macrohistory & world report


Map of Chile

Chile (capital Santiago) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade and a reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Exports of goods and services account for approximately one-third of GDP, with commodities making up some three-quarters of total exports. Copper alone provides 19% of government revenue. From 2003 through 2013, real growth averaged almost 5% per year, despite the slight contraction in 2009 that resulted from the global financial crisis. Chile deepened its longstanding commitment to trade liberalization with the signing of a free trade agreement with the US, which took effect on 1 January 2004. Chile has 22 trade agreements covering 60 countries including agreements with the European Union, Mercosur, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. Chile has joined the United States and nine other countries in negotiating the Trans-Pacific-Partnership trade agreement. The Chilean Government has generally followed a countercyclical fiscal policy, accumulating surpluses in sovereign wealth funds during periods of high copper prices and economic growth, and generally allowing deficit spending only during periods of low copper prices and growth."

Economic growth
2011: 6.5%

Labor force in agriculture
2005: 13.2%

Public debt:
2011: 9.4% of GDP
2010: 9.2% of GDP

Export/import ratio
2011: 98.2% in cash value, an unfavorable balance

Unemployment rate
2011: 6.9%
2010: 7.1%

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 16th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and the US, which ranks 45th.

Health expenditures
2009: 8.2% of GDP, compared to 16.2 for the United States

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2006: 2.7%


Living in an urban area:
2010: 89%
2008: 88%  

Ethnic groups
2002 census: white and white-Amerindian 95.4%, Mapuche 4%, other indigenous groups 0.6%

2002 census: Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 15.1%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other Christian 1%, other 4.6%, none 8.3%

Net migration rate
2012: More arriving than leaving. A net gain of 0.35 persons per 1,000 population


South America, bordering South Pacific Ocean. Compares in area to a little less than twice the size of Montana.


The president is elected by popular vote for one four-year term. Legislature: Senate (38 members) and Chamber of Deputies (120 members). Senators elected by popular vote to eight-year terms, deputies to four-year terms.

Recent History

World Factbook: After a series of elected governments, the three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador Allende was overthrown in 1973 by a military coup led by Augusto Pinochet, who ruled until a freely elected president was installed in 1990.

On March 12, 2006: Michelle Bachelet is inaugurated president. She belongs to the center-left coalition that has been in power since the end of military rule in 1990. The transfer of power from Ricardo Lago was with hugs and cheering for Lagos. Her rule appears to be a triumph over the hatred that reigned during the military rule, which left over 3,000 Chileans dead, including her father, an airforce general had opposed the military coup. Michelle Bachelet was one of those tortured during the dictatorship. Bachelet has been a successful advocate of reconciliation among Chileans. She speaks of a Chile united, with respect for Chile's military institutions, for businessmen, with equal opportunity and concern for the well-being of all. Nobody, she says, will be "left dangling" in indifference.

March 29, 2013: Protests concerning Chile's education system, from 2011 and through 2012, continue into 2013. The protests describe the education system as unfair. According to BBC News, "They say middle class students have access to some of the best schooling in Latin America, while the poor have to be content with under-funded state schools. Last year, President Sebastian Pinera, Chile's first conservative leader for 20 years, announced tax reforms aimed at raising money to help fund the country's education system."

The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.