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What is the Richest Country in South America?


South America is a continent that’s rich in diversity, cultures, and history. Every single country in this part of the world has something unique to offer—whether it’s in biodiversity, industry, tradition, or more. The continent also draws a lot of tourism due to the fact that South America is just stunning. From mountain peaks and rainforests to beautiful beaches and vibrant cities, South America has it all. It’s no surprise that many of the continent’s economies are thriving. Every nation in South America is pushing for development and progress, but one country is standing out among the rest when it comes to economical advances: Chile.


The Republic of Chile, a thin strip of land right along the Pacific Ocean, is the richest country is South America. Chile is almost a sleeper country. It’s probably most famous for the Nobel Prize-winning poets it has produced over the years. After all, Chile is often referred to as the país de poetas or country of poets. While this may be true in some way, Chile offers more than many give it credit for. For one, Chile is known for the Andes Mountains that cover about 80% of the entire country. This interesting fact actually comes into play with the country’s economy, since this geographical feature makes only 3.8% of Chilean land arable. Chile is also known for its many volcanoes—90 to be exact. The driest desert on Earth can also be found in Chile, the Atacama Desert.

There are many other geographical and ecological factors that make up Chile. While Chile in its natural state is breathtaking, the urban development in the country is just as impressive. Chile has one of the highest standards of living in all of South America. Although there’s a huge disparity between the living conditions of the wealthy and the poor, there are plenty of opportunities for economical growth for every Chilean citizen. It’s not surprising to hear that Chile has the lowest level of poverty among all Latin American nations, but it’s impressive considering the country’s population of almost 19 million.


This socio-economic status can largely be attributed to Chile’s highly developed and incredibly strong economy. The country has several industries it relies on for economic stability and growth. Agriculture remains to be one of the country’s biggest GDP contributors, supplying about 4.9% of the total percentage. Agriculture also provides jobs for about 13.6% of the country’s workforce. The main sectors of agriculture for Chile include fishing, logging, and forestry. In fact, the country’s is surprisingly the 2ndlargest producer of salmon in world with production at 22% of the world’s total. Given that only a small percentage of Chile’s land is farmable, agriculture produce only account for a small percentage of the industry GDP. However, because of the different climatic conditions throughout the stretch of the country, Chile is able to produce a large variety of fruits and vegetables all throughout the year.


Mining is also one of Chile’s strongest industries and is actually considered to be the pillar of the country’s economy. The mining atmosphere in Chile has favored foreign investments, which provides 6.7% of the country’s GDP. Chile is the global capital of copper mining, producing a third of the world’s copper output. Chile is a great source for other minerals such as gold, silver, iron, and others.


Another industry, tourism, has experienced an unprecedented growth in the last few years. The tourism sector generates about 1.6 billion CLP. Chile has seen an increase of European and North American visitors recently due to favorable tourism factors such as modern amenities and infrastructures, high standards of living, temperate climates, and unique geographical attractions. Other industry sectors in Chile include the finance and service industries, which are all significant contributors to the country’s total GDP.


Chile’s 2019 GDP was $282.32 billion USD, which ranked the country as having the 42ndhighest GDP globally—trailing only behind large economies such as Singapore and Denmark. While Chile’s GDP ranks the country well, it’s not the only reason why it’s considered a rich country in South America. There are several other factors that make the country ultimately successful and trailblazing. Chile is one of the world’s leading nations when it comes to social advancement. The country believes and promotes economic freedom—something that many other Latin American nations are limited in. This has allowed Chile to progress quickly and maintain a steady growth. The globalization activity in this country has allowed Chile to interact with some of the world’s economic heavy hitters such as the US and Europe. Foreign investments have paved the way for Chile’s economy to be boom and eventually be recognized as a valid resource in the Americas.

Human Development

When it comes to human development, Chile again leads the South American continent. With the lowest rates of poverty, violent crime, and corruption, Chile’s standards of life just gets better and better. The thing to remember about this achievement is that it didn’t happen over night. There was a time when a different country occupied the spot of the richest country in South America. However, Chile’s governing bodies and citizens have all worked together to build up their nation into what it has become today. Even then, the work is never done, and it will take the cooperative efforts of Chile’s citizens in order to keep the country in this standing. Being the richest country in South America is definitely something to be proud of. But being a country that has advanced in aspects of human development and culture is something that’s beyond measure. Chile is in the position to continue this streak, and all other South American countries should take heed and follow suit.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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