Statistical information Colombia 1996Colombia

Map of Colombia | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
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Colombia in the World
Colombia in the World


Colombia - Introduction 1996
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Background: Colombia gained its independence from Spain in 1819. Earlier than most countries in the area, it established traditions of civilian government with regular, free elections. In recent years, however, assassinations, widespread guerrilla activities, and drug trafficking have severely disrupted normal public and private activities.

Colombia - Geography 1996
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Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 1,138,910 km²
Land: 1,038,700 km²
Comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Montana
Comparative note: Includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, Serrana Bank, and Serranilla Bank

Land boundaries: Total 7,408 km, Brazil 1,643 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 2,900 km, Venezuela 2,050 km

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

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Terrain: Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains

Extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Nevado del Huila 5,750 m

Natural resources:
Natural gas
Iron ore

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 4%
Permanent crops: 2%
Permanent pastures: 29%
Forests and woodland: 49%
Other: 16%

Irrigated land: 5,150 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Colombia - People 1996
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36,813,161 (July 1996 est.)
36,200,251 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
1.66% (1996 est.)
1.7% (1995 est.)

Noun: Colombian(s)
Adjective: Colombian

Ethnic groups:
Mestizo 58%
White 20%
Mulatto 14%
Black 4%
Mixed black-Indian 3%
Indian 1%

Languages: Spanish

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
32% (male 5,948,599; female 5,806,450) (July 1996 est.)
32% (male 5,925,600; female 5,784,010) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
64% (male 11,496,931; female 11,890,875) (July 1996 est.)
63% (male 11,245,235; female 11,642,870) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
4% (male 741,788; female 928,518) (July 1996 est.)
5% (male 714,178; female 888,358) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
1.66% (1996 est.)
1.7% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
21.34 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
21.89 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
4.65 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
4.69 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
-0.13 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
-0.17 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; soil damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
Current issues Natural hazards: highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
International agreements: party to_Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified_Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Tropical Timber 94
International agreements note: Only South American country with coastlines on both North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
All ages:
0.98 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:25.8 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
26.9 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 72.81 years (1996 est.); 72.48 years (1995 est.)
Male: 69.97 years (1996 est.); 69.68 years (1995 est.)
Female: 75.73 years (1996 est.); 75.38 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.35 children born/woman (1996 est.)
2.4 children born/woman (1995 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1995 est.)
Total population: 91.3%
Male: 91.2%
Female: 91.4%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Colombia - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Colombia
Conventional short form: Colombia
Local long form: Republica de Colombia
Local short form: Colombia

Government type: Republic; executive branch dominates government structure

Capital: Bogota

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, San Andres y Providencia, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada

Dependent areas

Independence: 20 July 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 20 July (1810)

Constitution: 5 July 1991

Legal system: Based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modeled after U.S. procedures was enacted in 1992-93; judicial review of executive and legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch
Chief of state and head of government:
President Ernesto SAMPER Pizano (since 7 August 1994); election last held on 31 May 1998 (next to be held May 2002)
Election held 29 May 1994 resulted in no candidate receiving more than 50% of the total vote; a run-off election to select a president from the two leading candidates was held on 19 June 1994; results_Ernesto SAMPER Pizano (Liberal Party) 50.4%, Andres PASTRANA Arango (Conservative Party) 48.6%, blank votes 1%; Humberto de la CALLE was elected vice president in a new proceedure that replaces the traditional designation of vice presidents by newly elected presidents.

Cabinet: Cabinet

Legislative branch: Bicameral Congress (Congreso) Senate (Senado):Elections last held 13 March 1994 (next to be held NA March 1998; preliminary results_percent of vote by party NA; seats_(102 total) Liberal Party 59, conservatives (includes PC, MSN, and NDF) 31, other 12 House of Representatives (Camara De Representantes):Elections last held 13 March 1994 (next to be held NA March 1998; preliminary results_percent of vote by party NA; seats_(161 total) Liberal Party 89, conservatives (includes PC, MSN, and NDF) 53, AD/M-19 2, other 17

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justical), highest court of criminal law, judges are selected from the nominees of the Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms; Council of State, highest court of administrative law, judges are selected from the nominees of the Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms; Constitutional Court, guards integrity and supremacy of the constitution, rules on constitutionality of laws, amendments to the constitution, and international treaties

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AG, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G- 3, G-11, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Colombia: Three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Colombia - Economy 1996
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Economy overview: Boasting a diversified and stable economy, Colombia has enjoyed Latin America's most consistent record of growth over the last several decades. Gross domestic product (GDP) has expanded every year for more than 25 years, and unlike many other South American countries, Colombia did not default on any of its official debts during the "lost decade" of the 1980s. Since 1990, when Bogota introduced a comprehensive reform program that opened the economy to foreign trade and investment, GDP growth has averaged more than 4% annually. Growth has been fueled in recent years by the expansion of the construction and financial service industries and an influx of foreign capital. Some foreign investors have been deterred by an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure and the violence stemming from drug trafficking and persistent rural guerrilla warfare, but direct foreign investment, especially in the oil industry, is still rising at a rapid rate. Although oil consequently is overtaking coffee as the main legal export, earnings from illicit drugs probably exceed those from any other export. Non-petroleum economic growth has been slowing, however, in part because the tight monetary policies adopted to offset the inflationary impact of high capital inflows and rising government spending have slowed local sales and investment. Business confidence also has been damaged by a political crisis stemming from allegations that senior government officials, including President SAMPER, solicited contributions from drug traffickers during the 1994 election campaign. The slowdown in the growth of labor-intensive industries such as manufacturing has caused a small rise in unemployment and interfered with President SAMPER'S plans to lower the country's poverty rate, which has remained at about 40% despite the expanding economy. Nevertheless, the booming oil sector, growing foreign investment, and the fundamental stability of the economy promise to keep growth positive for the foreseeable future, barring severe, unpredictable shocks from developments in the political or international arenas.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
5.3% (1995 est.)
5.7% (1994 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: Growth rate 3.8% (1994 est.), accounts for 21.5% of GDP; crops make up two-thirds and livestock one-third of agricultural output; climate and soils permit a wide variety of crops, such as coffee, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseeds, vegetables; forest products and shrimp farming are becoming more important

Textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, metal products, cement
Mining_gold, coal, emeralds, iron, nickel, silver, salt

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate 3.5% (1995 est.), 5% (1994 est.), accounts for 29% of GDP

Labor force: 12 million (1990)
By occupation Services: 46%
By occupation Agriculture: 30%
By occupation Industry: 24% (1990)
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
9.5% (1995)
7.9% (1994 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $16 billion (1995 est.)
Expenditures: $24 billion including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.); $21 billion (1995 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: Calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

total value. $10.5 billion (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
$8.3 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)

Fresh cut flowers

U.S. 39%
EC 25.7%
Japan 2.9%
Venezuela 8.5% (1992)

Total value:
$13.5 billion (c.i.f., 1995 est.)
$10.6 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)

Industrial equipment
Transportation equipment
Consumer goods
Paper products

U.S. 36%
EC 18%
Brazil 4%
Venezuela 6.5%
Japan 8.7% (1992)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external:
$14 billion (1995 est.)
$12.6 billion (1994 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Colombian pesos (Col$) per US$1_1,011.11 (January 1996), 912.83 (1995), 844.84 (1994), 863.06 (1993), 759.28 (1992), 633.05 (1991), 502.26 (1990)

Colombia - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 33 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 890 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Colombia - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 1.89 million telephones; modern system in many respects
Local: NA
Intercity: nationwide microwave radio relay system; 11 domestic earth stations
International: 2 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth stations

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Colombia - Military 1996
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $2 billion, 2.8% of GDP (1995; $1.2 billion (1992 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Colombia - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 989
With paved runways over 3047 m: 2
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 9
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 33
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 311 (1995 est.)
With paved runways under 914 m: 557
With paved runways With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 41

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 2
2438 to 3047 m: 9
15-24 to 2437 m: 33
914 to 1523 m: 311 (1995 est.)
Under 914 m: 557
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 41

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: Crude oil 3,585 km; petroleum products 1,350 km; natural gas 830 km; natural gas liquids 125 km



Waterways: 14,300 km, navigable by river boats

Merchant marine
Total: 19 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 97,037 GRT/129,404 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 5, cargo 8, container 3, oil tanker 3 (1995 est.)

Ports and terminals

Colombia - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Illicit producer of coca, opium poppies, and cannabis; about 45,000 hectares of coca under cultivation; the world's largest processor of coca derivatives into cocaine; supplier of cocaine to the U.S. and other international drug markets; active eradication program against narcotics crop


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