The Region of Atacama stretches between the parallels 25° 17´and 29° 11´latitude south and from the meridian 68° 17´longitude west up to the Pacific ocean. Therefore, limits northwards with the Region of Antofagasta, southwards with the Region of Coquimbo, and eastwards with Argentina and westwards with the Pacific ocean. It has a surface of 75.176, 2km2 (corresponding to the 9, 94% of continental or islander Chile.
According to the 2002 Census, this region has 254.336 inhabitants (equivalent to the 1, 68% of the national total) and a density of 3, 38 inhab/km2.
Copiapo is the capital city and is divided in three provinces, Copiapo, Huasco and Chañaral.
The first province has a surface of 32.538,5 km2 and is the most populated region since 155.713 people lives in it.
It has three communities: Copiapo, Caldera and Tierra Amarilla.
The second one reaches a surface of 18.201, 5km2 and 66.491 persons inhabits in it, comprising four communities Huasco, Vallenar, Freirina and Alto del Carmen.
The third one has a surface of 24.436,2 km2 and a population of 32.132 inhabitants. It has two communities: Chañaral and Diego de Almagro.
The Region of Atacama is the fourth least populated in the country, behind the regions of Aisen, Magallanes and Arica and Parinacota. More of the 50% of its population inhabits in the cities of Copiapo and Vallenar.
Concerning the population distribution by gender, there is a certain proportion at regional level since men are the 50, 78% of the population and women the 49, 22%.
As above mentioned, this region is divided in three provinces: Copiapo, Huasco and Chañaral.
The capital of the province of Copiapo is the same regional one and includes the following communities:
– Copiapo: with a surface of 16.681,3 km2 and a population of 129.091 inhabitants, out of which 125.983 lives in urban zones.
– Caldera: it has a population of 13.734 inhabitants (7.237 men and 6.497 women) and a surface of 4.666,6 km2. Only 194 persons live in rural zones in this community.
– Tierra Amarilla: with as surface of 11.190,6 km2 and a population of 12.888 inhabitants, out of which, 7,277 are men and 5.611 are women.
The province of Huasco capital city is Vallenar and includes the following communities.
– Huasco: with a population of 7.945 inhabitants (3.999 men and 3.946 women)) which means an increase of 429 persons in relationship to the 1992 figures, and it has a surface of 1, 601, 4 km2.
– Vallenar: it has an extension of 7.083,7 km2 and a population of 48.040 out of which 23.284 are men and 24.756 are women.
– Freirina: it reaches a surface of 3.577,7 km2 and a total population of 5.666 inhabitants, which augmented in 445 if compared with the 1992 statistics.
– Alto del Carmen: with a total population of 4.840 inhabitants, out of which the 100% lives in rural zones. Besides, 2629 are men and 2.211 are women.
The capital of the province of Chañaral is the city likewise named and includes the following communities:
– Diego de Almagro: it has an extension of 18.663,8 km2 and a population of 18.589 inhabitants, out of which 10,031 are men and 8.558 are women. This community concentrates the major population, thou when comparing the 1992 and 2002 statistics; it showed an important decrease of 8.926 persons.
– Chañaral: its population is of 13.543 inhabitants (6.968 are men and 6.575 are women). This figure meant a decrease of 393 persons in relationship with the previous Census.