Welfare is unevenly distributed in Colombia.
The gaps between rich and poor are among the largest in
the world. In the cities of the highlands, it is
generally better than in the countryside. In the big
cities, the differences are also clear. A large number
of street children survive through begging, petty crime
According to official figures, the proportion of poor
people has dropped from half the population around the
turn of the millennium to just over a quarter of 2017.
This means that several million people have left
poverty. The proportion of extremely poor people has
dropped from almost 18 percent to just over 7 percent.
But the regional differences are large and mainly in the
countryside there are still many suffering from
malnutrition, poor housing, diseases and illiteracy.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Colombia, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Colombia is one of the world's most violent
countries, mainly because of the civil war and the drug
mafia. Over the years, millions of Colombians have been
forced to flee their homes because of the conflict, but
remain within the country's borders. For a number of
years, the country had the highest number of internal
refugees in the world (now Syria has more). The state
has an obligation to provide refugees, but in practice
the aid is slow and many of them live in misery. Anyone
forced to flee because of threats and violence from the
military or paramilitary was not considered by law as an
internal refugee until the Constitutional Court changed
it in a ruling in 2013.
However, in recent years, violence has decreased and
big cities such as Bogotá, Medellín and Cali are buzzing
with commerce in the days and nightlife in the evenings,
whereas in the past they were more or less closed down
after dark. Traveling has increased on the roads where
kidnappings and robberies were previously imminent
risks. The countryside is also safer.
Colombia has had a mandatory social security system
since the 1970s, including pensions, sickness benefits
and unemployment benefits for employees and
self-employed people. It is financed jointly by the
state, employers and employees. Health care should in
principle be free of charge for poor groups. But access
is limited, especially in the countryside.
Gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT people)
have gained legal success, including a joint venture
that gives gays the right to inherit their partner. In
practice, there is great opposition from the Catholic
Church and other conservative and traditional forces.
However, the Constitutional Court ruled in 2015 that
same-sex couples have the same right to adopt as
heterosexual couples. A year later, Colombia legalized
same-sex marriage. Thus, the country became the fourth
(after Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil) in South America
to allow gay couples to marry.
After the 2018 election, 15 percent of the elected
members of the House of Representatives are women, and
30 percent of the senators. According to the law, women
must receive at least 30 percent of all higher
positions appointed by the government.
Colombia is a traditionally male-dominated society.
The man is regarded as the head of the family and is
considered to be responsible for maintaining the
family's honor and position. This machismo culture is
weakening in cities where more and more women have
prominent positions and well-paid jobs, but it lives on
in rural areas. Violence against women is common, and
human trafficking is widespread, as is sexual
exploitation of children.
Since 2006, abortion has been permitted if the
woman's life is in danger, if the fetus is not viable or
if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. In
practice, resistance from conservative forces, not least
within the Catholic Church, is an obstacle in these
cases as well.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
12 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.4 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
96.5 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
89.6 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
6.2 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
$ 340 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
18 percent (2018)
New demonstrations with release requirements
Tens of thousands of Colombians are demonstrating in many parts of the
country to demand that Farc release the people he still holds.
Farc prisoners killed
The guerrillas kill four soldiers who have been held hostage for over twelve
years. This happens when the government army approaches the guerrilla base in
the Caqueta region.
Educational reform is withdrawn
After continuing student protests against plans to partially privatize higher
education, Congress is withdrawing its proposal. The students have been inspired
by similar protests in Chile.
Farc's leader killed, new leader appointed
Alfonso Cano is killed in a firefight with the army (see also May
2008). His death is seen as a great success for President Santos. The
guerrilla quickly appoints a successor: Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, who goes by
the cover name Timochenko.
Security service is discontinued
Santos decides to close the DAS security service after all the scandals (see
February 2011). A new organization, ANI (Agencia Nacional de
Inteligencia), is to be formed and responsible to the President.
Municipal elections are held
Violence has increased in connection with the municipal elections, some 40
candidates or possible candidates have been killed since the election process
began in February. About 300,000 soldiers and police are deployed to protect
voters. In Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, former leader of the M19 guerrilla, wins the
mayor's election with promises of zero tolerance against corruption. Petro is
lining up for the newly formed Colombian progressive movement.
Ex-spy boss convicted
The Supreme Court sentenced former spy boss Jorge Noguera to 25 years in
prison for, among other things, cooperating with paramilitary death patrols.
Another 20 agents have been sentenced to prison.
Changes in the defense line
Santos replaces several leading military - the army, the navy and the air
force get new commanders - and the army receives extra funding.
Farcattacks against the oil industry
Farc sets fire to oil transport and blasts a warehouse near the Venezuela
border, where a thousand barrels of oil are estimated to be wasted. Despite many
setbacks, guerrillas are more active than for several years, with an increasing
number of attacks on both civilians and military. Farc seems to have reverted to
more traditional guerrilla tactics and is also said to be recruiting new
Giant protests against the government
Hundreds of thousands of students and trade unionists gather for large
demonstrations against the government. The students oppose that the state
universities receive private money. Trade unions require measures to reduce
unemployment and efforts to reduce violence against union activists.