Poverty and inequality

Poverty in Colombia decreased in last year after a major surge caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Colombia’s poverty rate

Colombia poverty rate dropped slightly in 2022, the statistics agency DANE said in its annual report.

According to the DANE, almost 19 million people lived off less than $97,94 (COP396,864) per month last year.

Some 13.8% of the population earned less than $49 (COP198,698) per month in 2022.


Lowering poverty and income inequality in Colombia are most visibly urgent when looking at the country’s undernourishment rate.

This scourge wasn’t really addressed until former government of President Juan Manuel Santos took office in 2010, but policies lost effect after President Ivan Duque took office in 2018.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has yet to release the 2020 and 2021 estimates.

Rising undernourishment levels are particularly affecting particularly women who are having trouble putting enough food on the table, according to pollster Gallup.

Preliminary information on unemployment indicates that the disparity between men and women suffering food deficiencies is likely to have increased further.

Food deficiency

The pollster found a similar trend when it comes to finding adequate housing. Also here, this disparity is expected to have grown since 2020.

Deficient housing

Income distribution

Colombia’s extreme income inequality increased in 2018 after a decade of gradual decrease. The top 10% of the country’s earners received almost 40% of the country’s income, which is 10 times what the bottom 20% earned, according to the World Bank.

GINI coefficient

The extreme disparity in wealth between the country’s elite and the 346 toddlers who died of malnutrition in 2018 has been difficult to combat. The country’s 2019 GINI coefficient increased for a second consecutive year to 5.26.

Urban vs. rural Colombia

Poverty in Colombia’s countryside has traditionally been considerably higher than in the cities and has grown significantly during the Duque administration.

Regional poverty distribution

Choco continued to be Colombia’s poorest province with a poverty rate of 68.4% in 2019. Almost 39% of the people in the largely Afrocolombian province were living in extreme poverty. Peripheral provinces with a relatively large indigenous population like La Guajira and Cauca also saw extraordinarily high levels of poverty.

The poverty rate in the capital Bogota and Colombia’s five biggest provincial capitals is historically considerably lower than on the countryside.

With the exception of Cartagena, poverty in all major cities rose in 2019 and is expected to have surged during the coronavirus crisis more than in rural regions where agriculture was able to provide labor stability.

Poverty rates in Colombia’s biggest cities

Infant mortality

Poverty and communities’ lack of access to health care was blamed for a large number of the infant deaths. According to the World Bank, more than 12 of every thousand babies died before their first birthday.

Infant mortality rate

The regions most affected by high child mortality are historically neglected regions on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, the eastern plains and the Amazon jungle.

Infant mortality rate per province

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