There were 39% more millionaires in Colombia in 2012 than there were in 2007, according to a WealthInsight report released last week.
Despite there being a 0.3 percent decrease in the number of millionaires around the world in the same time frame, the report, titled Colombia: Paisas and their Pesos, said that the Andean country had created 14,000 new millionaires in the five-year time period, reaching a total of 35,900 millionaires by 2012.
As well as millionaires, the report also pointed out a sharp rise in the number of multi-millionaires (people with worth more than $30 million) in the country. According to the report, the number of multi-millionaires in Colombia rose from 292 in 2007 to 435 in 2012, signifying a 49 percent increase.
The report expected the number of Colombian millionaires to continue growing, estimating the total number to grow by 36% before 2007, with some 48,600 millionaires by that year. The number of multi-millionaires is expected to increase by 36%, meaning around 590 by 2017.
A Financial Times analysis of the report pointed to the growth of the consumer goods economy — now representing two thirds of the total economic activity in a country once known for its millionaire drug barons — as the reason for the new wealth among the country’s millionaires and multi-millionaires.
This year, the Colombian economy is forecast a to grow at a rate of 4.4 percent.
Colombia’s GDP growth
However, Colombia’s poor have seen little of the new wealth being created in the country. According to the United Nations, Colombia has the most unequal urban areas in Latin America, with the country’s second-largest city Medellin singled out for a particularly troublesome distribution of wealth.
Despite this, the situation is gradually improving. The World Bank measures poverty levels worldwide and found that 34 percent of Colombia’s entire population lived below the globally accepted poverty line in 2011, compared with 42 percent in 2008.
In April 2012 economics website Portafolio reported that the average yearly wage in Colombia was $8300, less than half the global average. The average yearly wage in the United States is $39,100.