Demographics of Chile
|Demographics of Chile|
Population pyramid of Chile, 2008
|Growth rate||0.9% (2010)|
|Birth rate||14.7 births/1,000 population (2010)|
|Death rate||5.7 deaths/1,000 population (2010)|
|Life expectancy||77.53 years|
|• male||74.26 years|
|• female||80.96 years (2010)|
|Fertility rate||1.89 children born/woman (2010)|
|Infant mortality rate||7.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2010)|
|0–14 years||23.2% (male 1,966,017/female 1,877,963)|
|15–64 years||67.8% (male 5,625,963/female 5,628,146)|
|65 and over||9.1% (male 627,746/female 875,872) (2010)|
|Total||0.98 male(s)/female (2010)|
|At birth||1.05 male(s)/female|
|Under 15||1.05 male(s)/female|
|15–64 years||1 male(s)/female|
|65 and over||0.72 male(s)/female|
|Major ethnic||European 70%|
|Minor ethnic||Mestizo 25% and Mapuche 4%, other indigenous groups 0.6% (2002 census)|
|Official||Spanish (de facto)|
Chile's 2002 census reported a population of 15,116,435 people. Its rate of population growth has been decreasing since 1990, due to a declining birth rate. By 2050 the population is expected to reach approximately 20.2 million people. About 85% of the country's population lives in urban areas, with 40% living in Greater Santiago. The largest agglomerations according to the 2002 census are Greater Santiago with 5.6 million people, Greater Concepción with 861,000 and Greater Valparaíso with 824,000.
According to the 2010 revison of the World Population Prospects the total population was 17,114,000 in 2010, compared to only 6,082,000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 22.1%, 68.6% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 9.3% was 65 years or older .
Chile is a multiethnic society In 2011, Chile had an estimated population of 17,500,000, of which approximately 9.1 million or 52.7% are of European descent, with mestizos estimated at 44%. Other studies found a white majority measured at 64% to 90% of the Chilean population. Chile's various waves of immigrants consisted Spanish, Italians, Irish, French, Greeks, Germans, English, Scots, Croats, and Palestinian arrivals.
European and, to a lesser extent, Middle Eastern emigration to Chile, chiefly during the second half of the 19th century and throughout the twentieth, was the most important in Latin America after emigrations to the Atlantic Coast of the Southern Cone (that is, to Argentina and southern Brazil).
The Afro-Chilean population has always been tiny, reaching a high of 2,500 people during the colonial period; their current percentage of the population is less than 0.1%. According to the 2002 Census, 4.6% of the Chilean population considered themselves indigenous.
The largest contingent of people to have arrived in post-independence Chile came from Spain and the Basque country, a region divided between northern Spain and southern France. Estimates of the number Chileans who can trace at least some descent from Basques range from 10% (1,600,000) to as high as 27% (4,500,000).
In 1848 an important and substantial German immigration took place, laying the foundation for the German-Chilean community. Sponsored by the Chilean government for the colonization of the southern region, the Germans (including German-speaking Swiss, Silesians, Alsatians and Austrians), strongly influenced the cultural and racial composition of the southern provinces of Chile. It is difficult to count the number of descendants of Germans in Chile, given the great amount of time. Because many areas of southern Chile were sparsely populated, the traces of German immigration that are quite noticeable. But the Consulate of Chile in Germany estimated that between 500,000 to 600,000 Chileans of German descent.
Other historically significant immigrant groups included Croats, whose descendants today are estimated at 380,000 persons, or 2.4% of the Chilean population Some authors claim that close to 4.6% of the Chilean population must have some Croatian ancestry. Over 700,000 Chileans (4.5% of the Chilean population) may have British (English, Scottish or Welsh) forebears. Chileans of Greek descent are estimated to number between 90,000 and 120,000; most live in or near either Santiago or Antofagasta, and Chile is one of the five countries in the world most populated with descendants of Greeks. The descendants of Swiss immigrants add 90,000, and it is estimated that about 5% of the Chilean population has some French ancestry. Between 600.000 to 800.000 Chileans descend from Italian immigrants. Other groups of Europeans have followed but are found in smaller numbers, as the descendants of Austrians and Dutchmen it is currently estimated at about 50,000. Altogether, these immigrants with their descendants, they have transformed the country culturally, economically and politically.
The 1907 census reported 101,118 Indians, or 3.1% of the total country population. Only those that practiced their native culture or spoke their native language were considered, irrespective of their "racial purity."
According to the 2002 census, only indigenous people that still practiced a native culture or spoke a native language were surveyed, and 4.6% of the population (692,192 people) fit that description. Of that 4.6%, 87.3% declared themselves Mapuche. Most of the indigenous population show varying degrees of mixed ancestry.
Chile is one of the twenty-two countries to have signed and ratified the only binding international law concerning indigenous peoples, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989. It was adopted in 1989 as the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169. Chile ratified the convention in 2008. In November 2009, a court decision in Chile, considered to be a landmark ruling in indigenous rights concerns, made use of the ILO convention 169. The Supreme Court decision on Aymara water rights upholds rulings by both the Pozo Almonte tribunal and the Iquique Court of Appeals, and marks the first judicial application of ILO Convention 169 in Chile.
|Those belonging to recognised indigenous communities (2002)|
Other ethnic groups
It is estimated that about 5% of the population (800,000) is descendant of Asian immigrants, chiefly from the Middle East (i.e. Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Middle East Armenians, see Arab Chileans). (This may include Israelis, both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of the nation of Israel.) Chile is also home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant. Roughly 500,000 Palestinian descendants are believed to reside in Chile.
In recent years, Chile has had a growing East Asian population, mainly from China (see Chinese Chilean), but also from Japan (see Japanese Chilean) and South Korea (see Koreans in Chile). The earliest wave of East Asian immigration took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly Chinese and Japanese contract laborers.
Chile administers Easter Island a territory 4,100 km west of the mainland. The Rapa Nui people are native to the island and are Polynesian in origin. About 3,500 live on the island, but around 10,000 came to the mainland in the 20th century.
There is a sizable population of Roma people in Chile. They are widely and easily recognized, and continue to hold on to their traditions and language, and many continue to live semi-nomadic lifestyles traveling from city to city and living in small tented communities.
Since the reestablishment of democracy in Chile, the former tendency for emigrants from the country to outnumber immigrants to it has reversed. Chile now is one of the two countries in Latin American with a positive migration rate.
Today, the principal immigrant groups correspond to the countries bordering Chile. Argentines constitute the largest group, followed by Peruvians. One of the main factors contributing to such immigration has been the growth of the Chilean economy during the past few decades. Immigration from other Latin American countries has also occurred.
According to the 2012 report of the International Organization for Migration, more than 50,000 people from the United States have emigrated to Chile. Most of these arrived in Chile initially to work for multinational corporations. Most possess professional degrees, and most are well situated economically.
The Spanish spoken in Chile is distinctively accented and quite unlike that of neighbouring South American countries because final syllables and "s" sounds are dropped, and some consonants have a soft pronunciation. Accent varies only very slightly from north to south; more noticeable are the small differences in accent based on social class or whether one lives in the city or the country. That the Chilean population was largely formed in a small section at the center of the country and then migrated in modest numbers to the north and south helps explain this relative lack of differentiation, which was maintained by the national reach of radio, and now television, which also helps to diffuse and homogenize colloquial expressions.
There are several indigenous languages spoken in Chile: Mapudungun, Quechua, Aymara and Rapa Nui. After the Spanish invasion, Spanish took over as the lingua franca and the indigenous languages have become minority languages, with some now extinct or close to extinction.
Through initiatives such as the English Opens Doors program, the government made English mandatory for students in fifth-grade and above in public schools. Most private schools in Chile start teaching English from kindergarten. Common English words have been absorbed and appropriated into everyday Spanish speech. Since 2010, all students from 3rd grade in secondary school have been tested on listening and reading comprehension for English language. The evaluation is compulsory and the instrument is TOIEC Bridge, developed by Educational Testing Service.
In the most recent census (2002), 70 percent of the population over age 14 identified as Roman Catholic and 15.1 percent as evangelical. In the census, the term "evangelical" referred to all non-Catholic Christian churches with the exception of the Orthodox Church (Greek, Persian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and Armenian), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Approximately 90 percent of evangelicals are Pentecostal. Wesleyan, Lutheran, Reformed Evangelical, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopalian, Baptist and Methodist churches are also present. Non-religious people, atheists and agnostics, account for around 8% of the population.
|Average population (x 1000)||Live births||Deaths||Natural change||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)||Total fertility rate|
|1985||12 047||261 978||73 534||188 444||21.7||6.1||15.6|
|1986||12 248||272 997||72 209||200 788||22.3||5.9||16.4|
|1987||12 454||279 762||70 559||209 203||22.5||5.7||16.8|
|1988||12 667||296 581||74 435||222 146||23.4||5.9||17.5|
|1989||12 883||303 798||75 453||228 345||23.6||5.9||17.7|
|1990||13 179||307 522||78 434||229 118||23.3||6.0||17.3|
|1991||13 422||299 456||74 862||224 594||22.3||5.6||16.7|
|1992||13 665||293 787||74 090||219 697||21.5||5.4||16.1||2.36|
|1993||13 908||290 438||76 261||214 177||20.9||5.5||15.4||2.32|
|1994||14 152||288 175||75 445||212 730||20.4||5.3||15.1||2.28|
|1995||14 395||279 928||78 517||201 411||19.4||5.5||13.9||2.20|
|1996||14 596||278 729||79 123||199 606||19.1||5.4||13.7||2.18|
|1997||14 796||273 641||78 472||195 169||18.5||5.3||13.2||2.13|
|1998||14 997||270 637||80 257||190 380||18.0||5.4||12.6||2.10|
|1999||15 197||263 867||81 984||181 883||17.4||5.4||12.0||2.04|
|2000||15 398||261 993||78 814||183 179||17.0||5.1||11.9||2.00|
|2001||15 572||259 069||81 871||177 198||16.6||5.3||11.3||1.98|
|2002||15 746||251 559||81 080||170 479||16.0||5.1||10.9||1.92|
|2003||15 919||246 827||83 672||163 155||15.5||5.3||10.2||1.87|
|2004||16 093||242 476||86 138||156 338||15.1||5.4||9.7||1.83|
|2005||16 267||242 980||86 102||156 878||14.9||5.3||9.6||1.82|
|2006||16 433||243 561||85 639||157 922||14.8||5.2||9.6||1.81|
|2007||16 598||242 054||93 000||149 054||14.6||5.6||9.0||1.87|
|2008||16 763||248 366||90 168||158 198||14.8||5.4||9.4||1.90|
|2009||16 929||253 584||91 965||161 619||15.0||5.4||9.6||1.92|
|2010||17 094||251 199||97 930||153 269||14.7||5.7||9.0||1,89|
1This estimate and those of previous years were made before the 2012 census results were known.
United Nations estimates
The Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. 
|1950-1955||232 000||87 000||145 000||36.1||13.5||22.6||4.95||120||54.9||52.9||56.8|
|1955-1960||280 000||96 000||184 000||38.9||13.2||25.6||5.49||118||56.2||53.8||58.7|
|1960-1965||307 000||99 000||208 000||37.7||12.2||25.4||5.44||109||58.1||55.3||61.0|
|1965-1970||285 000||94 000||191 000||31.3||10.3||20.9||4.44||89||60.8||57.7||63.9|
|1970-1975||273 000||88 000||185 000||27.3||8.8||18.4||3.63||69||63.7||60.6||67.0|
|1975-1980||248 000||79 000||169 000||22.9||7.4||15.6||2.80||45||67.4||64.0||70.8|
|1980-1985||272 000||74 000||198 000||23.3||6.4||17.0||2.67||24||70.9||67.4||74.4|
|1985-1990||298 000||74 000||224 000||23.6||5.9||17.7||2.65||18||72.8||69.6||76.0|
|1990-1995||301 000||76 000||225 000||21.9||5.5||16.4||2.55||14||74.5||71.5||77.4|
|1995-2000||269 000||79 000||190 000||18.0||5.3||12.7||2.21||12||75.9||72.8||78.9|
|2000-2005||249 000||80 000||169 000||15.7||5.0||10.7||2.00||8||77.9||74.8||80.9|
|2005-2010||251 000||90 000||161 000||14.7||5.3||9.4||1.90||7||78.6||75.5||81.7|
|* CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)|
According to the Chilean census held in 2012, the population of Chile was 16,634,603.
The methodology used for the census was questioned by advisors to the National Statistics Institute (INE), however, which led to an investigation and the resignation of its director, Francisco Labbé, in April 2013. At the same time, the Chilean government ruled out doing the census over again.
This list includes conurbations and cities with over 150,000 inhabitants. Information is from the 2002 census. (Note: The population given is limited to the city area and is not the population in the whole commune.)
Largest cities or towns of Chile
|1||Santiago Metropolis||Santiago Metropolitan Region||5,898,612||
Greater La Serena
|2||Greater Concepción||Bío Bío Region||949,023|
|3||Greater Valparaíso||Valparaíso Region||934,859|
|4||Greater La Serena||Coquimbo Region||413,716|
|6||Greater Temuco||Araucanía Region||345,247|
|7||Greater Iquique||Tarapacá Region||279,408|
|8||Rancagua conurbation||O'Higgins Region||277,090|
|9||Puerto Montt||Los Lagos Region||238,455|
|10||Arica||Arica y Parinacota Region||210,936|
Graphs and maps
Chile. Population density by commune, based on 2002 census (2009)
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- Chile: Palestinian refugees arrive to warm welcome.
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