Population in Urban Area, now
- World: 57th
- South America: 6th
- Chile: 1st
Population in City Area, 2022-03-09
- World: 49th
- South America: 6th
- Chile: 1st
Santiago Urban Area Population Graph
Santiago Population Review
Founded in 1541, Santiago or Santiago de Chile is the capital of and largest city in Chile and is one of the largest cities in the Americas. It is home to 6.8 million people in the Santiago Metropolitan Region and 4.8 million in the city and is the center of Chile’s most densely populated region. It has been the country’s capital city since colonial times and the city’s architecture in the downtown core is reminiscent of several different styles, from 19th century neoclassical to art deco.
Santiago is located entirely in the country’s central valley and spans across 641 square kilometres. Much of the city is 500 to 650 meters above sea level and many stand-alone hills and the Mapocho River shape its cityscape. The Andes Mountains are also visible from several points in the city, which unfortunately contributes to the city’s pollution and smog issues. Santiago is within an hour’s drive of both the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Population growth and population control
Santiago’s population has continued to grow steadily for the past 70 years. Since 1950, the city has added over 5 million residents to its population—and that’s predicted to continue. By 2035, the city’s population is predicted to surpass 7.3 million people. With 85% of the city’s population living in urban areas and the population density of the city nearing 10,000 people per square kilometre, the city confined area is beginning to be overtaxed. Concepts of population control have been introduced; however, many residents are resistant to the idea.
At risk of natural disasters
Because of the city’s precarious location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Santiago’s residents experience a significant amount of tectonic activity. The first large earthquake recorded in the city’s history was in 1575, just 34 years after the city was founded. The 1647 earthquake absolutely devastated the city and was said to have brought every building to the ground. The 1906 and 1985 earthquakes which both caused damage in Santiago led to the development of stricter building codes to minimise future earthquake damage. This was tested in 2010, when the sixth largest earthquake ever recorded struck the city. There were 525 people killed, 13 of which were in Santiago, and 370,000 homes were damaged. However, even though the earthquake caused an estimated 15 to 30 billion US dollars in damage, the implementation of building codes lessened the intensity of the damage.
Easternmost neighborhoods in Santiago are also prone to landslides, with landslides full of debris flow a significant risk to property and human life.
Demographics of the capital city
In a 2002 census, over 67% of respondents were born in and around the Santiago Metropolitan region. This reflects the city’s generally low immigration rate, and only 2.11% of the city’s residents were born outside of Chile, with most immigrants coming from other Latin American countries such as Peru and Argentina.
Like many people in Chile and in South America, most of the population practices Catholicism. Almost 69% of the city’s population identifies as catholic, with Evangelical Protestants making up 13% of the population. About 10% of the population have no religious affiliation.
Getting around the city
As of 2006, Santiago had 979,000 motorized vehicles. This is over 37% of all the vehicles in the country. Traffic issues in the city in the early 2000s triggered the building of several highways through Santiago to ease traffic issues.
The city also has an extensive public transport system, which gained a bad reputation for too many bus-to-bus transfers and diminished coverage. While the city has altered the way its public transportation works, the bad reputation has continued to cling to the city’s modified public transport. As of 2011, the city continues to struggle with a high far evasion system and in recent years, the city has attempted to expand its cycling paths. However, they remain chronically underused.