The city of Concepción in southern Chile is a coastal urban area. It has a population of approximately 230,000 people. The city is also the capital of the Bío Bío Region, a major port city and an important administrative hub. Due to its geographical location, the city is the most heavily industrialized region in the country.
However, in the past years, the number of people living in poverty has increased, and vulnerable children, young people and families are in need of extra support.
Since 1971, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Concepción.
The official Chilean unemployment rate grew to nearly 8% in 2022. In addition, 27% of people work in the precarious informal economy. Women are more likely to be unemployed or face worse working conditions than men.
Despite the repair work implemented in response to the 2010 earthquake, unemployment levels have steadily increased in the region. Thousands left Concepción in search of work in neighbouring cities. In many cases they have been forced to leave their young children behind, often with grandparents or other relatives.
Natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting the lives of many children, young people and families in Concepción.
As a coastal town, Concepción suffered the most violent effects from the 8.8 magnitude earthquake and the resultant tsunami that hit Chile in 2010. Basic infrastructure was destroyed, leaving tens of thousands of people without homes.
More recently, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this region experienced some of the highest increases in poverty in the country.