Is Chile A First World Country?

Chile is the first country in Latin America to lay claim to First World status. Chile has left a good impression in the minds of visitors, many who were shocked to find such a contrast with the conditions they found in other countries on the continent. Chile is certainly more European than many other Latin American countries because many Europeans migrated there, and became part of its society.

Chile has a population of around 18 million people, and a land area of 756,096.3 km2. The country’s geography is unique; it is essentially a narrow but very long stretch of land, and it is coastline.

This extensive coastline presents opportunities for tourism, agriculture, industry, trade, and energy. This makes it no surprise that Chile has prospered, and that it has gained the attention of the whole world, with a bit of controversy about its exact status.

Is Chile A First World Country?

As mentioned above, there is a bit of controversy about exactly how to classify Chile. For the sake of clarity, let it be stated that Chile is an industrialized country. Some economists call Chile a “First World” country, while others call it a “Second World” country.

Keep in mind that there is no particular yardstick by which a country can merit this status. The term is outdated, and the metrics are unclear. Do you know the history of the phrase “First World” country, and what it means?

The First “First World”

The phrase “First World” was coined during the Cold War. It had a political meaning and was used to describe countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

Those countries had a few things in common; they were very close or friendly with the United Kingdom, and they were Capitalist Countries.

Remember that the term had a political connotation, and that it coined at a time of war. It essentially meant countries that supported the US as it fought the Soviet Union.

By the first meaning of the term, Chile could have been called a First World country, although it did not have the political weight needed to be called one.

On the other side of the political divide; countries that supported the Soviet Union were called the “Second World.” Some of the characteristics of Second World countries include Communism as the official economic structure, lack of freedom to their citizens, and militarization of their societies.

The Second Meaning Of “First World”

When the Cold War ended, the term “First World” should have become obsolete, but instead it was given a new meaning. The phrase “First World” now means Rich Countries. It is used alternatively with other terms like “developed countries,” and “industrialized countries.”

This is an economic connotation, but not surprisingly, it has alluded to the same countries as the previous meaning. First World countries include Germany, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and many other countries of Western Europe.

Characteristics of First World countries today include high carbon footprints as a result of huge energy demands needed to power the industries upon which their industries depend.

First world countries even today are mostly capitalist countries, and most of the wealth is held in private hands.

First World countries have high literacy and human development rates, they have high GDP per capita figures, and they usually have low unemployment rates.

“Second World” and “Third World” countries are those that fall below the First World classification. As this is an economic classification, it is directly related to the level of development that the country in question.

The “Second World” countries are mostly located in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and parts of Asia. Third World Countries are mostly located in Africa, especially in Sub Saharan African.

How Does Chile Fare?

Chile Has A Strong Economy

Chile has a strong and diversified economy. It is the first Latin American country to join the OECD- a feat it was able to accomplish because of prudent management of public funds, and efficient judicial system, and hard working culture.

Some of the key sectors in this country include agriculture, mining, fishing, manufacturing, retail commerce and services. Some of the country’s main products include copper, gold, wine, fruits (apples, grapes, oranges), wood, cars, and so on.

Chile Has A Stable Political Structure

Chile has quite a complicated but highly effective government system; it has a two chamber parliament (Senate, and Chamber of Deputies), as well as a very effective judicial system.

There is also a President wielding executive powers which are counter balanced by the parliament. The constitution of the country is the supreme letter of the law, and the judicial system has been hailed as efficient by several quarters.

Chile is a democracy, and quite an established one at that. It runs a multi party system of democracy, and the handover from one government to the next is usually smooth.

Other Indices

Chile performs well in other important indices by which development is measured; the country has a high rating when it comes to human development, competitiveness, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. In these indices Chile tops most other Latin American countries.

Chile is a hub for tourism and culture; it is a place of particular interest to people from Europe who come visiting in large numbers so as to enjoy the culture, as well as the jollies that the country has to offer to tourists.

Chile has therefore built an economy that is very well diversified, and culture that thrives by being open and welcoming to people from all over the world.



Chile is a “First World” country by many standards. It is the first Latin American country to attain this status despite having such a young democracy. Chile stands out on the continent by building a country that works by upholding the tenets of social justice, and equity.

The good and effect political system has led to prosperous society; one that thrives on investments both foreign and local.