Photos of Colombia

Introduction

Background

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, new criminal 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. Despite decades of internal conflict and drug-related security challenges, Colombia maintains relatively strong and independent democratic institutions characterized by peaceful, transparent elections and the protection of civil liberties.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Geographic coordinates

4 00 N, 72 00 W

Map references

South America

Area

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

comparison ranking: total 27

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 6,672 km

border countries (5): Brazil 1,790 km; Ecuador 708 km; Panama 339 km; Peru 1,494 km; Venezuela 2,341 km

Coastline

3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate

tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Terrain

flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos)

Elevation

highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,730 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 593 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 37.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 34.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 54.4% (2018 est.)

other: 8.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

10,900 sq km (2012)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rio Negro river source (shared with Venezuela and Brazil [m]) - 2,250 km; Orinoco (shared with Venezuela [s]) - 2,101 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Amazon (6,145,186 sq km), Orinoco (953,675 sq km)

Major aquifers

Amazon Basin

Population distribution

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

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

Geography - note

only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

People and Society

Population

49,336,454 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 29

Nationality

noun: Colombian(s)

adjective: Colombian

Ethnic groups

Mestizo and White 87.6%, Afro-Colombian (includes Mulatto, Raizal, and Palenquero) 6.8%, Indigenous 4.3%, unspecified 1.4% (2018 est.)

Languages

Spanish (official) and 65 Indigenous languages

major-language sample(s):
La Libreta Informativa del Mundo, la fuente indispensable de información básica. (Spanish)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Spanish audio sample:

Religions

Christian 92.3% (predominantly Roman Catholic), other 1%, unspecified 6.7% (2020 est.)

Demographic profile

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 below 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 almost one-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. Venezuela’s political and economic crisis since 2015 has prompted many Colombians to return 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.  As of April 2023, almost 6.9 million people were internally displaced in Colombia. This estimate 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. The Colombian Truth Commission estimated than nearly 122,000 people were the victims of forced disappearances during the countries five-decade-long armed conflict—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.  Between 2016 and October 2022, Colombia was host to the largest number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, totaling almost 2.9 million. Ecuadorian migrants also go to Colombia, most of them attempting to transit the dense and dangerous jungles of the Darien Gap to enter Panama and head onward to the US.

Age structure

0-14 years: 22.45% (male 5,663,590/female 5,413,209)

15-64 years: 66.66% (male 16,066,724/female 16,820,068)

65 years and over: 10.89% (2023 est.) (male 2,367,369/female 3,005,494)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 43.5

youth dependency ratio: 31

elderly dependency ratio: 12.5

potential support ratio: 8 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 32.4 years (2023 est.)

male: 31.2 years

female: 33.6 years

comparison ranking: total 112

Population growth rate

0.54% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 150

Birth rate

15.1 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 113

Death rate

7.8 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 95

Net migration rate

-1.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 169

Population distribution

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

urban population: 82.4% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.01% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

11.508 million BOGOTA (capital), 4.102 million Medellin, 2.864 million Cali, 2.349 million Barranquilla, 1.381 million Bucaramanga, 1.088 million Cartagena (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.7 years (2015 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

75 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 80

Infant mortality rate

total: 11.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 13.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 10.2 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 119

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 74.9 years (2023 est.)

male: 71.3 years

female: 78.7 years

comparison ranking: total population 129

Total fertility rate

1.94 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 116

Gross reproduction rate

0.95 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 87.5% of population

total: 97.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 12.5% of population

total: 2.3% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

2.33 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.1% of population

rural: 87.7% of population

total: 97% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.9% of population

rural: 12.3% of population

total: 3% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

22.3% (2016)

comparison ranking: 78

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.09 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.09 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.06 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.92 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 93

Tobacco use

total: 8.5% (2020 est.)

male: 12.4% (2020 est.)

female: 4.6% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 143

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

3.7% (2015/16)

comparison ranking: 81

Education expenditures

4.9% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 81

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 95.6%

male: 95.4%

female: 95.9% (2020)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2020)

Environment

Environment - current issues

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

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Climate

tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Land use

agricultural land: 37.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 34.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 54.4% (2018 est.)

other: 8.1% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 82.4% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.01% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 110

Revenue from coal

0.75% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 8

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 14.04 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 97.81 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 81.52 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 12,150,120 tons (2011 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 2,089,821 tons (2013 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 17.2% (2013 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rio Negro river source (shared with Venezuela and Brazil [m]) - 2,250 km; Orinoco (shared with Venezuela [s]) - 2,101 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Amazon (6,145,186 sq km), Orinoco (953,675 sq km)

Major aquifers

Amazon Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 3.72 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 360 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 25.04 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

2.36 trillion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Colombia

conventional short form: Colombia

local long form: República de Colombia

local short form: Colombia

etymology: the country is named after explorer Christopher COLUMBUS

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Bogotá

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

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

20 July 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 20 July (1810)

Constitution

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

Legal system

civil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

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

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Gustavo Francisco PETRO Urrego (since 7 August 2022); Vice President Francia Elena MÁRQUEZ Mina (since 7 August 2022); the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Gustavo Francisco PETRO Urrego (since 7 August 2022); Vice President Francia Elena MÁRQUEZ Mina (since 7 August 2022)

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 29 May 2022 with a runoff held on 19 June 2022 (next to be held on 31 May 2026); note - political reform in 2015 eliminated presidential reelection

election results:
2022:
Gustavo Francisco PETRO Urrego elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Gustavo Francisco PETRO Urrego (PHxC) 40.3%, Rodolfo HERNÁNDEZ Suárez (LIGA) 28.2%, Federico GUTIÉRREZ Zuluaga (Team for Colombia / CREEMOS) 23.9%, other 7.6%; percent of vote in second round - Gustavo Francisco PETRO Urrego 50.4%, Rodolfo HERNÁNDEZ Suarez 47.3%, blank 2.3%

2018:
Iván DUQUE Márquez elected president in second round; percent of vote - Iván DUQUE Márquez (CD) 54%, Gustavo Francisco PETRO Urrego (Humane Colombia) 41.8%, other/blank/invalid 4.2%

Legislative branch

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 Commons political party, formerly the People's Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC), for 2 legislative terms only: 2018-2022 and 2022-2026 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 (188 seats; 162 members elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote, 2 members elected in a special nationwide constituency for Afro-Colombians, 1 member elected by Colombians residing abroad, 1 member elected in a special nationwide constituency for the indigenous communities, 5 members of the Commons political party for two legislative terms only: 2018-2022 and 2022-2026 as per the 2016 peace accord, 16 seats for rural conflict victims for two legislative terms only: 2022-2026 and 2026-2030, and 1 seat reserved for the runner-up vice presidential candidate in the recent election; all members serve 4-year terms)



elections: Senate - last held on 13 March 2022 (next to be held in March 2026)
Chamber of Representatives - last held on 13 March 2022 (next to be held in March 2026)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party/coalition- PHxC 16.9%, PC 13.1%, PL 12.4%, Green Alliance and Center Hope Coalition 11.5%, CD 11.4%, CR 9.4%, U Party 8.8%, MIRA–Colombia Free and Just Coalition 3.4%, other 13.1%; seats by party/coalition composition - PHxC- 20, PC 15, PL 14, Green Alliance and Center Hope Coalition 13, CD 13, CR 11, U Party 10, MIRA–Colombia Free and Just Coalition 4; men 71, women 29, percent of women 29.9%

Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition- PHxC 17.6%, PL 14%, PC 12.4%, CD 10.2% U Party 8.6%, CR 7.9%, Green Alliance 6.5%, others 22.4%; seats by party/coalition - PL 32,  PHxC 27, CP 25, CD 16, CR 16, U Party 15, Green Alliance and Center Hope Coalition 11, others 24; composition as of January 2024 - men 115, women 50, percent of women 30.3%; total Congress percent of women 29.2%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Alexander LOPEZ Maya]
Citizens Option (Opcion Ciudadana) or OC [Angel ALIRIO Moreno] (formerly known as the National Integration Party or PIN)
The Commons (formerly People's Alternative Revolutionary Force or FARC) [Rodrigo LONDONO Echeverry]
Conservative Party or PC [Carlos Andres TRUJILLO]
Democratic Center Party or CD [Alvaro URIBE Velez]
Fair and Free Colombia (Colombia Justa Libres) [Eduardo Canas Estrada and Ricardo Arias Mora]
Green Alliance [Claudia LOPEZ Hernandez]
Historic Pact for Colombia or PHxC (coalition composed of several left-leaning political parties and social movements)
Humane Colombia [Gustavo PETRO]
Independent Movement of Absolute Renovation or MIRA [Carlos Eduardo GUEVARA]
League of Anti-Corruption Rulers or LIGA [Rodolfo HERNANDEZ Suarez]
Liberal Party or PL [Cesar GAVIRIA]
People's Alternative Revolutionary Force or FARC [Rodrigo LONDONO Echeverry]
Radical Change or CR [German VARGAS Lleras]
Team for Colombia - also known as the Experience Coalition or Coalition of the Regions (coalition composed of center-right and right-wing parties)
Union Party for the People or U Party [Dilian Francisca TORO]
We Believe Colombia or CREEMOS [Federico GUTIERREZ]

note: Colombia has numerous smaller political parties and movements

International organization participation

BCIE, BIS, CABEI, 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, PROSUR, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNOOSA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Luis Gilberto MURILLO URRUTIA (since 16 September 2022)

chancery: 1724 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338

FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643

email address and website:
eestadosunidos@cancilleria.gov.co

https://www.colombiaemb.org/

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark (NJ), Orlando, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Washington, DC

consulate(s): Boston, Chicago, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Francisco L. PALMIERI (since 1 June 2022)

embassy: Carrera 45, No. 24B-27, Bogota

mailing address: 3030 Bogota Place, Washington DC  20521-3030

telephone: [57] (1) 275-2000

FAX: [57] (1) 275-4600

email address and website:
ACSBogota@state.gov

https://co.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

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)

Andean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red

National anthem

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 9 (6 cultural, 2 natural, 1 mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Chiribiquete National Park (m); Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia (c); Historic Center of Santa Cruz de Mompox (c); Los Katíos National Park (n); Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (n); Tierradentro National Archeological Park (c); San Agustín Archaeological Park (c); Colonial Cartagena (c); Qhapaq Ñan/Andean Road System (c)

Economy

Economic overview

prior to COVID-19, one of the most consistent growth economies; declining poverty; large stimulus package has mitigated economic fallout, but delayed key infrastructure investments; successful inflation management; sound flexible exchange rate regime; domestic economy suffers from lack of trade integration and infrastructure

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$810.104 billion (2022 est.)
$755.295 billion (2021 est.)
$680.347 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 32

Real GDP growth rate

7.26% (2022 est.)
11.02% (2021 est.)
-7.25% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 38

Real GDP per capita

$15,600 (2022 est.)
$14,700 (2021 est.)
$13,400 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 104

GDP (official exchange rate)

$343.622 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

10.18% (2022 est.)
3.5% (2021 est.)
2.53% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 160

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB- (2020)

Moody's rating: Baa2 (2014)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB- (2017)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 30.8% (2017 est.)

services: 62.1% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 107; industry 72; agriculture 107

GDP - composition, by end use

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.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, milk, oil palm fruit, potatoes, rice, bananas, cassava leaves, plantains, poultry, maize

Industries

textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds

Industrial production growth rate

7.04% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 38

Labor force

25.771 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 25

Unemployment rate

10.55% (2022 est.)
13.9% (2021 est.)
15.98% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 167

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 26.4% (2021 est.)

male: 21.9%

female: 32.8%

comparison ranking: total 55

Population below poverty line

39.3% (2021 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

51.5 (2021 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 8

Average household expenditures

on food: 19.2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 3% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.2%

highest 10%: 40.2% (2021 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

2.75% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.7% of GDP (2021 est.)
2.56% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $94.985 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $103.098 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 117

Public debt

70.49% of GDP (2022 est.)
80.37% of GDP (2021 est.)
91.22% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 54

Taxes and other revenues

15.35% (of GDP) (2022 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 137

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$21.526 billion (2022 est.)
-$17.951 billion (2021 est.)
-$9.267 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 196

Exports

$73.112 billion (2022 est.)
$50.907 billion (2021 est.)
$38.224 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 56

Exports - partners

United States 31%, China 11%, Panama 6%, Ecuador 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, coal, coffee, gold, refined petroleum (2021)

Imports

$89.54 billion (2022 est.)
$70.909 billion (2021 est.)
$51.328 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 51

Imports - partners

United States 27%, China 20%, Mexico 7%, Brazil 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, broadcasting equipment, packaged medicines, corn (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$56.704 billion (2022 est.)
$58.019 billion (2021 est.)
$58.499 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 40

Debt - external

$135.644 billion (2019 est.)
$128.238 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 47

Exchange rates

Colombian pesos (COP) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
4,256.194 (2022 est.)
3,744.244 (2021 est.)
3,693.276 (2020 est.)
3,281.622 (2019 est.)
2,955.704 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

population without electricity: 2 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 99.9% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 100% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 99.9% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 19.769 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 69,856,680,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 251 million kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 1.302 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 5.724 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 68; exports 86; installed generating capacity 48; transmission/distribution losses 170; consumption 42

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 32.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 65.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 51.395 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 8.547 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 69.861 million metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 79,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 4.554 billion metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 756,400 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 352,400 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 481,300 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 2.036 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

303,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 41

Refined petroleum products - exports

56,900 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 52

Refined petroleum products - imports

57,170 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 74

Natural gas

production: 11,305,086,000 cubic meters (2020 est.)

consumption: 11,708,232,000 cubic meters (2020 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2020 est.)

imports: 403.146 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 87.782 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

81.007 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 12.666 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 47.679 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 20.662 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 48

Energy consumption per capita

34.703 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 116

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 7,587,694 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 22

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 75 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 150 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 22

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the telecom sector had a solid year thanks to positive performances in the fixed-line broadband, mobile broadband, and mobile voice and data markets; the fixed-line penetration remained stable by the end of 2020, though began to increase into 2021 as a result of the particular demands on households resulting from government measures associated with addressing the pandemic; the mobile market reached a penetration rate of 136% (an increase of over three percentage points on 2019) and managed to keep the same upward growth trajectory that it has sustained over the last ten years; the fixed-line broadband market also expanded, with the number of subscribers increasing 11.4%, and with revenue increasing 9.9% thanks to increased data usage as many customers were forced to work or study from home during the year; the mobile broadband market was the standout performer in 2020, with a 13% increase in the number of subscribers year-on-year, the penetration rate is relatively low compared to other Latin American countries; most significant of all was the surge in mobile broadband traffic a 51% increase over the previous year (2022)

domestic: fixed-line connections stand at about 15 per 100 persons; mobile cellular telephone subscribership is 150 per 100 persons (2021)

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)

Broadcast media

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 users

total: 37.96 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 73% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 26

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 7,764,772 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 28

Transportation

National air transport system

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 (2018) mt-km

Airports

662 (2024)

comparison ranking: 11

Heliports

55 (2024)

Pipelines

4,991 km gas, 6,796 km oil, 3,429 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 2,141 km (2019)

standard gauge: 150 km (2019) 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 1,991 km (2019) 0.914-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 71

Roadways

total: 206,102 km (2022)

comparison ranking: total 25

Waterways

24,725 km (2019) (18,225 km navigable; the most important waterway, the River Magdalena, of which 1,092 km is navigable, is dredged regularly to ensure safe passage of cargo vessels and container barges)

comparison ranking: 7

Merchant marine

total: 153 (2023)

by type: general cargo 28, oil tanker 13, other 112

comparison ranking: total 74

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean) - Cartagena, Santa Marta, Turbo
Pacific Ocean - Buenaventura

oil terminal(s): Covenas offshore terminal

container port(s) (TEUs): Buenaventura (1,082,746), Cartagena (3,343,810) (2021)

river port(s): Barranquilla (Rio Magdalena)

dry bulk cargo port(s): Puerto Bolivar (coal)

Pacific Ocean - Buenaventura

Military and Security

Military and security forces

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 (PNC; civilian force that is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense) (2023)

Military expenditures

3% of GDP (2022 est.)
3% of GDP (2021 est.)
3% of GDP (2020 est.)
3.1% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 31

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 290,000 active troops (225,000 Army; 50,000 Navy, including about 20,000 marines; 15,000 Air Force); approximately 180,000 National Police (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory includes a wide mix of equipment from a variety of suppliers, including Canada, Europe, Israel, South Korea, and the US; the US has been the top provider in recent years; Colombia's defense industry is active in producing air, land, and naval platforms (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-24 years of age for compulsory (men) and voluntary (men and women) military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; conscripted soldiers reportedly include regular soldiers (conscripts without a high school degree), drafted high school graduates (bachilleres), and rural (campesino) soldiers who serve in their home regions (2023)

note 1: conscripts reportedly comprise about 50% of the Colombian military's active force with more than 50,000 conscripts brought into the military annually

note 2: the Colombian military first incorporated women in 1976 in administrative positions; women were incorporated as non-commissioned officers in 1983 and officers in 2009; women comprised about 1% of the military in 2023

Military deployments

275 Egypt (MFO) (2024)

Military - note

the Colombian military is responsible for defending and maintaining the country’s independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity but also has an internal security role, which includes protecting the civilian population, as well as private and state-owned assets, and ensuring a secure environment; the military’s primary focus is the conduct of counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency operations against drug traffickers, several factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the insurgent/terrorist group National Liberation Army (ELN); the Colombian Government signed a peace agreement with the FARC in 2016, but some former members (known as dissidents) have returned to fighting (note - these dissident groups include the US-designated foreign terrorist groups Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army or FARC-EP and Segunda Marquetalia; see Appendix T); since 2017, the Colombian Government has had periodic cease-fire and peace discussions with ELN and the FARC dissidents with varying degrees of success, including a 6-month cease-fire with the ELN in 2023

the military is also focused on the security challenges posed by its neighbor, Venezuela, where instability has attracted narcotics traffickers, and both the ELN and FARC dissidents operate openly; Colombia shares a 1,370-mile (2,200 km) border with Venezuela; ELN and FARC insurgents have also used neighboring Ecuador to rest, resupply, and shelter

the Colombian National Army is one of the largest and most experienced ground forces in the Western Hemisphere, having spent decades conducting operations against insurgents and terrorist groups; it has also kept a small battalion (about 250-300 troops) in the Sinai Peninsula with the Multinational Observer Force since 1980; the Army’s primary focus is ongoing operations against the ELN, FARC dissidents, and other illegal armed groups, which are challenged by difficult topography and long and porous land borders; the Air Force and Navy play a role in the counterinsurgency campaign but their participation is minor in comparison to the Army; the Army is largely configured for flexibility and mobility, with one mechanized and seven light infantry divisions; the light infantry divisions are not uniformly structured and typically include a mix of conventional infantry and specialized air mobile, counterinsurgency, jungle, mountain, and security brigades; some divisions may also have special task forces for anti-kidnapping, counternarcotics, or urban operations; the Army also has a special forces division, a rapid deployment force (Fuerza de Despliegue Rápido or FUDRA) comprised of special forces and counterinsurgency brigades, and an air assault division with aviation and light infantry/air mobile forces; the National Police works with the Army against illegal armed groups and has a variety of specialized forces, including commandos, quick reaction, counterterrorism, counternarcotics, motorized, and anti-riot (Escuadron Móvil Antidisturbios, or ESMAD) units 

the Navy is responsible for security in Colombia’s waters in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Oceans, the country’s extensive network of rivers, and a few small land areas under its direct jurisdiction; it takes part in multinational naval exercises, and over the past decade has undertaken efforts to modernize; its principal warships are a mix of 10 frigates, corvettes, and offshore patrol ships, and four attack submarines, which are supplemented by dozens of coastal and riverine patrol craft; the Navy also has a 22,000-man marine force comprised of five marine/riverine infantry brigades and a special forces brigade, as well as a small aviation force; the Air Force has an air defense role, but also supports the Army’s counterinsurgency operations; it has a mix of about 50 fighters and ground attack combat aircraft, plus reconnaissance, electronic warfare, logistical, and training fixed-wing aircraft, as well as approximately 100 multirole helicopters 

Colombia has close security ties with the US, including joint training, military assistance, and designation in 2022 as a Major Non-NATO Ally, which provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense, trade, and security cooperation; it also has close ties with some regional neighbors, such as Argentina, Chile, and Peru; Colombian military and security forces have training programs with their counterparts from a variety of countries, mostly those from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean; security ties with Ecuador and Venezuela have been challenged by the presence of narcotics traffickers, ELN, and FARC dissidents in the border regions (2023)

Space

Space agency/agencies

Colombian Space Commission (Comision Colombiana Del Espacio, CCE; established 2006); Air and Space Operations Command (Colombian military); note – the Colombian Space Agency (Agencia Espacial Del Colombia, AEC) is a private, non-profit agency established in 2017  (2023)

Space program overview

has a small program focused on acquiring satellites, particularly remote sensing (RS) satellites; operates satellites and produces nanosatellites; researches other space technologies, including telecommunications, satellite navigation, and astronautics; has relations with a variety of foreign space agencies or commercial space industries, including those of Denmark, India, Russia, the US, and some members of the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency (ALCE) (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): National Liberation Army (ELN); Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP); Segunda Marquetalia

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

Disputes - international

Colombia-Nicaragua: in December 2007, the ICJ allocated San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina islands to Colombia under a 1928 Treaty but did not rule on 82 degrees W meridian as the maritime boundary

Colombia-Venezuela: managed dispute 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; Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and the US assert various claims to Bajo Nuevo and Serranilla Bank

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 1,842,390 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum, are recognized as refugees, or received alternative legal stay) (2022)

IDPs: 6,863,334 (conflict between government and illegal armed groups and drug traffickers since 1985) (2023)

stateless persons: 11 (2022)

Illicit drugs

Colombia is the world’s top cocaine producer and exporter; is a source of heroin and marijuana; coca cultivation estimated at 234,000 hectares (ha) in 2021; pure cocaine production decreased to 972 metric tons in 2021; a major source of precursor or essential chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics