Territorial units — Chile’s administrative system

Chile is a centralised unitary state with two tiers of governance at the sub-national level. The first tier consists of 15 regions and the second tier of 345 municipalities (comunas). Between the regions and the municipalities, there are 52 provinces with very limited administrative responsibilities (see Annex 1.A1). Municipalities are the only local authorities in Chile with competences in a number of key areas. A summary of the composition, organisation and functions of the different regional, provincial and local governments is provided in Annex 1.A1. Chile’s 15 regions correspond to Territorial Level 2 (TL2) regions in the OECD classification, and the 52 provinces to TL3 regions in the OECD typology (see Annex 1.A2).

Municipalities in Chile are relatively big in terms of size and number of inhabitants. In comparison to the OECD, Chile’s 345 municipalities are quite big, both in terms of surface area and of inhabitants living in them. On average, Chilean municipalities host around five times more inhabitants than across the OECD, only surpassed by Korea, the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand and Denmark. In terms of surface area, only Australia, New Zealand and Canada displayed municipalities with a larger average surface size.

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