Also See: Major Cities in Chile
Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country with a long yet narrow strip of land that sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains with a total area of 756,096 square kilometers (291,930 square miles), making it the 38th largest country.
The last official census took place in Chile back in 2002, which placed the population at 15.1 million. The official 2012 estimate placed Chile's population at 17.4 million. Chile's population is estimated to have grown in 2013 to 17,643,916, which makes it the 59th most populous country on earth.
Chile Population 2013
Chile's population has grown steadily over the past 60 years, rising from only 6 million in 1950 to almost triple that number -- more than 17.6 million people now call Chile home. From 1960 to 2012, Chile's population grew 127%, and now represents 0.25% of the world's population. That means 1 in 404 people on earth is a Chilean resident.
Chile is now the 59th most populous country, and the 6th most populous country in South America (after Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Venezuela).
2002 Chile Census
At the 2002 census, it was confirmed that there were 15,116,435 people living in South America's longest and thinnest country. It was suggested at the time that the population of Chile was in severe decline due to an alarming fall in the birth rate. However, that suggestion is at odds with the latest estimate from the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (Chile's National Statistics Institute), which claimed that Chile's population in 2011 had grown to 17,248,450.
Largest Cities in Chile
There are no cities in Chile with a population of more than 1 million, although a few come close, and some are much larger when the metropolitan area is considered. Santiago, the capital, is the largest city. The city/urban population is 308,000, but the Santiago Metropolitan Region has more than 6 million inhabitants, representing the most populated and most densely populated region in Chile.
The 5 largest cities in Chile are:
- Santiago Metropolis 6.68 million
- Greater Concepción: 949,000
- Greater Valparaíso: 934,000
- Greater La Serena: 413,700
- Antofagasta: 348,700
Chile Population Density
Chile has a land mass of 756,096.3 square kilometers which equates to 291,930.4 square miles and makes it the 38th largest country in the world in terms of surface area alone.
However, some harsh geography, typified by the Andes mountain range, means that Chile is a relatively sparsely populated country. For every square kilometer of land there is an average of 23 people (59 per square mile), which makes Chile only the 194th most densely populated country on earth (out of 192 countries).
Much of the population of Chile is concentrated in the Santiago Metropolis, which is also the most densely populated region. The city of Santiago has 8,470 people per square kilometer (21,925/square mile).
Chile is a very multiethnic society, although studies on the country's ethnic structure vary a great deal. One study found that 30% of Chile's population is of Caucasian origin. A genetic study by the University of Chile found that the average Chilean's genes are 35% Amerindian and 64% Caucasian.
Many Chileans self-identify as white, and the 2011 Latinobarometro survey found that 59% of surveyed Chileans considered themselves white, while 25% answered "mestizo" and 8% answered "indigenous."
Chile has had relatively little European immigration over the years, although it has had waves of Spanish and non-Spanish immigrants, such as Germans, Italians, Irish and French.
It's also estimated that 5% of Chile's population is descended from Asian immigrants, mostly from the Middle East. The East Asian population of Chile has grown recently, and there is a fairly large population of Roma people.
Chile Population Growth
In 2010, figures were released in relation to the birth and death rates within Chile. They pointed to an overall natural growth figure of 0.856%. This figure was calculated using statistics of 14.46 births per 1000 of the population and 5.9 deaths per 1000.
This is still growth in every sense of the word but it is considerably diminished in comparison to increases recorded in the past.
The decline in population growth is also caused to some extent by a relatively high life expectancy in Chile compared to the rest of the world. The overall expectancy is 77.53 years and this is divided between male (74.26 years) and female (80.96 years).
Despite the lower population growth, immigration has been on the rise. From 2002 to 2009, legal immigration alone jumped by 91 percent.
Chile Population Projections
Population growth may be slowing but Chile continues to see growth nevertheless.
Estimates from the Statistical Government Agency predict Chile will reach 20 million by 2040, with 25% of its population over the age of 60. It's also predicted that Chile's population in 2025 will have more people over 60 than under 15, a trend that the world as a whole will reach by 2045.
The official 2012 estimate of Chile's population showed that the country was less populous but more prosperous than expected, but there are still issues to overcome.
Chile's very slow growth is attributed to its dramatic drop in birth rates. While immigration to the area is growing, it will need to pick up the pace if Chile hopes to overcome labor supply problems in the long run.