Chile Demographics

What is the population of Chile?

Population 18,186,770
Population Growth Rate 0.86%
Urban Population 89.2%
Population in Major Urban Areas SANTIAGO (capital) 6.034 million; Valparaiso 883,000; Concepcion 770,000
Nationality Noun Chilean(s)
Nationality Adjective Chilean
Ethnic Groups White and white-Amerindian 95.4%, Mapuche 4%, other indigenous groups 0.6%
Languages Spoken Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
Language Note Castellano, a Spanish dialect, is the official language. English is taught in schools. A small minority in southern Chile speak German, Italian, and Mapuche, an Indian language.

Chile Learning

What is school like in Chile?


Children wear uniforms that have a badge to school. The badge identifies which school the student attends. High school students wear black and white uniforms and are sometimes known by the nickname “penguins.”

It is not unusual for a school to be an open-air building (especially in northern regions, which means that classes can be quite chilly in the winter. However, because it rarely rains in such areas, there is no need to provide protection against bad weather. Open schools usually have a large open courtyard that serves as a theater, playground, and assembly hall. Around the courtyard are hallways that lead to classrooms, offices, and bathrooms. Like students in many Asian schools, students stay in the same classroom all day—except when they have a class that requires different classroom equipment, such as a computer class.

Until the mid-1990s, school was conducted in two shifts, morning and afternoon. This has now changed to a longer school day. The previous two-shift schedule was used in part to keep a low student-teacher ratio. Since the change, the national Ministry of Education has set a maximum ratio of no more than 45 students for every teacher. Most classes have about 40 students.

Education Culture

Although, as in most Latin American countries, has only in recent years encouraged girls to gain as much education as boys, the country also has a tradition of providing education to women who wanted higher levels of education. For example, Chile was the first country in Latin America to graduate female lawyers and physicians—in the 1880s from the University of Chile! As women have access to more and more education, the number of women in the workforce, including the professional workforce, is increasing. This means that extended family members often help to raise little children while their mothers are working during the day.

Chile is similar to many Latin American countries in that most children (approximately 90%) attend elementary school. However, only slightly over half will attend preschool, and slightly less than half will remain in high school. Impressively, nearly 20% of the national government budget goes to education. Despite this, many Chileans feel that the educational system has some serious problems and does not do a very good job of educating their children.

The school year begins in late February or early March and finishes in December so that the children do not attend during the hottest months. There are two major breaks of two weeks each in the school year—one in June or July and another in September.

Approximately 70 percent of the schools in Chile are privately owned.

Many students do not attend school after they finish elementary school. They are often required to begin working to support their family. Most high school students come from upper-middle-class or upper-class families.


Children study between 10 and 13 subjects during each school week, and they stay with the same group of classmates all day long.

Children are required to attend elementary school for eight years (ages 6-13), with optional attendance in effect for four years of high school (ages 14-17). All classes are taught in Spanish, the national language.

Subjects include math, science, history, geography, Spanish, English, music, belief systems, technology, and physical education. In some areas with high populations of native peoples, their local language is also taught in school. These tend to be in rural areas removed from cities and larger towns.

General basic education (EGB) is compulsory and lasts for eight years, divided into two cycles of four years each. Secondary education (Educación media) lasts for four years. Students choose to specialize either in humanistic-scientific education (EMHC) or technical-professional education (EMTP). The humanistic-scientific branch, offered in liceos, is a preparation for higher education. Students are awarded the Licencia de Educación Media at the end. Technical-professional education offers a two-year common course and two years of specialization divided into five branches: industrial, technical, agricultural, commercial, and maritime. Students who successfully complete their secondary education obtain the Licencia de Educación Media or the title of Técnico de Nivel Medio.

To School

School generally begins at 8:00 in the morning and is done at around 4:00 in the afternoon. Kids will usually walk or ride a public transportation bus to school, depending on how far from the school they live. The public buses offer reduced fares to students, who wear badges that identify with the school they attend.

Some schools provide lunch for the students, while others (in rural areas or certain private schools) allow students to go home for lunch.

Chile Health Information

What are the health conditions in Chile?

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 64.2%
Contraceptive Prevalence - note Note: percent of women aged 15-44
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 5.86
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 91.3%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 1.2%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 99.6%
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 7.5%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.4%
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 2
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 6.68
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 7.67
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 7.19
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 25
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 23.7
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 29.4%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 40,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 1.03
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 1.1%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 100%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 89.3%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 1.85
Underweight - percent of children under five years 0.5%

Chile Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Chile?

Life Expectancy at Birth 78 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 81 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 75 Years
Median Age 33 Years
Median Age - female 34 Years
Median Age - male 31 Years

Chile Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Chile median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 14
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 5.86
Median Age 33 Years
Median Age - female 34 Years
Median Age - male 31 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population .35
Population Growth Rate 0.86%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .99
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .97
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .97
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .71

Chile Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Chile?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Santiago has two main private hospitals that are accredited by The American Hospital Association and meet U.S. standards: Clinica Alemana and Clinica Las Condes. Both have international patient departments and experience with some international insurance companies. Medical care in Chile is generally good, though it may not meet U.S. standards in remote areas. Major hospitals accept credit cards, but many doctors and hospitals in Chile expect immediate payment in cash. Prescriptions written by local doctors and over-the-counter medicines are widely available.

Air pollution is a major health concern in Santiago, resulting in severe bronchial ailments affecting infants, small children, and the elderly. The most severe air pollution occurs during the winter (May through August).

The ozone layer is especially thin over parts of Chile. Take precautions to protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation.

Chile Education

What is school like in Chile?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 4.5%
Literacy - female 95.6%
Literacy - male 95.8%
Literacy - total population 95.7%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 16 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 15 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 15 Years

Chile Literacy

Can people in Chile read?

Literacy - female 95.6%
Literacy - male 95.8%
Literacy - total population 95.7%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English

Chile Crime

Is Chile a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Most foreigners visit Chile without incident. Nevertheless, street crime is a problem, especially in Santiago and Valparaiso. As in any large city, be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Be alert for pick-pocketing, purse and camera snatching, and thefts from backpacks and rental cars. Petty crime is common in major tourist destinations, in hotel lobbies and restaurants, internet cafes, at bus and subway stations, and in cruise ship ports. Exercise caution when touring Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal, and Mercado Central as pick-pocketing and muggings occur frequently in these areas. Criminals usually work in groups and employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. A few taxi drivers engage in currency switching and overcharge with altered taxi meters. Incidents of individuals smashing car windows of occupied vehicles stopped in traffic and taking items of value on seats have occurred. Drivers should keep car doors locked at all times and valuables out of sight while driving and while the vehicle is parked. Your passport is a valuable document. Report the loss or theft of a U.S. passport to the police and to the U.S. Embassy immediately. Secure your passport and other valuables in a hotel safe, and carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes. Leave copies of your passport and important documents with family members in case of emergency.

Counterfeit and pirated goods may sometimes be available in Chile, and transactions involving such products are generally illegal under local law. In addition, bringing such goods back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency lines in Chile follow an ABC-123 plan:

131 - Ambulancia/Ambulance

132 - Bomberos/Fire Department

133 - Carabineros/Police Department

Chile Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While in Chile, you are subject to Chile's laws and regulations. Chilean laws may differ significantly from those in the United States. You may not have the same protections available to you as under U.S. law, and penalties for breaking the law can also be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Chile's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Chile are strict, and convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines. Persons engaging in sexual conduct with children and using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country may be prosecuted in the United States.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Chile, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy in Santiago of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Chile Population Comparison

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