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: 17,114,000
  • Life Expectancy: 79 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 96%
  • School Enrollment: 95%
  • Land Mass: 291,932 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 99%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 9/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 9,940

Facts about Chile

Economic Development

Currently, Chile has the 14th largest income gap in the world. Lower inflation and unemployment levels have recently boosted national living standards, but income inequalities between rich and poor are significant.

Economic Development

About 18 percent of people still live 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 2012.

  • Trained farmers in improved agricultural techniques, increasing their incomes and helping them provide for their families.

  • Supported cattle banks—community organizations that raise sheep and distribute them to families.

  • Implemented a social skills program to strengthen children’s interpersonal relationships and reduce aggressive behavior.

  • Established resource rooms where children can get help with their schoolwork and participate in educational activities after school.

  • Provided scholarships and school supplies to help vulnerable children stay in school.

  • Supplied materials to rebuild greenhouses, stables, and storerooms, enabling community members to re-establish their income sources.

  • Provided emergency shelters and construction materials for families whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake.

  • Opened Child-Friendly Spaces where children distressed by the devastating 2010 earthquake were counseled and taught coping skills.

  • Increased agricultural and craft production by training entrepreneurs and helping them join fair trade organizations.

  • Facilitated vocational programs to help young people develop job skills and plan their careers.

  • Worked with local partners to establish a community-based child protection program to help create safer living environments for children.

  • Promoted child rights through workshops, information campaigns, and advocacy marches.

  • Monitored children's health and helped sick children access medical treatment.

  • Coordinated physical rehabilitation programs for children with disabilities.

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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 8,000 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.
    • Increasing children's preparation for school by enabling children to participate in early stimulation programs with their parents and caregivers.
    • Assisting Chileans affected by the 2010 earthquake and tsunamis with emergency supplies like food, water, and high-quality temporary shelters, and helping them rebuild their communities.

    World Vision History in Chile

    World Vision started operating in Chile in 1980 but had child sponsorship program 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, increasing their incomes and enabling them to become self-sufficient during the 1980s.
    • 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 '80s 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 earthquake and several large tsunamis rocked central and southern Chile, killing hundreds of people and affecting thousands more.

    Prayer Requests for Chile

    • Quality education to be accessible and affordable for all Chileans.
    • The protection and care of vulnerable children.