Chilean Americans
Flag of ChileFlag of the United States
Total population
0.05% of the U.S. population (2012)[1]

Chile in its region

Regions with significant populations
New York Metro Area, Northern New Jersey, Metropolitan Miami, Greater Los Angeles, Washington Metro Area

Chilean Dialect (Spanish), American English


Roman Catholicism (69,95%), Evangeliscalism (9%), European Protestantism (6,14%), Judaism (0,13%)

Related ethnic groups

Hispanic Americans, Indigenous Chileans, other European Americans


Paterson, New Jersey, within the New York City Metropolitan Area, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chilean immigrants to the United States since the 2010 Chile earthquake.

Chilean Americans (Spanish: chileno-americanos, norteamericanos de origen chileno or estadounidenses de origen chileno) are Americans who have full or partial origin from Chile.

The Chilean population at the 2010 US Census was 126,810. In the United States, Chileans are the fourth smallest Hispanic group from South America and the fifth smallest overall amongst all Hispanic groups. Chilean Americans live mainly in the New York Metropolitan Area, South Florida, Los Angeles County, San Francisco Bay Area (esp. San Mateo County) and the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, with high population concentrations found in Queens in New York City; Northern New Jersey; Miami, Florida; and Nassau County, New York. Most Chileans migrating to the United States settle in metropolitan areas. In recent history, it is for economic or academic rather than political reasons that Chileans emigrate.

History Edit

Chileans and other South Americans have been present in the state of California since the 1850s gold rush. Not all Chileans made it to the gold fields. Some remained in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and Stockton where they frequently worked as bricklayers, bakers, or seamen. Some with capital established themselves in various businesses, particularly the importation of flour and mining equipment from Chile. In the cities most tended to congregate and live in specific areas in the poorer sections of town. In the gold fields they lived in separate camp sites. In the summer of 1849 Chileans constituted the majority of the population of Sonora. Chileans frequently worked their mines as group efforts. When the placer gold ran out around Sonora the Chileans were amongst the first miners in California to extract gold from quartz.[2] Historical remnants of those settlements influenced the names of locations such as Chileno Valley in Marin County, Chili Gulch in Calaveras and Chili Bar in Placer which was named after Chilean road builders. Names of Chilean towns and places are often found in the names of streets in Northern California: Valparaiso, Santiago, and Calera.[3][4]

Many of San Francisco's streets carry names of former residents of Chile: Atherton, Ellis, Lick, Larkin, and others. Chilean women also left their names: Mina and Clementina. Manuel Briseño, an early journalist in the mines was one of the founders of the San Diego Union. Juan Evangelista Reyes was a Sacramento pioneer as were the Luco brothers. Luis Felipe Ramírez was one of the City Fathers in Marysville. The Leiva family owned at one time, much of the land in Marin County, including Fort Ross. In 1975, Chilean exiles of the Agusto Pinochet dictatorship established La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, California, which is to this day the largest Chilean cultural center in the United States.

Chileans integrated quickly and like their "Little Chiles," becoming part of the mainstream of the United States.[5] Chilean Americans have achieved many skills as entrepreneurs, judges, congressmen, and others.

Motives of immigrationEdit

Most Chilean immigration to the U.S. has occurred largely since the 1990s.[6] For the most part, Chileans left as either political asylees and refugees during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, or for economic reasons. Also, there have been others that have emigrated to seek higher education and career development opportunities. Since the 2010 Chile earthquake, many Chileans have pursued economic opportunities in the United States, with Paterson, New Jersey, representing an increasingly common destination.

Many of the Pinochet-era immigrants were of middle or upper class origin. A significant proportion of them arrived with advanced educations and well-developed skills. They had contacts with other Chilean exiles and a sense of identity from their shared commitment to a democratic Chile. After a period of adjustment, many of them were able to pursue skilled jobs or professions. Unfortunately, others, who lacked skills or whose professional certifications were not recognized in the United States, were forced to take low-level jobs in which they were unable to use their skills. Some had been politically active students or union leaders in Chile who did not enter the United States with easily transferable skills.[6]

The second major arrival into the United States was mainly for economic or academic opportunities. Yet, in general, acquiring a U.S. Visa requires the applicant to have a stable economic background, so most Chileans emigrating to the United States since 1990 have done so mostly for study purposes or to further their academic backgrounds.[6]

Demographics Edit

Population by stateEdit

The 10 US states with the largest population of Chilean Americans are:

  1. California – 24,006
  2. Florida – 23,549
  3. New York – 15,050
  4. New Jersey – 8,100
  5. Texas – 6,282
  6. Virginia – 4,195
  7. Maryland – 4,146
  8. Utah – 3,364
  9. Massachusetts – 3,045
  10. Illinois – 2,753

Population by urban agglomerationEdit

The largest populations of Chilean Americans are situated in the following urban areas:

  1. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA – 20,688
  2. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA – 17,161
  3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA MSA – 10,471
  4. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA – 6,963
  5. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA – 4,000
  6. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA – 2,622
  7. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA – 2,570
  8. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA – 2,454
  9. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA – 2,066
  10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL MSA – 1,884
  11. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA MSA – 1,779
  12. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA – 1,776
  13. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA – 1,730
  14. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA – 1,686
  15. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA – 1,505
  16. Salt Lake City, UT MSA – 1,463
  17. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA – 1,397
  18. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA – 1,376
  19. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA – 1,215
  20. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ MSA – 1,211

Population by city properEdit

  1. New York City, New York – 7,026
  2. Los Angeles, California – 4,112
  3. Miami, Florida – 1,427
  4. Houston, Texas – 934
  5. San Diego, California and Chicago, Illinois – 876
  6. San Francisco, California – 754
  7. Miami Beach, Florida – 739
  8. Washington, DC – 697
  9. San Jose, California – 632
  10. Doral, Florida – 622
  11. Kendall, Florida – 613
  12. Hialeah, Florida – 602
  13. The Hammocks, Florida – 564
  14. Pembroke Pines, Florida – 558
  15. Fontainebleau, Florida – 549
  16. Hollywood, Florida – 542
  17. Kendale Lakes, Florida – 469
  18. Las Vegas, Nevada – 467
  19. Boston, Massachusetts – 405
  20. San Antonio, Texas – 374
  21. Union City, New Jersey – 372
  22. Charlotte, North Carolina – 368
  23. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 357
  24. Coral Springs, Florida – 342
  25. Miramar, Florida and Austin, Texas – 340

Population by percentageEdit

US communities with the highest percentages of Chileans as a percent of total population: (Source: Census 2010)

  1. Brookeville, Maryland – 3.73%
  2. Manorhaven, New York – 3.57%
  3. Oyster Bay, New York – 2.67%
  4. Warm Springs, Virginia – 1.63%
  5. Dover, New Jersey – 1.55%
  6. Key Biscayne, Florida – 1.50%
  7. Sleepy Hollow, New York – 1.48%
  8. Forest Home, New York – 1.40%
  9. Doral, Florida – 1.36%
  10. Victory Gardens, New Jersey – 1.32%
  11. Wharton, New Jersey – 1.27%
  12. The Crossings, Florida – 1.18%
  13. The Hammocks, Florida – 1.11%
  14. Inwood, New York – 1.10%
  15. North Lynbrook, New York – 1.01%

Chileans are more than 1% of the entire population in only fifteen communities in the US. These communities are mostly located in Miami-Dade County, Morris County, NJ, and Nassau County, NY.

Notable peopleEdit

Santiago Cabrero - 14 March 2008

Actor Santiago Cabrera

Leonor Varela Deauville 2017

Actress and model Leonor Varela

Cote de Pablo (19 September 2008) 4

Actress Cote de Pablo

FJ DUARTE (2006)

Laser physicist Frank Duarte

Gabriela Mistral-01

Nobel laureate Gabriela Mistral

Francisca Valenzuela 5

Singer and songwriter Francisca Valenzuela

Chileans abroadEdit

Of the 857,781 Chilean expatriates around the globe, 13.3% (114,084) live in the United States, 50.1% reside in Argentina, 4.9% in Sweden, and around 2% in Australia, with the remaining 20% being scattered in smaller numbers across the globe, particularly the countries of the European Union.[9][10][11]

See alsoEdit



External linksEdit

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