Chile Overview

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Research and development in Chile are strongly characterized by unique natural spaces. From the Acatama Desert, which is one of the driest regions in the world, astrophysics researchers can enjoy an unobstructed view of space. The proximity to the Antarctic and the high seismic activity open up further important research fields in polar and geosciences. Thanks to the rich natural resources (including copper) and the strong solar radiation, Chile is particularly active in the further development of mining and solar technology.

chile population - fertility rate

Population / geography

Country name República de ChileRepublic of Chile

Short form: Chile

Capital Santiago de Chile
Land area 756,626 km²
Population 18.186 million(Estimate July 2020)
Life expectancy Men: 76.3 yearsWomen: 82.5 years

(2020 estimate)

Age structure 0-14 years: 19.79%15-64 years: 68.4%

65 years and older: 11.89%

(2020 estimate)

Growth of population 0.71%(2020 estimate)
Languages 99.5% Spanish(2012 estimate)
Religions 64% Catholics17% Protestants

3% others

16% none

(June 2019 estimate)

National day 18./19. September (Fiestas Patrias)
Time zone Mainland and Juan Fernández Islands: CET – 5 (UTC – 4); October to March: CET – 4 (UTC – 3)Easter Island: CET – 7 (UTC – 6); October to March: CET – 6 (UTC – 5)
Independence February 12, 1818 by Spain
Currency 1 Chilean peso CLP / 100 centavos



Politics / Administration

Country name República de ChileRepublic of Chile
Capital Santiago de Chile
Form of government Republic / Presidential Democracy
Head of state President Sebastián Piñera,in office from March 11, 2018
Head of government President Sebastián Piñera
Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera
Education Minister Raul Figueroain office from February 2020
Minister for Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Andrés Couve,in office from December 17, 2018
Houses of Parliament Congress, consisting of the Senate (43 seats) and the Chamber of Deputies (155 seats); elected according to a proportional representation system (between two and five senators in 15 Senate constituencies and between three and eight MPs in 28 constituencies); last election on November 19, 2017.
Ruling parties Alliance (“Chile Vamos” = “Let’s go Chile”) consisting of three center-right parties (seats in the Chamber of Deputies / Senate):

  • Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI; 31/10)
  • Renovación Nacional (RN; 36/7)
  • Partido Evolución Política (Evopoli; 6/2)
Opposition parties Party alliances “La Fuerza de la Mayoría”, “Frente Amplio” and other smaller parties and independents
Administrative structure 15 regions (regiones)

Political system

Chile is a presidential democracy with a separation of powers enshrined in the constitution and implemented. The constitution gives the president a strong role. He determines the guidelines of politics, appoints and dismisses members of the cabinet, the directors of the regions and governors of the provinces as well as holders of other important state and administrative offices.

The state structure that has evolved over time is centralized. The country is divided into 15 regions, these in turn into 53 provinces and 346 municipalities.

Chile is a democratic constitutional state with a substantively and legally developed, but in practice now and then cumbersome judicial system. In addition to the civil and criminal courts, there is a military jurisdiction, e.g. for crimes against members of the armed police (Carabineros). The law of criminal procedure was reformed a few years ago – also with German help.

Business information

Economic data on Chile can be found in the “Economic data compact” series by Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI). This is updated twice a year in May and November. The following indicators are included, among other things: Residents, population density, currency, exchange rate, gross domestic product, GDP per resident, GDP growth, inflation rate, average wage, unemployment, budget balance, foreign trade, most important import and export goods, most important trading partners, foreign direct investments, country creditworthiness, foreign exchange reserves, Foreign trade with the EU and Germany, most important German import and export goods.

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