One in nine Colombians, around five million people, live on less than $110 a month, said the head of the government planning department, local media reported Friday.
Hernando Jose Gomez, director of the planning department, which designs and implements economic development policies, announced the figure and added that the situation is cause for concern.
Gomez said that “Right now there are five million people who are on these very low levels of income, which should set alarms bells ringing because it is evident that we have a serious problem here.”
The government official said that this is happening despite the fact that the country “is generating good economic growth and a good level of well-being … We cannot leave behind all the people who are right now just surviving.”
He said that these people “are operating in the informal sector, they are behind in terms of education levels, they have big problems relating to housing and it is here that the government is trying to focus the majority of social policy.”
The latest figures from the National Statistics Department (DANE) show that in 2009, 45.5% of the population, some 19.8 million people, find themselves in poverty. The same figures illustrate that 16.4%, or 7.1 million, live in extreme poverty or indigence.