The national population density is 46.5 persons per square mile.Almost six million people live in the metropolitan region of Santiago, while the northern and southern regions are sparsely populated.Today they fill leading positions in academic and cultural circles as well as within the country's political leadership.Nevertheless, many Chileans are often not even aware of their ethnic and cultural backgrounds and they firmly embrace the dominant culture of mainstream society. Chilean culture is located within the confines of the Republic of Chile, although today some 800,000 Chileans are living abroad.In the northern region some twenty thousand indigenous people also speak Aymará, while most of Chile's Mapuche population speak or at least understand their ancestral language, Mapudungu.In Eastern Island the two thousand native inhabitants speak their own language of Polynesian origin.The capital city, Santiago, is located in the central region and constitutes the political, cultural, and economic center of the country, and the homeland of the historically dominant Central Valley culture.Chile is administratively divided in twelve regions (subdivided in thirty-one provinces) and a metropolitan region that includes the capital city. Chile has a population of 15,017,800 inhabitants (from a June 1999 estimate) with an annual growth rate of 1.8 percent.
Some 25 percent of Chileans are of European ancestry (mainly from Spanish, German, Italian, British, Croatian, and French origins, or combinations there of).In contrast to many other Latin American nations, Chile has not experienced the emergence of strong regionalism or conflicting regional cultural identities.Since the late nineteenth century, both the northern and southern regions have been mainly populated by people coming from the central region, helping to strengthen the country's cultural homogeneity.Notwithstanding the existence of a strong dominant national culture, some cultural regional traditions can be identified.
In the northern provinces near Bolivia, Aymará Indians have been able to preserve many aspects of their Andean culture.
Formidable natural barriers mark present-day Chile's boundaries, isolating the country from the rest of South America.