Chile Population and Economy 1978

By | December 1, 2021

Population. – According to the last census carried out in April 1970, the Chilean population amounted to 8,784,820 residents, Divided into the 25 provinces into which the territory of the republic is administratively divided. By mid-1972, the Chilean population was estimated at just over 10 million. The annual population growth coefficient was 14 ‰ in the period 1963-71; the birth rate in 1970 was 29.6 ‰; that of mortality of 9.4 ‰ (infant mortality 78.8 ‰).

The Chilean cities, not provincial capitals, with a population of over 50,000 residents, were the following in 1970: Coquimbo (52,700), San Bernardo (56,990), Puente Alto (65,100), Arica (87,700), Talcahuano (148,300), Viña del Mar (182,000).

Economic conditions. – It is not possible to separate the recent economic evolution of Chile from the events that have troubled its political life in recent years. September 1973 marked a clear division between two periods that can be schematized respectively in an attempt at progressive socialization of the economy (from November 1970 to August 1973) and then by an accelerated return to a particular form of liberalism accompanied by measures coercive. The indices by economic sectors recorded a general decline: making 1965 equal to 100, agriculture dropped to 95.7, mining production to 80.1, industry to 89.7 and services to 96.2.. While land use remained unchanged (crops 6.1%; meadows and pastures 14.8%, forests 27.3% of the national territory; the rest uncultivated and unproductive),

Viticulture is also maintaining good levels: 125,000 ha of vines, 8.1 million q of grapes and 5.2 million hectoliters of wine in 1972. The industrial crops of tobacco, hemp and flax remain of little importance. Livestock farming is mainly developed in the central provinces of the country and the livestock stock in 1972 counted over 3 million cattle, 7 of sheep, 1 million pigs. Forest exploitation in the southern sector of the country has yielded over 8 million m 3 of timber (beech and conifers). Fishing is very active (1.2 million tonnes of fish landed in 1971), and so is whaling (based in Corral near Valdivia).

The richest sector of the Chilean economy remains that of mining: the production of copper, under the control of CODELCO (Corporación del Cobre), was 691,000 t in 1970, 708,300 t in 1971, 716,800 t in 1972 and 741,651 in 1973, almost two thirds produced by the mines of Chuquicamata (36%), El Salvador (11%), El Teniente (24%). The production of nitrate was 829,000 t in 1971, that of oil (wells of Punta Delgada and Cerro Maniantales), which covers only 30% of the national needs, of 2 million t in 1973, in addition to 8 billion m 3of natural gas. Other mineral products are silver (16,700 kg in 1971), sulfur (109,000 t in 1970), iron ores (5.6 million t in 1972 from the deposits of El Loco, Carmen, Cerro Imán, Bandurrias), coal (1.3 million t in 1972, from the provinces of Arauco, Valdivia and Magallanes). For Chile society, please check

Electricity production was over 8.5 billion kWh in 1971, with an installed power of 2,133,000 kW (50% water). Great new hydroelectric plants are about to go into operation in Laja (El Abanico and El Toro power plants) and on the Maule River.

In the industrial sector, the industries producing consumer goods prevail: the most important are the food ones (mills, sugar factories, preserved meats). In the field of iron and steel, in addition to the production, already indicated, of copper refineries, the industry of the sector produced 580,000 t of steel in 1972. The paper industry is of some importance (223,000 t of cellulose pulp in 1972) and the textile industry which processes domestic wool and imported cotton.

Communications and foreign trade. – Communications, a fundamental problem for Chilean economic life given the particular configuration of the territory, count 8415 km of railways, 70,000 km of roads and a merchant fleet of 138 ships with a gross tonnage of 383,000 tons, mainly engaged in maritime cabotage traffic Along the coast. Air traffic is constantly developing to ensure rapid connections between the different areas of a country so extensive in length.

The main export items are represented by copper (657 million US dollars in 1972), iron ore (44.5 million dollars) and saltpetre (24.5 million), mainly to the United States (17.3 %), Great Britain (14.4%) and Japan (13.6%). Imports mainly consist of machinery, vehicles and chemicals from the United States (38.5%), the Federal Republic of Germany (10.3%) and Argentina (10.2%).

Bibl.: P. Cunill, Geografía de Chile, Santiago 1965; W. Weischet, Chile. Seine länderkundliche Individualität und Struktur, Darmstadt 1970; H. San Martin, Geografía humana de Chile, Santiago 1972; JG Galdames, Chile: an Andean country of the Pacific sur, there 1972; H. Gutierrez Roldan, La población de Chile, Paris 1975.



Chilean contemporary art presents aspects of alignment with international currents, alongside contributions, especially in architecture, in which a typical South American connotation is sought.

The Chilean artist of greatest international resonance is RSE Matta, established for some time in Italy (Tarquinia); other well-known artists of Chilean origin work in Paris, such as the painter and engraver E. Zanartu, the kinetic artist J. Contreras Brunet, the sculptors M. Colvin and MT Pinto. Interesting personalities active in the country are M. Carreno (who works in relation to architecture), J. Balmes (among the founders of the El signo group), R. Yrarrazaval, I. Vial, E. Tellez, E. Bonati, E. Barreda, G. Barrios, A. Perrez, Chile Bravo. In architecture, mention should be made of the construction of the Portales residential unit (Quinta Normal, Santiago, 1959-61) by the architects Chile Bresciani, H. Valdés, F. Castillo and CG Huibobro, and the construction, by E. Duhart (1966), of the United Nations building in Santiago. The palace, which in its closed form and its conical tower surrounded by a spiral staircase refers to pre-Columbian models within a fundamentally Lecorbusieran syntax, is part of the planned Park of the Two Americas, on the banks of the Mapocho.

Among the architects working in Chile are the Brothers Martín and Gabriel, authors of the church of the Benedictine monastery of Las Condes (1965), also a construction with reference to Le Corbusier, also interesting for the use of concrete, a typical material of South American architecture, and in which South American architects have achieved unsurpassed technical mastery, also due to the high prices that would require the necessary armor for different types of constructions. The main architecture magazine published in Chile is AUCA, which is printed in Santiago.

Chile Economy