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

grapes, apples, wheat, sugar beet, milk, potatoes, tomatoes, maize, poultry, pork

Industries

copper, lithium, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 9.2%

industry: 23.7%

services: 67.1% (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 24.9%

male: 23.7%

female: 26.6% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.7%

highest 10%: 41.5% (2013 est.)

Budget

revenues: 57.75 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 65.38 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

23.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

21% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$10.933 billion (2019 est.)

-$10.601 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 193

Exports

$79.8 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$78.02 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$84.65 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 46

Exports - partners

China 32%, United States 14%, Japan 9%, South Korea 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

copper, wood pulp, fish fillets, pitted fruits, wine (2019)

Imports

$66.43 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$80.17 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$85.11 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 50

Imports - partners

China 24%, United States 20%, Brazil 8%, Germany 5%, Argentina 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, crude petroleum, cars, broadcasting equipment, delivery trucks (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$38.98 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$40.49 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Debt - external

$193.298 billion (2019 est.)

$181.089 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 39

Exchange rates

Chilean pesos (CLP) per US dollar -

738.81 (2020 est.)

770.705 (2019 est.)

674.25 (2018 est.)

658.93 (2014 est.)

570.37 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,567,938 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 50

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 25,068,249 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 131 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the market for fixed and mobile telephony is highly competitive and rapidly evolving; the mobile rate is among the highest in South America; Movistar and Entel remain the market leaders, followed by Claro and WOM; LTE infrastructure is extensive and 5G spectrum auctions which took place in February 2021 are expected to prompt the deployment of 5G networks by the end of the year, following extensive trials held by the MNOs; fixed broadband is relatively high for the region, with services among the fastest and least expensive in Latin America; government initiatives such as the National Fiber Optic project and Fibra Óptica Austral are providing high-capacity connectivity across the country and will further increase fixed-line broadband; there is a strong focus on fiber broadband, with the number of fiber subscribers having increased 61.7% in 2020, year-on-year; Movistar dominates the fiber broadband market, with a 49.7% market share at the end of 2020; technological improvements have allowed operators to provide a variety of services via their networks, giving rise to a number of bundled packages at competitive prices, including access to video on demand services which in turn is increasing fixed-line broadband; the leading fixed broadband operators are Telefónica Chile, trading as Movistar, VTR Globalcom (VTR), the GTD Group, Entel, Claro, and WOM; traditional fixed-line teledensity continues to fall as consumers switch to mobile networks and to fixed broadband for voice and data connectivity; Humboldt submarine cable project to link Chile with New Zealand and Australia; more than 8,300 schools receive free broadband as part of the ‘Connectivity for Education 2030’ project; regulator completes multi-band 5G spectrum auction, agrees to SpaceX providing its Starlink satellite broadband service (2021)

domestic: number of fixed-line connections have dropped to about 13 per 100 in recent years as mobile-cellular usage continues to increase, reaching 131 telephones per 100 persons; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations (2020)

international: country code - 56; landing points for the Pan-Am, Prat, SAm-1, American Movil-Telxius West Coast Cable, FOS Quellon-Chacabuco, Fibra Optical Austral, SAC and Curie submarine cables providing links to the US, Caribbean and to Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

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

Internet users

total: 16,822,264 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 88% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 3,763,826 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 20 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 9 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 173

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 19,517,185 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,226,440,000 (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

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 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

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 (2021)

Heliports

1 (2021)

Pipelines

3160 km gas, 781 km liquid petroleum gas, 985 km oil, 722 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 7,282 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 3,853.5 km (2014) 1.000-m gauge

broad gauge: 3,428 km (2014) 1.676-m gauge (1,691 km electrified)

country comparison to the world: 30

Merchant marine

total: 231

by type: bulk carrier 6, container ship 5, general cargo 58, oil tanker 14, other 148 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 64

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Coronel, Huasco, Lirquen, Puerto Ventanas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Valparaiso

container port(s) (TEUs): San Antonio (1,709,635), Valparaiso (898,715) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Mejillones, Quintero

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Chile (Fuerzas Armadas de Chile): Chilean Army (Ejército de Chile), Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile, includes marine units and coast guard or Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine Directorate (Directemar)), Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Chile, FACh); Ministry of the Interior and Public Security: Carabineros de Chile (National Police Force) (2022)

note - Carabineros de Chile are responsible to both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior

Military expenditures

2% of GDP (2021 est.)

2% of GDP (2020)

1.9% of GDP (2019) (approximately $7.33 billion)

1.9% of GDP (2018) (approximately $7.2 billion)

2% of GDP (2017) (approximately $7.1 billion)

country comparison to the world: 60

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 75,000 active armed forces personnel (45,000 Army; 20,000 Navy; 10,000 Air Force); approximately 50,000 Carabineros (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Chilean military inventory is comprised of a wide mix of mostly Western equipment and some domestically-produced systems; since 2010, it has received military hardware from nearly 15 countries with Germany and the US as the leading suppliers; Chile's defense industry has capabilities in military aircraft, ships, and vehicles (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; selective compulsory service (there are usually enough volunteers to make compulsory service unnecessary); service obligation is a minimum of 12 months for Army and 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2022)

note - as of 2021, women comprised approximately 18% of the armed forces

Military - note

the Chilean Army was founded in 1810, but traces its origins back to the Army of the Kingdom of Chile, which was established by the Spanish Crown in the early 1600s; the Navy traces its origins to 1817; it was first led by a British officer and its first ships were largely crewed by American, British, and Irish sailors; by the 1880s, the Chilean Navy was one of the most powerful in the Americas, and included the world’s first protected cruiser (a ship with an armored deck to protect vital machine spaces); Chile's military aviation was inaugurated in 1913 with the creation of a military aviation school (2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 448,138 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum or have received alternative legal stay) (2020)

Illicit drugs

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