Santiago is the capital of, and the largest city in, Chile. It is the centre of Chile's most densely populated region, the Santiago Metropolitan Region. The current population of Santiago is more than 6.8 million, which is 35% of the entire country's population.
While Santiago has modernized greatly in the past couple of decades and has seen vast socio-economic growth, poverty and income inequality both remain significantly high.
Since 1967, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Santiago-Madreselvas.
Around 23% of young children who should be in school, do not actually go to school. Many of these children who are not enrolled in school come from poverty-stricken households and neighbourhoods.
Children between the ages of 5 and 17 are often forced to drop out of school to contribute to the family earnings.
Several surveys have revealed a close relationship between educational levels and wage inequality. Without a basic education, employment opportunities remain scarce.
While 9% of the population in Santiago lives in poverty, throughout Chile there is an unequal distribution of wealth. Poverty eradication measures have been mostly successful around the region. However, policies to address income inequality have been overlooked.
A recent study showed that the income of the richest in Chile was 13.6 times greater than those of the poorest. Some Chilean workers in the metropolitan areas earn $550 a month or less. Inflation and increasing costs of a partially privatized education system has made access to basic needs challenging.