Regions of Chile

Home    Buy data    Donate


The Ministry of Energy announced on 2015-01-28 that Chile would remain on summer time all year long, starting in 2015. On 2016-03-13, it reconsidered and reinstated the seasonal alternation. Henceforth Chile will observe standard time from the second Saturday in May to the second Saturday in August.

A census was taken in 2012, but the data were known to be corrupt. Not one, but two international commissions were called to consult on ways to restore integrity to the census results. This was Chile's first census to be taken on a de jure rather than de facto basis. Results have now been published, including "calculated" and "enumerated" (cuantaficada, censada) populations; the calculated population is equal to the enumerated plus the estimated number absent from their dwelling. The instructions say to use the calculated population for a fair comparison with earlier censuses, and I have done so in the table below.

Update 13 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2013-09-30. It changes the names of two regions from "Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo" to "Aysén" and "Bío-Bío" to "Biobío." On 2014-10-29, ISO 3166-2 made the same change.

On 2006-12-20, the Chilean congress passed a bill to create two new regions, to be called Los Ríos and Arica y Parinacota. At the same time, two new provinces were created: Ranco, with La Unión as its capital, split from Valdivia; and Tamarugal, capital Pozo Almonte, split from Iquique province. The new regions became official in October 2007. They are covered by FIPS PUB 10-4 Change Notice 13, dated 2008-02-04, and by Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, dated 2010-06-30.

Country overview: 

Short nameCHILE
ISO codeCL
GEC codeCI
LanguageSpanish (es)
Time zone-4~ (see note)


Chile has been an independent nation throughout the 20th century. It has revamped its administrative division several times. Chile makes a distinction between administrative and political subdivisions, but the geographic areas are the same for both types.

Time zone note: Easter Island and Salas y Gómez are in the -6~ time zone.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Chile
  2. Dutch: Chili, Republiek Chili (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Chile (formal)
  4. Finnish: Chile
  5. French: Chili m
  6. German: Chile n
  7. Icelandic: Síle
  8. Italian: Cile m
  9. Norwegian: Chile, Republikken Chile (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Chile m, República f do Chile m (formal)
  11. Russian: Республика Чили (formal)
  12. Spanish: Chile m, República f de Chile m (formal)
  13. Swedish: Chile
  14. Turkish: Şili Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

named Chile mapu by the Incas (Quechua chile: cold, mapu: land)

Primary subdivisions: 

Chile is divided into sixteen regiones (regions).

Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del CampoCL.AIAICI02XI94,271108,49441,890Coihaique
Arica and ParinacotaCL.APAPCI16XV212,81316,8736,515Arica
CoquimboCL.COCOCI07IV687,80640,58015,668La Serena
Libertador General Bernardo O'HigginsCL.LILICI08VI851,40616,3876,327Rancagua
Los LagosCL.LGLLCI14X767,71448,58418,758Puerto Montt
Los RíosCL.LRLRCI17XIV364,18318,4307,116Valdivia
Magallanes y Antártica ChilenaCL.MAMACI10XII155,332132,29151,078Punta Arenas
Región Metropolitana de SantiagoCL.RMRMCI126,604,83515,4035,947Santiago
16 regions16,341,929756,096291,930
  • Region: In the tables that follow, I will use shorter forms of the four longest region names.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • GEC: Codes from GEC.
  • Rom: Chile uses Roman numerals for the regions other than Santiago, sequenced from north to south.
  • Population: 2012-04-09 census (source [7]).
  • Area: Excludes Chile's Antarctic claim (Source [4]).


Note that Chile omitted Roman numeral XIII. However, the INE census code for Region Metropolitana is 13.

Further subdivisions:

See the Provinces of Chile page.

The sixteen regiones are divided into 57 provincias (provinces), which are further subdivided into comunas (municipalities). There were 335 municipalities in 1995, 345 in 2004, 346 in 2012.

According to source [1], Chile is conventionally divided into seven "regions" with no administrative status. From north to south, they are:

  1. Norte Grande (Big North): Antofagasta, Arica and Parinacota, Tarapacá
  2. Norte Chico (Little North): Atacama, Coquimbo
  3. Núcleo Central (Central Nucleus): Libertador, Maule, Santiago, Valparaíso
  4. Bío-Bío: Bío-Bío, Malleco province of Araucanía region
  5. La Frontera (the Border): Cautín province of Araucanía region
  6. Los Lagos (the Lakes): Los Lagos and Los Ríos regions, except for Chiloé province
  7. Las Canales (the Canals): Aisén, Magallanes, Chiloé province of Los Lagos region

Source [4] lists somewhat different "natural units". Norte Grande and Norte Chico are as above. Zona Central is equal to Núcleo Central plus Bío-Bío. Zona Austral is equal to Las Canales minus Chiloé province. The rest of the country is Zona Sul.

Territorial extent: 

Región Metropolitana de Santiago is the only landlocked region. All the others have a Pacific coastline.

Valparaíso includes Chile's remote Pacific islands: Isla de Pascua (Easter Island, or Rapa Nui), the Islas Juan Fernández (Más a Tierra, Más Afuera, and some smaller islands), Isla Salas y Gómez, and Islas de los Desventurados (San Félix, San Ambrosio, and some smaller islands). Más a Tierra (Spanish for "closer to land") is sometimes called Isla Róbinson Crusoe, and Más Afuera (Spanish for "farther out"), Isla Alejandro Selkirk. Alexander Selkirk, the real-life prototype for Robinson Crusoe, was marooned on Más a Tierra from 1704 to 1709.

Magallanes y Antártica Chilena includes the Chilean section of the island of Tierra del Fuego, the Islas Diego Ramírez, and Chile's claim in Antarctica. This book lists the Antarctic claim under Antarctica.

Chile and Argentina have had numerous boundary disputes and border adjustments over the years. In one such dispute, three small islands at the eastern end of the Beagle Channel (Islas Lennox, Nueva, and Picton) were awarded to Chile by mediation, effective 1985-05-02.

The UN LOCODE page  for Chile lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo: Named for President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (1877-1960).
  2. Araucanía: For the native Araucanian or Mapuche Indians.
  3. Atacama: For the Atacama Desert, from an ethnic name, possibly from Quechua tacama: black duck
  4. Bío-Bío: For the Bío-Bío River (Río Bío-Bío).
  5. Coquimbo: Quechua cullqui: silver, tampu: inn
  6. Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins: Named for Bernardo O'Higgins (1776-1842), the liberator of Chile. His birth surname, Chillán, is the name of a former department of Chile in Ñuble province.
  7. Los Lagos: Spanish for "the lakes."
  8. Los Ríos: Spanish for "the rivers."
  9. Magallanes y Antártica Chilena: Spanish for "Magellan and the Chilean Antarctic." Named for the Strait of Magellan, which was named for Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, ~1480-1521), the navigator who discovered the Strait of Magellan, which passes through this region.
  10. Región Metropolitana de Santiago: Spanish for "Metropolitan Region of Santiago." The city was founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, who named it Santiago del Nuevo Extremo. Santiago was in honor of Saint James, patron saint of Castile; Nuevo Extremo (new limit) referred to it being the farthest point of the conquest at that time.
  11. Valparaíso: After the city, which was named in 1536 by its founder, Juan de Saavedra, for his birthplace in Spain. The name was probably originally a contraction of Valle del Paraíso: valley of paradise.

Change history: 

  1. 1902: Border between Chile and Argentina in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego settled through British arbitration.
  2. 1927: At the beginning of the century, Chile was divided into 23 provinces. By 1927, one additional territory had been created. There were 82 departamentos (departments) at that time. In 1927, President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo carried out a reform which left sixteen provinces and two territories on the highest administrative level, and 75 departments at the next level. However, the bureaucracy opposed the changes, and gradually reversed them until in 1940 there were 25 provinces (the earlier 23, plus Aysén and Osorno), subdivided into 85 departments, which were further subdivided into 278 municipalities. The 25 provinces remained quite steady, although the departments rose to 89 (source [2]). The 25 provinces are listed under "Population history" below.
  3. 1929: Dispute between Chile and Peru over the area around Arica and Tacna resolved: Tacna province transferred from Chile to Peru; Arica remained part of Tarapacá province.
  4. 1976-01-01: In another reform, the provinces were re-organized into the 13 regions shown below.
RegionHASCFIPSRomPopulationArea(km.²)CapitalFormer provinces
AconcaguaCL.VSCI01V1,539,85216,378ValparaísoAconcagua, Valparaíso, part of Santiago
Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del CampoCL.AICI02XI91,492107,153CoihaiqueAysén, small part of Chiloé
AntofagastaCL.ANCI03II493,984125,306Antofagastamost of Antofagasta
AraucaníaCL.ARCI04IX869,53532,472TemucoCautín, Malleco
AtacamaCL.ATCI05III254,33678,268Copiapómost of Atacama
Bío-BíoCL.BICI06VIII1,861,56236,007ConcepciónArauco, Bío-Bío, Concepción, Ñuble
CoquimboCL.COCI07IV603,21039,647La SerenaCoquimbo, small part of Atacama
Libertador General Bernardo O'HigginsCL.LICI08VI780,62715,950RancaguaColchagua, O'Higgins, small part of Santiago
Los LagosCL.LLCI09X1,073,13569,039Puerto MonttLlanquihue, Osorno, Valdivia, most of Chiloé
Magallanes y Antártica ChilenaCL.MACI10XII150,82643,363Punta ArenasMagallanes
MauleCL.MLCI11VII908,09730,518TalcaCuricó, Linares, Maule, Talca
Región Metropolitana de SantiagoCL.RMCI126,061,18515,782Santiagomost of Santiago
TarapacáCL.TACI13I428,59458,073IquiqueTarapacá, small part of Antofagasta
13 regions15,116,435736,903
  • Region: In the tables that follow, I will use shorter forms of the four longest region names.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced by hyphens, these are the
    same as the region codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Rom: Chile uses Roman numerals for the regions other than Santiago, sequenced from north to south.
  • Population: 2002-04-24 census. Source: INE Chile.
  • Former provinces: Provinces that were reorganized into this region.
  1. 1985: Name of Aconcagua region changed to Valparaíso.
  2. 2007-10-02: Los Ríos region formed by taking Valdivia province from Los Lagos.
  3. 2007-10-08: Arica and Parinacota region formed by taking Arica and Parinacota provinces from Tarapacá.
  4. 2017-08-02: Ñuble region formed by taking the provinces of Diguillín, Itata, and Punilla from Biobio region (former HASC code CL.BI). These changes are to be implemented 2018-09-08. See source [9].

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo: Aisén, Aysén (informal); Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (variant)
  2. Araucanía: Araucánia (Portuguese); Araucanie (French); La Araucanía (variant)
  3. Arica and Parinacota: Arica y Parinacota (Spanish)
  4. Bío-Bío: Biobío (variant)
  5. Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins: Libertador (informal)
  6. Los Lagos: Os Lagos (Portuguese)
  7. Magallanes y Antártica Chilena: Magalhães (Portuguese); Magellan et Antarctique Chilienne (French); Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena (formal)
  8. Región Metropolitana de Santiago: Região Metropolitana de Santiago (Portuguese); Région Metropolitaine de Santiago (French); Región Metropolitana (variant)
  9. Valparaíso: Aconcagua (obsolete)

Population history:

Arica y Parinacota212.813
Los Lagos843,430953,3301,073,135767.714
Los Ríos364.183
13 regions11,275,44013,231,80315,116,43516.341.929


Aconcagua10,204132,730118,049128,378154,075161,262San Felipe
Aysén88,98442,92517,01426,26231,51848,858Puerto Aysén
Bío-Bío11,248100,495127,312138,292165,975193,508Los Ángeles
Colchagua8,431159,421131,248139,531167,459168,516San Fernando
Coquimbo39,889178,731245,609262,169314,647340,215La Serena
Llanquihue18,407113,285117,225139,986168,005199,314Puerto Montt
Magallanes135,41823,65048,81355,11966,25889,443Punta Arenas
Osorno9,083 107,341123,059147,693160,159Osorno
  • Data for 1910 and 1957 are estimates; the others are census data.
  • 1910 population of Tacna province (now part of Peru) is included in Aysén.
  • 1970: Adjustment for undercount, which is estimated to be 4.8%, not included.


  1. [1] Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th Edition, Chicago, 1984: Chile article
  2. [2] "Intendentes y Gobernadores, Organos de Gobierno Interior", by Hernán Figueroa Escuti, Editorial Juridica de Chile, Santiago, 1953.
  3. [3] 1940 population data from "Chile XI Censo de Población (1940)", Centro Latino de Demografia.
  4. [4] División Político Administrativa y Censal 2007 , Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (INE: National Statistics Institute) (long download).
  5. [5] Library of Congress country study  (retrieved 1999).
  6. [6] 1979 Demographic Yearbook , 31st Ed. Statistical Office, United Nations, New York, 1980 (retrieved 2011-12-28).
  7. [7] Resultados, XVIII Censo de Población 2012 , Tomo I. INE (retrieved 2014-03-17).
  8. [8] "Isla de Pascua y Juan Fernández serán territorios especiales." La Nación (, dead link, dated 2007-06-06, retrieved 2008-03-06).
  9. [9] Creates the XVI Region of Ñuble and the Provinces of Ovinces of Diguillín, Punillia abd Itata  (retrieved 2018-03-13).


  1. Sorin Cosoveanu
    2018-03-13 - Alerted us to the creation of three new provinces and the new region of Ñuble passed 2017-08-02. It will be implemented on 2018-09-08.
Back to main statoids page Last updated: 2018-03-13
Copyright © 2004-2006, 2008-2011, 2013-2016 by Gwillim Law.
Copyright © 2018 by Shirley Law.