Poverty in Colombia

The facts:
  • Colombia's estimated population for July 2010 was 44,205,293(1)
  • 45.5% of Colombians were living in poverty (the national poverty line) in 2009(2)
  • It only decreased .5% since the recorded 46% in 2008(2)
  • Estimating, the number of Colombians currently living below the poverty line is about 20,113,408
  • In 2002, the Poverty Reduction & Equity section of The World Bank reported that despite substantial economic growth in the past, Colombia's economic setback lead the poverty rate to bounce back to that of 1988(3)
  • In comparison to the rest of the population, "the poverty rate of ethnic and racial minorities is 1.6 times higher"(4)

The graphs below are a visual representation of some of the facts.

Data from World Bank
Data from World Bank
 Why does so much poverty exist in Colombia?

 Many reasons have been attributed as to why poverty is still so prevalent in Colombia, but the most common are these: some scholars believe that income inequality is still too large(5) and that as it grows larger, the intensity of the impoverished people grows. Other critics claim that the biggest reason is actually "the decades of internal conflict and violence"(6). They assert that issues like the government having to deal with battling the drug trafficking and the FARC (the biggest and oldest guerrilla organization in Colombia) leads to less attention being paid to improving the poverty status. More recently, the economic setback has been the one to be blamed for the situation(3), it is declared that the economic drawback leads to workers earning less or being fired, parents being less able to afford the school fees, and families sending their children to work rather than school.