A thin ribbon of land, Chile extends nearly 2,900 miles along South America’s west coast and borders Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Its southernmost territory ends where the Atlantic and Pacific meet.

  • Population: 17,464,800
  • Life Expectancy: 80 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 99%
  • School Enrollment: 93%
  • Land Mass: 291,932 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 99%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 9/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 14,280

Facts about Chile

Chile has a large income gap. The richest 10 percent of the population has an income nine times higher than that of the poorest 10 percent. This lack of equity reflects itself in enormous differences in the availability and quality of education, health, and housing.

About 14 percent of Chile’s population still lives below the poverty line.

A gap also exists between the quality of education in public and private schools. According to the United Nations, about two-thirds of primary school pupils — most in rural areas — do not have access to quality education, including a lack of textbooks and bilingual education for indigenous children.

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Progress in Chile

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2013.

  • Created a local child protection network made up of community and government leaders to communicate clear guidelines on child protection and rights issues.

  • All children in the early intervention program made developmental strides, with the help of better training for kindergarten and nursery teachers.

  • Created and trained volunteer networks to assist in child protection and rights violation reporting.

  • 981 children in three schools began to use computers for their math and language lessons. The modules aligned with curriculum from the ministry of education.

  • Helped families increase their income through trainings about sheep and hens, handicrafts, and beekeeping. Trainings included techniques to improve their access to the market. Many of them made new business contacts and were able to sell their products at local fairs and markets.

  • Hundreds of youth participated in sports clubs, values classes, and artistic activities. The youth showed progress in social skills, time management, and positive identity.

  • Youth ages 12-18 reported that they feel more surrounded by people who love, appreciate, and care for them, thanks to projects monitoring and reporting cases of abuse, sickness, and school drop-outs.

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    World Vision in Chile Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Chile to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 6,400 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Chile. These efforts include:

    • Creating healthy and safe schools by reducing bullying and promoting effective tactics for conflict resolution.
    • Improving children’s education by creating programs to strengthen their training in math, Spanish, and English.
    • Ensuring children are healthy by having them go for checkups and making sure they are receiving the proper vaccinations.

    World Vision History in Chile

    World Vision started operating in Chile in 1980 but had child sponsorship programs years earlier within the country in 1961. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments include:

    • Providing indigenous groups in southern Chile (particularly the Mapuche people) with agricultural training, land restoration, income generation, and sanitation since the 1970s.
    • Offering vocational training to families of sponsored children during the 1980s, increasing their incomes and enabling them to become self-sufficient.
    • Assisting Chileans affected by natural disasters such as heavy floods, snowstorms, volcano eruptions, and earthquakes since 1980, providing them with blankets, water, food, shelter, seeds, and other tools to rebuild their lives.
    • Focusing on women’s education, child healthcare, vocational training, and economic development since 2005.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    A thin ribbon of land, Chile extends nearly 2,900 miles along South America’s west coast and borders Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Its southernmost territory ends where the Atlantic and Pacific meet.

    Variety defines Chile’s climate and terrain, which include deserts in the north, mountains in the east, and glaciers and fjords in the south. A fertile valley runs in the center of the country. Natural resources include copper, iron ore, precious metals, timber, and hydropower.

    Over 80 percent of Chile’s population lives in urban areas, with more than a third living in the capital, Santiago. Most Chileans are either of European descent or a mix of Amerindian and European ancestry. Most speak Spanish, the official language, with the exception of some indigenous groups who have retained their own languages.

    Single mothers head almost one-fourth of Chile’s families and face great difficulty in providing for their children. They often work as fruit pickers, maids, or artisans and earn meager wages.


    Chile was originally inhabited by both the Incas in the north and the nomadic Mapuches in the south. During the 1500s, the Spanish and other Europeans began settling throughout the country.

    Chile won its independence in 1818 after Spanish forces were defeated by Bernardo O’Higgins and José de San Martin. O’Higgins ruled as dictator until 1823 when he was forced to resign. Democratic government elections continued until the 1970s.

    The 1970s and 1980s were a period of instability, with a failed attempt at democracy, a struggling economy, and a violent dictatorship. Since Chile’s government returned to democracy in 1990, the country has improved its status as a stable, democratic nation.

    In February 2010, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake and several large tsunamis rocked central and southern Chile, killing hundreds of people and affecting thousands more.

    Prayer Requests for Chile

    • For protection for children who live in rural areas and have to ride buses for at least two hours to get to school in the bigger cities.
    • For the special classes and activities World Vision facilitates within the communities to teach children about their rights.
    • For quality education to be increasingly accessible and affordable for all Chileans.
    • For the protection and care of vulnerable children.