|Regions with significant populations|
|New York Metro Area, Northern New Jersey, Metropolitan Miami, Greater Los Angeles, Washington Metro Area|
|Spanish, American English|
|Roman Catholicism (predominantly), Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Judaism,|
|Related ethnic groups|
|other Hispanic and Latino Americans, Spaniards, other Europeans, others|
The Chilean population at the 2010 US Census was 126,810. In the United States, Chileans are the fourth smallest Hispanic group from South America and the fifth smallest overall amongst all Hispanic groups. Chilean Americans live mainly in the New York Metropolitan Area, South Florida, Los Angeles County, and the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, with high population concentrations found in Queens in New York City; Northern New Jersey; Miami, Florida; and Nassau County, New York. Most Chileans migrating to the United States settle in or around cities. In recent history, it is for economic or academic rather than political reasons that Chileans emigrate.
Chileans and other South Americans have been present in the state of California since the 1850s gold rush. Not all Chileans made it to the gold fields. Some remained in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Stockton where they frequently worked as bricklayers, bakers, or seamen. Some with capital established themselves in various businesses, particularly the importation of flour and mining equipment from Chile. In the cities most tended to congregate and live in specific areas in the poorer sections of town. In the gold fields they lived in separate camp sites. In the summer of 1849 Chileans constituted the major element in the population of Sonora. Chileans frequently worked their mines as group efforts. When the placer gold ran out around Sonora the Chileans were some of the first miners in California to extract gold from quartz. Historical remnants of those settlements influenced the names of locations such as Chileno Valley in Marin County, Chili Gulch in Calaveras and Chili Bar in Placer which was named after Chilean road builders. Names of Chilean towns and places are often found in the names of streets in Northern California: Valparaiso, Santiago, and Calera.
Many of the San Francisco streets carry names of former residents of Chile: Atherton, Ellis, Lick, Larkin, and others. Chilean women also left their names: Mina and Clementina. Manuel Briseño, an early journalist in the mines was one of the founders of the San Diego Union. Juan Evangelista Reyes was a Sacramento pioneer as were the Luco brothers. Luis Felipe Ramírez was one of the City Fathers in Marysville. The Leiva family owned at one time, much of the land in Marin County, including Fort Ross. In 1975, Chilean exiles of the Agusto Pinochet dictatorship established La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, California, which is to this day the largest Chilean cultural center in the United States.
Chileans integrated quickly and like their "Little Chiles," becoming part of the mainstream of the United States. Chilean Americans have achieved many skills as entrepreneurs, judges, congressmen, and others.
Motives of immigration
Most Chilean immigration to the U.S. has occurred largely within the last 25 years. For the most part, Chileans left as either political asylees and refugees during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, or for economic reasons. Also, there have been others that have emigrated to seek higher education and career development opportunities. Since the 2010 Chile earthquake, many Chileans have pursued economic opportunities in the United States, with Paterson, New Jersey, representing an increasingly common destination.
Many of the Pinochet-era immigrants were of middle or upper class origin. A significant proportion of them arrived with advanced educations and well-developed skills. They had contacts with other Chilean exiles and a sense of identity from their shared commitment to a democratic Chile. After a period of adjustment, many of them were able to pursue skilled jobs or professions. Unfortunately, others, who lacked skills or whose professional certifications were not recognized in the United States, were forced to take low-level jobs in which they were unable to use their skills. Some had been politically active students or union leaders in Chile who did not enter the United States with easily transferable skills.
The second major arrival into the United States was mainly for economic or academic opportunities. Yet, in general, acquiring a U.S. Visa requires the applicant to have a stable economic background, so most Chileans emigrating to the United States since 1990 have done so mostly for study purposes or to further their academic backgrounds.
Population by state
The 10 US states with the largest population of Chilean Americans are:
- California – 24,006
- Florida – 23,549
- New York – 15,050
- New Jersey – 8,100
- Texas – 6,282
- Virginia – 4,195
- Maryland – 4,146
- Utah – 3,364
- Massachusetts – 3,045
- Illinois – 2,753
Population by urban agglomeration
The largest populations of Chilean Americans are situated in the following urban areas:
- New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA – 20,688
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA – 17,161
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA MSA – 10,471
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA – 6,963
- San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA – 4,000
- Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA – 2,622
- Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA – 2,570
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA – 2,454
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA – 2,066
- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL MSA – 1,884
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA MSA – 1,779
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA – 1,776
- San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA – 1,730
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA – 1,686
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA – 1,505
- Salt Lake City, UT MSA – 1,463
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA – 1,397
- Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA – 1,376
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA – 1,215
- Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ MSA – 1,211
Population by city proper
- New York, NY – 7,026
- Los Angeles, CA – 4,112
- Miami, FL – 1,427
- Houston, TX – 934
- San Diego, CA and Chicago, IL – 876
- San Francisco, CA – 754
- Miami Beach, FL – 739
- Washington, DC – 697
- San Jose, CA – 632
- Doral, FL – 622
- Kendall, FL – 613
- Hialeah, FL – 602
- The Hammocks, FL – 564
- Pembroke Pines, FL – 558
- Fontainebleau, FL – 549
- Hollywood, FL – 542
- Kendale Lakes, FL – 469
- Las Vegas, NV – 467
- Boston, MA – 405
- San Antonio, TX – 374
- Union City, NJ – 372
- Charlotte, NC – 368
- Philadelphia, PA – 357
- Coral Springs, FL – 342
- Miramar, FL and Austin, TX – 340
Population by percentage
US communities with the highest percentages of Chileans as a percent of total population: (Source: Census 2010)
- Brookeville, MD – 3.73%
- Manorhaven, NY – 3.57%
- Oyster Bay, NY – 2.67%
- Warm Springs, VA – 1.63%
- Dover, NJ – 1.55%
- Key Biscayne, FL – 1.50%
- Sleepy Hollow, NY – 1.48%
- Forest Home, NY – 1.40%
- Doral, FL – 1.36%
- Victory Gardens, NJ – 1.32%
- Wharton, NJ – 1.27%
- The Crossings, FL – 1.18%
- The Hammocks, FL – 1.11%
- Inwood, NY – 1.10%
- North Lynbrook, NY – 1.01%
Notable Chilean Americans
- Fernando Alegria – Stanford professor.
- Isabel Allende, Chilean writer.
- Fernando Alvarez, famed jockey.
- Marjorie Agosín – poet, essayist, fiction writer, activist, and professor.
- Tom Araya of the popular thrash metal band Slayer was born in Chile.
- Claudio Arrau, pianist.
- Felipe Bazar, US Navy hero.
- Nico Bodonczy – retired Chilean-born American association football player
- Santiago Cabrera – actor (Heroes).
- Charissa Chamorro – Actress (Guiding Light, One Life to Live)
- Diaz Brothers - Chilean born American musisian
- Daniella Monet – Actress from Victorious
- Elizabeth Schall – female American singer, songwriter and guitarist
- Gordon Matta-Clark – (1943–1978) artist
- Marsia Alexander-Clarke – American video installation artist
- Beto Cuevas – Singer
- Cote de Pablo – Actress, singer and musical theater actress better known for playing Ziva David in NCIS.
- Patricia Demick – Boxer.
- Ruperto Donoso – Famed jockey.
- Ariel Dorfman – Educator, activist, and author.
- Juan Downey - Artist.
- Frank J. Duarte, laser physicist and author.
- Matias Duarte, inventor.
- Sebastian Edwards – Academic and Economist.
- Julio M. Fernandez, biologist.
- Pablo Francisco – Comedian.
- Gabriella Fox – American pornographic actress
- Alberto Fuguet, writer and film director.
- Thelma Furness, Viscountess Furness – mistress of King Edward VIII
- Jorge Garcia – actor (Lost) .
- Lisa Guerrero – Sportscaster and actress.
- Alfredo Jaar – Chilean-born artist, architect, and filmmaker
- Julian, pornographic actor.
- Fareed Haque – fusion guitar virtuoso
- Paulina Kernberg – (1935–2006) child psychiatrist, an authority on personality disorders, and a professor at Cornell University.
- Mario Kreutzberger AKA, Don Francisco, of US Latino TV fame.
- Gonzalo Lira, cinematographer.
- Olivia O'Lovely – former American pornographic actress
- Los Abandoned, Chilean American rock band from Van Nuys, California (Los Angeles).
- Roberto Matta – surreal painter
- Claudio Miranda, novelist and filmmaker.
- Gabriela Mistral, Nobel laureate, was a resident in New York state.
- Felicia Montealegre – (1922–1978) stage and television actress
- Joaquin Murrieta – (1829–1853) famous outlaw
- Frank Pando – actor
- Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Chilean American reality television personality.
- Jose Quiroga- cardiologist
- Horatio Sanz – Comedian of the comedy program Saturday Night Live.
- Steve Thurston – journalist, entrepreneur, and co-founder, CEO and president of Integrity Ministries.
- Mercedes Valdivieso, Chilean writer and Rice University professor.
- Arturo Valenzuela – Academic.
- Francisca Valenzuela, Chilean poet, singer, songwriter, and pianist.
- Leonor Varela – Actress.
- Academic Andres Velasco.
- Alexander Witt – Director.
- Hector Salgado (Human Rights Activist, Filmmaker, and Musician).
- Jackass actor Jason "Wee-Man" Acuña.
- Singer Benny Mardones whose father came to the US from Chile.
Of the 857,781 Chilean expatriates around the globe, 13.3% (114,084) live in the United States, 50.1% reside in Argentina, 8.8% in Brazil, 4.9% in Sweden, and around 2% in Australia, with the remaining 20% being scattered in smaller numbers across the globe, particularly the countries of the European Union.
- US Census Bureau 2012 American Community Survey B03001 1-Year Estimates HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY SPECIFIC ORIGIN retrieved September 20, 2013
- Chileans in California
- Consulado General de Chile en San Francisco, California, EEUU
- American River Rafting – Information, Descriptions, Resources and Conservation W.E.T. River Trips
- Articles: Chilenos in the California Gold Rush, 1848–49 – Historical Text Archive
- Chilean Americans
- (Spanish) http://www.gobiernodechile.cl/chilenos_exterior/registro_chilenos_exterior.pdf
- Chile.com.Radiografía a los Chilenos en el Mundo
- (Spanish) http://www.lanacion.cl/prontus_noticias/site/artic/20050816/pags/20050816125322.html
- Historical Text Archive History of Chileans and the California Gold Rush
- Rosales and the Chilean miners in California PBS American Experience the Gold Rush
- Cámara Chileno Norteamericana de Comercio (AMCHAM) Chilean American Chamber of Commerce
- The Avalon Project (Yale Law School) Chilean Diplomacy
- La Peña Cultural Center a major Chilean community and political activism center in Berkeley, California