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South America :: Colombia Print
Page last updated on November 24, 2020
  • Introduction :: Colombia
  • Background field listing

    Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged after the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A decades-long conflict between government forces, paramilitaries, and antigovernment insurgent groups heavily funded by the drug trade, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), escalated during the 1990s. More than 31,000 former United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries demobilized by the end of 2006, and the AUC as a formal organization ceased to operate. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, illegal armed groups arose, whose members include some former paramilitaries. After four years of formal peace negotiations, the Colombian Government signed a final peace accord with the FARC in November 2016, which was subsequently ratified by the Colombian Congress. The accord calls for members of the FARC to demobilize, disarm, and reincorporate into society and politics. The accord also committed the Colombian Government to create three new institutions to form a 'comprehensive system for truth, justice, reparation, and non-repetition,' to include a truth commission, a special unit to coordinate the search for those who disappeared during the conflict, and a 'Special Jurisdiction for Peace' to administer justice for conflict-related crimes. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to expand its presence into every one of its administrative departments. Despite decades of internal conflict and drug-related security challenges, Colombia maintains relatively strong democratic institutions characterized by peaceful, transparent elections and the protection of civil liberties.

  • Geography :: Colombia
  • Location field listing
    Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    4 00 N, 72 00 W
    Map references field listing
    South America
    Area field listing
    total: 1,138,910 sq km
    land: 1,038,700 sq km
    water: 100,210 sq km

    note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank

    country comparison to the world: 27
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly less than twice the size of Texas
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 6,672 km
    border countries (5): Brazil 1790 km, Ecuador 708 km, Panama 339 km, Peru 1494 km, Venezuela 2341 km
    Coastline field listing
    3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    Climate field listing
    tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
    Terrain field listing
    flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos)
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 593 m
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,730 m
    Natural resources field listing
    petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 37.5% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 1.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.6% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 34.5% (2011 est.)
    forest: 54.4% (2011 est.)
    other: 8.1% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    10,900 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    the majority of people live in the north and west where agricultural opportunities and natural resources are found; the vast grasslands of the llanos to the south and east, which make up approximately 60% of the country, are sparsely populated
    Natural hazards field listing

    highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts

    volcanism: Galeras (4,276 m) is one of Colombia's most active volcanoes, having erupted in 2009 and 2010 causing major evacuations; it has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Nevado del Ruiz (5,321 m), 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogota, erupted in 1985 producing lahars (mudflows) that killed 23,000 people; the volcano last erupted in 1991; additionally, after 500 years of dormancy, Nevado del Huila reawakened in 2007 and has experienced frequent eruptions since then; other historically active volcanoes include Cumbal, Dona Juana, Nevado del Tolima, and Purace

    Environment - current issues field listing
    deforestation resulting from timber exploitation in the jungles of the Amazon and the region of Chocó; illicit drug crops grown by peasants in the national parks; soil erosion; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    Geography - note field listing
    only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea
  • People and Society :: Colombia
  • Population field listing
    49,084,841 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Colombian(s)
    adjective: Colombian
    Ethnic groups field listing
    mestizo and white 87.6%, Afro-Colombian (includes mulatto, Raizal, and Palenquero) 6.8%, Amerindian 4.3%, unspecified 1.4% (2018 est.)
    Languages field listing
    Spanish (official)
    Religions field listing
    Roman Catholic 79%, Protestant 14% (includes Pentecostal 6%, mainline Protestant 2%, other 6%), other 2%, unspecified 5% (2014 est.)
    Demographic profile field listing

    Colombia is in the midst of a demographic transition resulting from steady declines in its fertility, mortality, and population growth rates. The birth rate has fallen from more than 6 children per woman in the 1960s to just above replacement level today as a result of increased literacy, family planning services, and urbanization. However, income inequality is among the worst in the world, and more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line.

    Colombia experiences significant legal and illegal economic emigration and refugee outflows. Large-scale labor emigration dates to the 1960s; the United States and, until recently, Venezuela have been the main host countries. Emigration to Spain picked up in the 1990s because of its economic growth, but this flow has since diminished because of Spain’s ailing economy and high unemployment. Colombia has been the largest source of Latin American refugees in Latin America, nearly 400,000 of whom live primarily in Venezuela and Ecuador. Venezuela’s political and economic crisis since 2015, however, has created a reverse flow, consisting largely of Colombians returning home.

    Forced displacement continues to be prevalent because of violence among guerrillas, paramilitary groups, and Colombian security forces. Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations are disproportionately affected. Even with the Colombian Government’s December 2016 peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the risk of displacement remains as other rebel groups fill the void left by the FARC. Between 1985 and September 2017, nearly 7.6 million persons have been internally displaced, the highest total in the world. These estimates may undercount actual numbers because many internally displaced persons are not registered. Historically, Colombia also has one of the world’s highest levels of forced disappearances. About 30,000 cases have been recorded over the last four decades—although the number is likely to be much higher—including human rights activists, trade unionists, Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, and farmers in rural conflict zones.

    Because of political violence and economic problems, Colombia received limited numbers of immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries, mostly from the Middle East, Europe, and Japan. More recently, growth in the oil, mining, and manufacturing sectors has attracted increased labor migration; the primary source countries are Venezuela, the US, Mexico, and Argentina. Colombia has also become a transit area for illegal migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean -- especially Haiti and Cuba -- who are en route to the US or Canada.

    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 23.27% (male 5,853,351/female 5,567,196)
    15-24 years: 16.38% (male 4,098,421/female 3,939,870)
    25-54 years: 42.04% (male 10,270,516/female 10,365,423)
    55-64 years: 9.93% (male 2,307,705/female 2,566,173)
    65 years and over: 8.39% (male 1,725,461/female 2,390,725) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 45.4
    youth dependency ratio: 32.3
    elderly dependency ratio: 13.2
    potential support ratio: 7.6 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 31.2 years
    male: 30.2 years
    female: 32.2 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.93% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    Birth rate field listing
    15.4 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    Death rate field listing
    5.6 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Net migration rate field listing
    -0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    Population distribution field listing
    the majority of people live in the north and west where agricultural opportunities and natural resources are found; the vast grasslands of the llanos to the south and east, which make up approximately 60% of the country, are sparsely populated
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 81.4% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 1.22% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030: PDF
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    10.978 million BOGOTA (capital), 4.000 million Medellin, 2.782 million Cali, 2.273 million Barranquilla, 1.331 million Bucaramanga, 1.063 million Cartagena (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing
    21.7 years (2015 est.)

    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    83 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 12.3 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 14.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 9.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 76.6 years
    male: 73.5 years
    female: 80 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Total fertility rate field listing
    1.94 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    81% (2015/16)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 100% of population
    rural: 86.4% of population
    total: 97.3% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population
    rural: 13.6% of population
    total: 2.7% of population (2017 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    7.2% (2017)
    Physicians density field listing
    2.11 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    1.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 98.3% of population
    rural: 80.1% of population
    total: 94.7% of population
    unimproved: urban: 1.7% of population
    rural: 19.9% of population
    total: 5.3% of population (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    0.5% (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    200,000 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    4,100 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    degree of risk: high (2020)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
    note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout Colombia; as of 10 November 2020, Colombia has reported a total of 1,127,733 cases of COVID-19 or 22,163 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 1 million population with 637 cumulative deaths per 1 million population
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    22.3% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    3.7% (2015/16)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Education expenditures field listing
    4.5% of GDP (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 95.1%
    male: 94.9%
    female: 95.3% (2018)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 14 years
    male: 14 years
    female: 15 years (2018)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 18.5%
    male: 14.4%
    female: 24% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
  • Government :: Colombia
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Republic of Colombia
    conventional short form: Colombia
    local long form: Republica de Colombia
    local short form: Colombia
    etymology: the country is named after explorer Christopher COLUMBUS
    Government type field listing
    presidential republic
    Capital field listing
    name: Bogota
    geographic coordinates: 4 36 N, 74 05 W
    time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    etymology: originally referred to as "Bacata," meaning "enclosure outside of the farm fields," by the indigenous Muisca
    Administrative divisions field listing
    32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Bogota*, Bolivar, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Cundinamarca, Guainia, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Narino, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda, Archipielago de San Andres, Providencia y Santa Catalina (colloquially San Andres y Providencia), Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada
    Independence field listing
    20 July 1810 (from Spain)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 20 July (1810)
    Constitution field listing
    history: several previous; latest promulgated 4 July 1991
    amendments: proposed by the government, by Congress, by a constituent assembly, or by public petition; passage requires a majority vote by Congress in each of two consecutive sessions; passage of amendments to constitutional articles on citizen rights, guarantees, and duties also require approval in a referendum by over one half of voters and participation of over one fourth of citizens registered to vote; amended many times, last in 2020
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen or permanent resident of Colombia
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President Ivan DUQUE Marquez (since 7 August 2018); Vice President Marta Lucia RAMIREZ Blanco (since 7 August 2018); the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Ivan DUQUE Marquez (since 7 August 2018); Vice President Marta Lucia RAMIREZ Blanco (since 7 August 2018)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a single 4-year term; election last held on 27 May 2018 with a runoff held on 17 June 2018 (next to be held in 2022); note - political reform in 2015 eliminated presidential reelection
    election results: Ivan DUQUE Marquez elected president in second round; percent of vote - Ivan DUQUE Marquez (CD) 54%, Gustavo PETRO (Humane Colombia) 41.8%, other/blank/invalid 4.2%
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of:
    Senate or Senado (108 seats; 100 members elected in a single nationwide constituency by party-list proportional representation vote, 2 members elected in a special nationwide constituency for indigenous communities, 5 members of the People's Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) political party for the 2018 and 2022 elections only as per the 2016 peace accord, and 1 seat reserved for the runner-up presidential candidate in the recent election; all members serve 4-year terms)
    Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (172 seats; 165 members elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote, 5 members of the FARC for the 2018 and 2022 elections only as per the 2016 peace accord, and 1 seat reserved for the runner-up vice presidential candidate in the recent election; all members serve 4-year terms)
    Senate - last held on 11 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2022)
    Chamber of Representatives - last held on 11 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2022)
    election results:
    Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CD 19, CR 16, PC 15, PL 14, U Party 14, Green Alliance 10, PDA 5, other 9; composition - men 77, women 31, percent of women 28.7%
    Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 35, CD 32, CR 30, U Party 25, PC 21, Green Alliance 9, other 13; composition - men 147, women 25, percent of women 14.5%; total Congress percent of women 20%
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of the Civil-Agrarian and Labor Chambers each with 7 judges, and the Penal Chamber with 9 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 magistrates); Council of State (consists of 27 judges); Superior Judiciary Council (consists of 13 magistrates)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Supreme Court members from candidates submitted by the Superior Judiciary Council; judges elected for individual 8-year terms; Constitutional Court magistrates - nominated by the president, by the Supreme Court, and elected by the Senate; judges elected for individual 8-year terms; Council of State members appointed by the State Council plenary from lists nominated by the Superior Judiciary Council
    subordinate courts: Superior Tribunals (appellate courts for each of the judicial districts); regional courts; civil municipal courts; Superior Military Tribunal; first instance administrative courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Jorge Enrique ROBLEDO]
    Citizens Option (Opcion Ciudadana) or OC [Angel ALIRIO Moreno] (formerly known as the National Integration Party or PIN)
    Conservative Party or PC [Hernan ANDRADE]
    Democratic Center Party or CD [Alvaro URIBE Velez]
    Green Alliance [Claudia LOPEZ Hernandez]
    Humane Colombia [Gustavo PETRO]
    Liberal Party or PL [Cesar GAVIRIA]
    People's Alternative Revolutionary Force or FARC [Rodrigo LONDONO Echeverry]
    Radical Change or CR [Rodrigo LARA Restrepo]
    Social National Unity Party or U Party [Roy BARRERAS]

    note: Colombia has numerous smaller political movements

    International organization participation field listing
    BCIE, BIS, CAN, Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco SANTOS Calderon (since 17 September 2018)
    chancery: 1724 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
    FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark (NJ), Orlando, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
    consulate(s): Boston, Chicago, San Francisco
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Philip S. GOLDBERG (since 19 September 2019)
    telephone: [57] (1) 275-2000
    embassy: Carrera 45, No. 24B-27, Bogota
    mailing address: Carrera 45 No. 24B-27, Bogota, D.C.
    FAX: [57] (1) 275-4600
    Flag description field listing
    three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; the flag retains the three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the short-lived South American republic that broke up in 1830; various interpretations of the colors exist and include: yellow for the gold in Colombia's land, blue for the seas on its shores, and red for the blood spilled in attaining freedom; alternatively, the colors have been described as representing more elemental concepts such as sovereignty and justice (yellow), loyalty and vigilance (blue), and valor and generosity (red); or simply the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity

    note: similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center

    National symbol(s) field listing
    Andean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Himno Nacional de la Republica de Colombia" (National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia)
    lyrics/music: Rafael NUNEZ/Oreste SINDICI

    note: adopted 1920; the anthem was created from an inspirational poem written by President Rafael NUNEZ

  • Economy :: Colombia
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Colombia heavily depends on energy and mining exports, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices. Colombia is Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer and the world’s fourth largest coal producer, third largest coffee exporter, and second largest cut flowers exporter. Colombia’s economic development is hampered by inadequate infrastructure, poverty, narcotrafficking, and an uncertain security situation, in addition to dependence on primary commodities (goods that have little value-added from processing or labor inputs).

    Colombia’s economy slowed in 2017 because of falling world market prices for oil and lower domestic oil production due to insurgent attacks on pipeline infrastructure. Although real GDP growth averaged 4.7% during the past decade, it fell to an estimated 1.8% in 2017. Declining oil prices also have contributed to reduced government revenues. In 2016, oil revenue dropped below 4% of the federal budget and likely remained below 4% in 2017. A Western credit rating agency in December 2017 downgraded Colombia’s sovereign credit rating to BBB-, because of weaker-than-expected growth and increasing external debt. Colombia has struggled to address local referendums against foreign investment, which have slowed its expansion, especially in the oil and mining sectors. Colombia’s FDI declined by 3% to $10.2 billion between January and September 2017.

    Colombia has signed or is negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with more than a dozen countries; the US-Colombia FTA went into effect in May 2012. Colombia is a founding member of the Pacific Alliance—a regional trade block formed in 2012 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru to promote regional trade and economic integration. The Colombian government took steps in 2017 to address several bilateral trade irritants with the US, including those on truck scrappage, distilled spirits, pharmaceuticals, ethanol imports, and labor rights. Colombia hopes to accede to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $711.6 billion (2017 est.)
    $699.1 billion (2016 est.)
    $685.6 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 31
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $314.5 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    3.26% (2019 est.)
    2.51% (2018 est.)
    1.36% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $14,400 (2017 est.)
    $14,300 (2016 est.)
    $14,200 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 116
    Gross national saving field listing
    18.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
    19% of GDP (2016 est.)
    17.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 68.2% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 14.8% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 22.2% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 14.6% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -19.7% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 7.2% (2017 est.)
    industry: 30.8% (2017 est.)
    services: 62.1% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; shrimp; forest products
    Industries field listing
    textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    -2.2% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    Labor force field listing
    19.309 million (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 17%
    industry: 21%
    services: 62% (2011 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    10.5% (2019 est.)
    9.68% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Population below poverty line field listing
    28% (2017 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 1.2%
    highest 10%: 39.6% (2015 est.)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 83.35 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 91.73 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    26.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -2.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    Public debt field listing
    49.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
    49.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

    note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities

    country comparison to the world: 102
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    4.3% (2017 est.)
    7.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Current account balance field listing
    -$13.748 billion (2019 est.)
    -$13.118 billion (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    Exports field listing
    $39.48 billion (2017 est.)
    $31.39 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Exports - partners field listing
    US 28.5%, Panama 8.6%, China 5.1% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    petroleum, coal, emeralds, coffee, nickel, cut flowers, bananas, apparel
    Imports field listing
    $44.24 billion (2017 est.)
    $43.24 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    Imports - commodities field listing
    industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
    Imports - partners field listing
    US 26.3%, China 19.3%, Mexico 7.5%, Brazil 5%, Germany 4.1% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $47.13 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $46.18 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Debt - external field listing
    $124.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $115 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Exchange rates field listing
    Colombian pesos (COP) per US dollar -
    2,957 (2017 est.)
    3,055.3 (2016 est.)
    3,055.3 (2015 est.)
    2,001 (2014 est.)
    2,001.1 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Colombia
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 1 million (2017)
    electrification - total population: 99% (2016)
    electrification - urban areas: 100% (2016)
    electrification - rural areas: 95.7% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    74.92 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    68.25 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Electricity - exports field listing
    460 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    Electricity - imports field listing
    378 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    16.89 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    29% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    69% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    Crude oil - production field listing
    863,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    726,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    1.665 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    303,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    333,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    56,900 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    57,170 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    Natural gas - production field listing
    10.02 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    10.08 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    48.14 million cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    113.9 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    95.59 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
  • Communications :: Colombia
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 6,774,363
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13.93 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 64,033,049
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 131.67 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: fastest growing sector is mobile broadband with LTE infrastructure and investment in 5G; strong demand in rural areas for mobile broadband, potential is high while penetration is low; fiber-optic network linking 50 cities; the cable sector commands about half of the market by subscribers, with DSL having a declining share while fiber-based broadband is developing strongly; competition among the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) sector has promoted 2.9 million subscribers as of mid-2018; most infrastructure is primarily in high-density urban areas; growing popularity of bundled services (2020)
    domestic: fixed-line connections stand at about 14 per 100 persons; mobile cellular telephone subscribership is about 132 per 100 persons; competition among cellular service providers is resulting in falling local and international calling rates and contributing to the steep decline in the market share of fixed-line services; domestic satellite system with 41 earth stations (2019)
    international: country code - 57; landing points for the SAC, Maya-1, SAIT, ACROS, AMX-1, CFX-1, PCCS, Deep Blue Cable, Globe Net, PAN-AM, SAm-1 submarine cable systems providing links to the US, parts of the Caribbean, and Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 10 (6 Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat, 3 fully digitalized international switching centers) (2019)
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    combination of state-owned and privately owned broadcast media provide service; more than 500 radio stations and many national, regional, and local TV stations (2019)
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 29,990,017
    percent of population: 62.26% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 6,678,543
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
  • Transportation :: Colombia
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 12 (2020)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 157
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 33,704,037 (2018)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,349,450,000 mt-km (2018)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    HJ, HK (2016)
    Airports field listing
    836 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 121 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 9 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 39 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 53 (2017)
    under 914 m: 18 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 715 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 25 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 201 (2013)
    under 914 m: 488 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    3 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    4991 km gas, 6796 km oil, 3429 km refined products (2013)
    Railways field listing
    total: 2,141 km (2015)
    standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge (2015)
    narrow gauge: 1,991 km 0.914-m gauge (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Roadways field listing
    total: 206,500 km (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    Waterways field listing
    24,725 km (18,300 km navigable; the most important waterway, the River Magdalena, of which 1,488 km is navigable, is dredged regularly to ensure safe passage of cargo vessels and container barges) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 115
    by type: general cargo 21, oil tanker 9, other 85 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean) - Cartagena, Santa Marta, Turbo
    oil terminal(s): Covenas offshore terminal
    container port(s) (TEUs): Cartagena (2,663,415) (2017)
    river port(s): Barranquilla (Rio Magdalena)
    dry bulk cargo port(s): Puerto Bolivar (coal)
    Pacific Ocean - Buenaventura
  • Military and Security :: Colombia
  • Military and security forces field listing
    Military Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Militares de Colombia): National Army (Ejercito Nacional), Republic of Colombia Navy (Armada Republica de Colombia, ARC; includes Coast Guard), Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Colombia, FAC); Colombian National Police (civilian force that is part of the Ministry of Defense) (2020)
    Military expenditures field listing
    3.2% of GDP (2019)
    3.1% of GDP (2018 est.)
    3.2% of GDP (2017)
    3.1% of GDP (2016)
    3.1% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing
    size estimates for the Military Forces of Colombia (FMC) vary; approximately 295,000 total active troops (235,000 Army; 45,000 Navy, including about 22,000 marines; 14,000 Air Force) (2019 )
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    the Colombian military inventory includes a wide mix of equipment from a variety of suppliers, including Brazil, Canada, Europe, Israel, South Korea, and the US; Germany, Israel, and the US are the leading suppliers of military hardware since 2010; Colombia's defense industry is active in producing air, land, and naval platforms (2019 est.)
    Military deployments field listing
    275 Egypt (MFO) (Dec. 2019)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation is 18 months (2012)
    Military - note field listing
    the Colombian Armed Forces are primarily focused on internal security, particularly counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, and counterinsurgency operations against drug traffickers, militants from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN) terrorist/guerrilla organizations, and other illegal armed groups; the Colombian Government signed a peace agreement with the FARC in 2016, but some former members (known as dissidents) have returned to fighting; the Colombian military resumed operations against FARC dissidents and their successor paramilitary groups in late 2019; in 2017, the Colombian Government initiated formal peace talks with the ELN, but in January 2019, the government ended the peace talks shortly after the ELN exploded a car bomb at the National Police Academy in Bogotá; the military is also focused on the security challenges posed by its neighbor, Venezuela (2020)
  • Terrorism :: Colombia
  • Terrorist group(s) field listing
    National Liberation Army; Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (2020)
    note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T
  • Transnational Issues :: Colombia
  • Disputes - international field listing

    in December 2007, ICJ allocated San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina islands to Colombia under 1928 Treaty but did not rule on 82 degrees W meridian as maritime boundary with Nicaragua; managed dispute with Venezuela over maritime boundary and Venezuelan-administered Los Monjes Islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics, guerrilla, and paramilitary activities penetrate all neighboring borders and have caused Colombian citizens to flee mostly into neighboring countries; Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and the US assert various claims to Bajo Nuevo and Serranilla Bank

    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
    refugees (country of origin): 768,714 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum, are recognized as refugees, or received alternative legal stay)(2020)
    IDPs: 7,967,965 (conflict between government and illegal armed groups and drug traffickers since 1985; about 300,000 new IDPs each year since 2000) (2020)
    stateless persons: 11 (2019)
    Illicit drugs field listing
    illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world's leading coca cultivator with 188,000 hectares in coca cultivation in 2016, a 18% increase over 2015, producing a potential of 710 mt of pure cocaine; the world's largest producer of coca derivatives; supplies cocaine to nearly all of the US market and the great majority of other international drug markets; in 2016, the Colombian government reported manual eradication of 17,642 hectares; Colombia suspended aerial eradication in October 2015 making 2016 the first full year without aerial eradication; a significant portion of narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through the black market peso exchange; Colombia probably remains the second largest supplier of heroin to the US market; opium poppy cultivation was estimated to be 1,100 hectares in 2015, sufficient to potentially produce three metric tons of pure heroin