World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Chilean American


Chilean American

Chilean American
Total population

0.05% of the U.S. population (2012)[1]

Location of Chile
Regions with significant populations
New York Metro Area, Northern New Jersey, Metropolitan Miami, Greater Los Angeles, Washington Metro Area
Spanish, American English
Roman Catholicism (predominantly), Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Judaism,
Related ethnic groups
other Hispanic and Latino Americans, Spaniards, other Europeans, others
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, 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 or around cities. In recent history, it is for economic or academic rather than political reasons that Chileans emigrate.


  • History 1
  • Motives of immigration 2
  • Demographics 3
    • Population by state 3.1
    • Population by urban agglomeration 3.2
    • Population by city proper 3.3
    • Population by percentage 3.4
  • Notable Chilean Americans 4
  • Chileans abroad 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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, 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 immigration

Most Chilean immigration to the U.S. has occurred largely within the last 25 years.[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]


Population by state

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 agglomeration

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 proper

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

Population by percentage

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

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

Actress and model Leonor Varela
Laser physicist Frank Duarte
Nobel laureate Gabriela Mistral
Singer and songwriter Francisca Valenzuela

Chileans abroad

Of the 857,781 Chilean expatriates around the globe, 13.3% (114,084) live in the United States, 50.1% reside in Argentina, 8.8% in Brazil, 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.[7][8][9]

See also


  1. ^ a b US Census Bureau 2012 American Community Survey B03001 1-Year Estimates HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY SPECIFIC ORIGIN retrieved September 20, 2013
  2. ^ Chileans in California
  3. ^ Consulado General de Chile en San Francisco, California, EEUU
  4. ^ American River Rafting – Information, Descriptions, Resources and Conservation W.E.T. River Trips
  5. ^ Articles: Chilenos in the California Gold Rush, 1848–49 – Historical Text Archive
  6. ^ a b c Chilean Americans
  7. ^ (Spanish)
  8. ^ía a los Chilenos en el Mundo
  9. ^ (Spanish)


  • US Census Chilean Factpage
  • Are We Really So Fearful? by Ariel Dorfman Washington Post 10/24/06

External links

  • Historical Text Archive History of Chileans and the California Gold Rush
  • Rosales and the Chilean miners in California PBS American Experience the Gold Rush
    • (Spanish)
  • Cámara Chileno Norteamericana de Comercio (AMCHAM) Chilean American Chamber of Commerce
    • (English)
  • The Avalon Project (Yale Law School) Chilean Diplomacy
  • La Peña Cultural Center a major Chilean community and political activism center in Berkeley, California
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.