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Countries > Chile Chile Flag

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Capital: Santiago
Population: 14,210,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Chile Map


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

Geographic coordinates: 30 00 S, 71 00 W

Map references: South America

total : 756,950 sq km
land: 748,800 sq km
water: 8,150 sq km
note: includes Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) and Isla Sala y Gomez

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana

Land boundaries:
total : 6,171 km
border countries: Argentina 5,150 km, Bolivia 861 km, Peru 160 km

Coastline: 6,435 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate; desert in north; cool and damp in south

Terrain: low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east

Elevation extremes:
lowest point : Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,962 m

Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum

Land use:
arable land:3%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 12,650 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis

Environment - current issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation contributing to loss of biodiversity; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Law of the Sea

Geography - note: strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions


Population: 15,498,930 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.9% (male 2,127,696; female 2,033,201)
15-64 years:65.6% (male 5,070,476; female 5,103,490)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 482,846; female 681,221) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.09% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 16.46 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 5.59 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 9.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.14 years
male:72.83 years
female:79.62 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.13 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean

Ethnic groups: white and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%

Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish NEGL%

Languages: Spanish

definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.2%
male : 95.4%
female: 95% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Chile
conventional short form: Chile
local long form: Republica de Chile
local short form: Chile

Data code: CI

Government type: republic

National capital: Santiago

Administrative divisions: 13 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Atacama, Bio-Bio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana, Tarapaca, Valparaiso
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica

Independence: 18 September 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 18 September (1810)

Constitution: 11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended 30 July 1989

Legal system: based on Code of 1857 derived from Spanish law and subsequent codes influenced by French and Austrian law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ricardo LAGOS Escobar (since 11 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government : President Ricardo LAGOS Escobar (since 11 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 12 December 1999, with runoff election held 16 January 2000 (next to be held NA December 2005)
election results: Ricardo LAGOS Escobar elected president; percent of vote - Ricardo LAGOS Escobar 51.32%, Joaquin LAVIN 48.68%

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (49 seats, 38 elected by popular vote, 9 designated members, and 2 former presidents who serve six-year terms and are senators for life); elected members serve eight-year terms (one-half elected every four years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections :Senate - last held 16 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2005); Chamber of Deputies - last held 16 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2005)
election results:Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CPD 20 (PDC 12, PS 5, PPD 3), UDI 9, RN 7, independents 2; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPD 63 (PDC 24, PPD 21, PS 11, PRSD 6,), UDI 35, RN 22, independent 1 Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges are appointed by the president, the president of the Supreme Court is elected by the 17-member court

Political parties and leaders:Center-Center Union Party or UCCP [Francisco Javier ERRAZURIZ]; Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Patricia ALYWIN]; Coalition of Parties for Democracy ("Concertacion") or CPD - including PDC, PS, PPD, PRSD; Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Pablo LONGUEIRA]; National Renewal or RN [Alberto CARDEMIL]; Party for Democracy or PPD [Guido GIRARDI]; Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Anselmo SULE]; Socialist Party or PS [Ricardo NUNEZ]

Political pressure groups and leaders: revitalized university student federations at all major universities; Roman Catholic Church; United Labor Central or CUT includes trade unionists from the country's five largest labor confederations

International organization participation: APEC, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Andres BIANCHI
chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746
FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579
consulate(s) general : Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Philip S. GOLDBERG
embassy: Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Santiago
mailing address : APO AA 34033
telephone: [56] (2) 232-2600
FAX: [56] (2) 330-3710

Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; there is 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; design was based on the US flag


Economy - overview: Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade. During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio AYLWIN - which took over from the military in 1990 - deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8% during 1991-97, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies implemented to keep the current account deficit in check and because of lower export earnings - the latter a product of the global financial crisis. A severe drought exacerbated the recession in 1999, reducing crop yields and causing hydroelectric shortfalls and electricity rationing, and Chile experienced negative economic growth for the first time in more than 15 years. Despite the effects of the recession, Chile maintained its reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. By the end of 1999, exports and economic activity had begun to recover, and growth rebounded to 5.4% in 2000. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, however, putting pressure on President LAGOS to improve living standards. The Argentine financial meltdown has put pressure on the Chilean peso and is slowing the country's economic growth. Meanwhile, Chile and the US are conducting negotiations for a free trade agreement.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $153 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $10,000 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 8%
industry: 38%
services: 54% (2000)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 3.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 5.9 million (2000 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 14%, industry 27%, services 59% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 10.1% (2001)

revenues: $17 billion
expenditures: $17 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 2.5% (2001 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 5.964 million kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 39.577 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 37.897 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: wheat, corn, grapes, beans, sugar beets, potatoes, fruit; beef, poultry, wool; timber; 1991 fish catch of 6.6 million metric tons

total value: $18.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: copper, fish, fruits, paper and pulp, chemicals
partners: US 17%, Japan 14%, UK 6%, Brazil 5%, China 5% (2000)

total value : $18 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: consumer goods, chemicals, motor vehicles, fuels, electrical machinery, heavy industrial machinery, food
partners:US 19%, Argentina 16%, Brazil 7%, China 6%, Japan 4% (2000)

Debt - external: $39.6 billion (2001)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $40 million (2001 est.)

Currency: 1 Chilean peso (Ch$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Chilean pesos (Ch$) per US$1 - 423.79 (January 1997), 412.27(1996), 396.78 (1995), 420.08 (1994), 404.35 (1993), 362.59 (1992)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 2.603 million (1998)

Telephone system: modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay links; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 180 (eight inactive), FM 64, shortwave 17 (one inactive) (1998)

Radios:5.18 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 63 (plus 121 repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 3.15 million (1997)


total: 6,702 km
broad gauge: 2,831 km 1.676-m gauge (1,317 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 117 km 1.067-m gauge (28 km electrified); 3,754 km 1.000-m gauge (37 km electrified) (2000 est.)

total : 79,800 km
paved: 11,012 km
unpaved: 68,788 km (1996)

Waterways: 725 km

Pipelines: crude oil 755 km; petroleum products 785 km; natural gas 320 km

Ports and harbors: Antofagasta, Arica, Chanaral, Coquimbo, Iquique, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Talcahuano, Valparaiso

Merchant marine:
total: 47 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 669,670 GRT/931,647 DWT
ships by type: bulk 11, cargo 4, chemical tanker 10, container 5, liquefied gas 2, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 4, roll on/roll off 5, vehicle carrier 3, includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Netherlands 1 (2002 est.)

Airports: 363 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total : 70
over 3,047 m:6
2,438 to 3,047 m : 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 22
under 914 m: 16 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total : 293
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m:4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 60
under 914 m: 217 (2001)


Military branches: Army of the Nation, National Navy (includes Naval Air, Coast Guard, and Marines), Air Force of the Nation, Carabineros of Chile (National Police), Investigations Police

Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 4,104,197 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 3,034,912 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 136,830 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $2.8 billion (1997); note - includes earnings from CODELCO Company; may exclude costs of pensions and internal security

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: $2.5 billion (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: short section of the southern boundary with Argentina is indefinite; Bolivia has wanted a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama area was lost to Chile in 1884; dispute with Bolivia over Rio Lauca water rights; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims

Illicit drugs: a minor transshipment country for cocaine destined for the US and Europe; booming economy has made it more attractive to traffickers seeking to launder drug profits

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