Chileans’ thirst for innovation, education, and creative solutions has made the country a leader in Latin America. Now the country’s vibrant people are being recognized by the World Economic Forum, pushing Chile to second in the region in the international organization’s Human Capital Index.
Chile ranked 36 out of 122 countries, coming in just after Costa Rica (35) placing it second in all of Latin America. The index makes it clear that as Chile continues to assert itself as an economic leader in the region, it is the Chilean people that are the driving force behind its progress.
“A nation’s human capital endowment — the skills and capacities that reside in people and that are put to productive use — can be a more important determinant of its long term economic success than virtually any other resource,” the report says.
Among the many factors that led to Chile’s strong ranking were the numerous positive advancements in public health. The Andean nation is a stand out for infant nutrition and health, coming in first in this subcategory. As the report points out, childhood health is vital to a country’s future health as “early childhood is the most important phase for overall development throughout the lifespan.”
Chile also received high marks for the country’s life expectancy. Currently the average Chilean now lives to 79 matching the levels of top developed countries like Canada, Australia and the United States. This long term health can have a big impact on the Andean nation’s future. The report emphasizes the critical role health plays in the strength of any population to generate success and progress for any country.
“Traditionally, human capital has been viewed as a function of education and experience, the latter reflecting both training and learning by doing. But in recent years, health (including physical capacities, cognitive function and mental health) has come to be seen as a fundamental component of human capital,” the report says.
Chileans continue to make headlines for innovate ways to improve health, technology, and the environment such as research by Chilean hospitals to sanitize using copper or Chilean scientists discovering new ways to detect cancer.
The next generation of Chilean big thinkers have already been making waves as well. Just last month two high school students were awarded the Stockholm Water Prize by the Princess of Sweden for their groundbreaking work in Antarctica that could dramatically improve environmental cleanup projects around the world.
Trailing just behind Chile were Panama (42), Uruguay (48), and Brazil (57).