RELIGION LIBRARY

Chile

COUNTRY PROFILE

Map of Chile

The country has an area of 292,260 square miles and a population of 15 million. According to the most recent census (2002), 70 percent of the population over age 14 identifies as Roman Catholic and 15.1 percent as evangelical. In the census, the term "evangelical" referred to all non-Catholic Christian churches with the exception of the Orthodox Church (Greek, Persian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and Armenian), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Approximately 90 percent of "evangelicals" are Pentecostal. Wesleyan, Lutheran, Reformed Evangelical, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopalian, Baptist, and Methodist churches constitute the remaining 10 percent. Other groups include Jews, Muslims, Baha'is, Buddhists, and members of the Unification Church.
Indigenous persons make up 5 percent (780,000) of the population. Sixty-five percent of indigenous persons identify themselves as Catholic, 29 percent as evangelical, and 6 percent as "other." Mapuche communities, constituting 87 percent of indigenous citizens, continue to respect traditional religious leaders (Longkos and Machis), and anecdotal information indicates a high degree of syncretism in worship and traditional healing practices.
Members of the largest religious groups (Catholics; Pentecostals and other evangelicals) are present throughout the country. Jewish communities are located in Santiago, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Valdivia, Temuco, Concepción, La Serena, and Iquique (there is no synagogue in Iquique). Mosques are located in Santiago, Iquique, and Coquimbo.

Population Population (2009 est.) 16,601,707
Religious Demographics Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 15.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.1%, other Christian 1%, other 4.6%, none 8.3% (2002 census)
Ethnic Groups Ethnic Groups white and white-Amerindian 95.4%, Mapuche 4%, other indigenous groups 0.6% (2002 census)
Languages Languages Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
Country Flag Flag of Chile