An Assessment of Poverty in Colombia

Poverty in ColombiaIn recent years, Colombia has successfully taken measures to reduce the issues that contribute to poverty, particularly in the worse urban areas. However, land displacement due to violent conflict still causes a significant portion of the population to be affected by extreme poverty in Colombia.

Approximately 29 percent of the population of Colombia live in extreme poverty. The constant violence and illegal occupation in Colombia is partly at fault for the number of those who continue to struggle. Families who have been displaced struggle to provide their daily needs, particularly the indigenous and Afro-Latino communities.

Small farmworkers in particular are victims of displacement, as the recent reduction in poverty in Colombia is partly due to many of the small farmers abandoning their careers to find new work in urban areas with less conflict. Here, they are able to generate sustainable income and provide for their families.

However, as is the case in many impoverished urban areas, there is little security of employment or reliable access to education and health services. While the lack of human security allows the issues contributing to poverty to fester, Colombia has been lately successful at poverty reduction by focusing on reducing crime and conflict in the two largest cities, Bogota and Medellin. By targeting these areas, surrounding cities have also improved.

In the past decade, the number of citizens living in extreme poverty in Colombia has been cut in half. Doing so through times in conflict shows the overall ability of Colombians to reduce poverty, the results of which would be vastly greater if violent conflicts could be reduced as well.

Gerardo Corrochano says when speaking to the World Bank, “The current face of Colombia is completely different and its future, promising.” With continued international aid and investment in infrastructure, Corrochano believes that Colombia can eradicate poverty and sustain peace for the people. Colombia is now considered to have a more middle class than an impoverished population, which displays the progress that the nation has already made.

Amanda Panella
Photo: Flickr