The nation is now considered one of the fastest growing economies in the 1990s as it has successfully survived moments of economic instability3. It is a nation which currently faces the challenge of having to diversify its copper-dependent economy into other sources of income and of implementing a more equal distribution of wealth4.
As for its geography, Chile has a ribbon like shape which has given the country a diverse climate. Its northern parts (Atacama) are dry deserts; its center, exhibits a Mediterranean weather; and its Southern areas experience snowy weather5. Most of Chile nationals have a mixed Spanish and indigenous descent6. In 2010, the country had an estimated population of about 16.6 million, with the median age of the citizens at 31.7 years, and with a population growth rate of 0.881%7. Its rate of urbanization is also estimated at 1.3% based on 2005 to 2010 estimates. Most of its citizens are Chilean nationals, and its ethnic groupings include white and white Amerindians at 95.4%; Mapuche at 4%; and other indigenous groups at 0.6%8. The country’s religions include Roman Catholics at 70%; Evangelicals at 15%; Jehovah’s Witness at 1.1% and other Christians at 4.6%9. Their languages include Spanish, Mapudungun, German, and English10. The country’s literacy rate is at 15 years of age.
Basic economic facts about the country reveal that its nominal GDP is at 169.5 billion US dollars with a GDP per head of 10,123 US dollars and an annual growth of 4.0%11. The Chilean peso is pegged at an average of 1US$ to 529 pesos. Their inflation rate is at 0.5% and their unemployment rate is at 7.7%12. Their major industries include copper mining, as well as gold, nitrates, molybdenum, iron, and silver mining13. In considering the country’s foreign relations, Chile has had historical conflicts with its neighbors for many years now.