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Demographics of Chile

Demographic features of the population of Chile include population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Chile has a population of over 16 million people. About 85% is urban-dwelling, roughly half of which (approx. 7.0 million people) is densely concentrated in Greater Santiago. The population growth is amongst the lowest in Latin America, at around 0.97%, and comes in third only to Uruguay and Cuba. The population is growing enough to fill the replacement rate, with the country's population expected to reach 20 million by the year 2025, and 20.2 million by 2050.


Ethnic structure

Studies on the ethnic structure of Chile are non-conclusive and might vary significantly from one study to the next.

UNAM professor of Latin American studies, Francisco Lizcano, believes Chile has an estimated 52.7% of European descent, with mestizos estimated at 44%.

A study conducted by the University of Chile found that within the Chilean population 30% are white, the mestizos component of predominantly white ancestry is estimated at 65%. Other study of the University of Chile and other found a white majority that would exceed 60% to 90% of the Chilean population.Esteva-Fabregat (1988), Book: El mestizaje en lberoamerica "a white majority that would exceed 60% of the Chilean population".

According to the Census 2002, 4.6% of the Chilean population considered themselves indigenous, although most show varying degrees of mixed ancestry.

European immigration

The largest contingent of people to have arrived in 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% to as high as 27% .

vascos Ainara Madariaga:

Autora del estudio "Imaginarios vascos desde Chile La construccion de imaginarios vascos en Chile durante el siglo XX".

Contacto Interlinguistico e intercultural en el mundo hispano.instituto valenciano de lenguas y culturas. Universitat de Valencia Cita: " Un 20% de la poblacion chilena tiene su origen en el Pais Vasco". El 27% de los chilenos son descendientes de emigrantes vascos. DE LOS VASCOS, ONATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza''.

Chile's various waves of non-Spanish immigrants include Italians, Irish, French, Greeks, Germans, English, Scots, and Croats.

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 , 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 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.

European and, to a lesser extent, Middle Eastern emigration to Chile, chiefly during the second half of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth, was the most important in Latin America after emigrations to the Atlantic Coast of the Southern Cone .

Other ethnic groups

It is estimated that near the 5% of the Chilean population is of Asian origin immigrants descendant, chiefly of the Middle East , are around 800,000. Note that Israelis, both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of the nation of Israel may be included. Chile is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant. Roughly 500,000 Palestinian descendants are believed to reside in Chile.

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 10,000 more came to the mainland in the 20th century. The Rapa Nui people fought to obtain self-autonomous government in Easter Island with success.

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.

Recent immigration

Today, the principle immigrant groups correspond to the countries bordering Chile. Argentines constitute the largest group, followed by the Peruvians. One of the principle contributing factors of 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 2002 report of the International Organization for Migration, more than 10,000 people from the United States have immigrated to Chile, most of whom initially arrived in Chile to work for multinational corporations, possess professional degrees, and are well situated economically.

Since the reinstatement of democracy the trend has now reversed and Chile is one of the two countries in Latin American with a positive migration rate.

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.


16,601,707 (December 2009 est.)


Age structure

0-14 years: 24.1%

15-64 years: 67.4%

65 years and over: 8.5% (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 30.7 years

male: 29.8 years

female: 31.7 years (2007 est.)

female: 18.5 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate

1.027%(2001 est.)

0.916% (2006 est.)

Death rate

5.87 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.047 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.998 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.718 male(s)/female

total population: 0.982 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.36 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 9.09 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.96 years

male: 73.69 years

female: 80.34 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.98 children born/woman (2007 est.)


People living with HIV/AIDS: 31,000 (2007 est.)

Deaths: 1,100 (2007 est.)

Ethnic groups

N.B.In the case of Chile, the percentages were taken from the study of Lizcano (2005), but these vary according to other studies, 30% of Chileans as white and 65% as either castizo ("white mestizo"). in Another study Esteva-Fabregat (1988), a white majority that would exceed 60% of the Chilean population. In the 2002 census reported 4.6% of Indians in the country (most also varying degrees of miscegenation).


Catholic, 70%

Protestant or evangelical, 15.1%

Jehovah's Witnesses, 1%

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 0.9%

Jewish, 0.2%

Atheist or Agnostic, 8.3%

Others, 4.4%.

Less than 0.1% are either Eastern Orthodox or Muslim.

For the precise numbers of declared religions among the population ages 15 and over as indicated by the results of the latest census, see source *2002 Census data


Spanish is the official language, universal among the population.

Mapuche language "mapudungun" speakers mainly in Araucania Region in southern Chile.

Several thousand speakers of German, French, Italian, Croatian, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, and more foreign languages in immigrant communities, primarily in Santiago and Southern Chile.


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write

Total population: 98.1%

Male: 96.4%

Female: 96.1% (2003 est.)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Demographics of Chile

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