Was just doing a search on the Gini Index (an economic indicator showing inquality of wealth distribution) for Colombia, when I came across this Wikipedia post:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_Colombia

Incidentally, the Gini coefficient shows Colombia to be one of the most unequal countries in the world, and has the second highest coefficient in Latin America, after Brazil.

Posted on June 11, 2008


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I saw that Wiki article too, a couple of weeks ago, perhaps, when searching for info in one of my interminable debates with Rubito.

Another disturbing indicator was the increase of illiteracy in some provinces compared with the literacy rate 20 years ago.

"The last CEPAL report includes data about extreme poverty in 45% of the general population and 17% homelessness, with an estimated 9,654,722 homeless people. (In comparison, the average figures in Latin America as a whole are 18% and 5%, respectively). [2]"
I wonder how old is this study. According to statistics given out by the Colombian government (Dane) the povery rate in Colombia has been dramatically improved under Uribe's mandate. Does anybody know what are the parameters for 1) poverty 2) extreme poverty and 3)absolute poverty?

Posted on June 11, 2008


Strange...not sure where the numbers are coming from: If the country has about 42 million people and 17% are homeless, that's 7.14 million homeless, quite a bit different than the 9.7 million in the above post. Regardless, the numbers still sound WAY off because even some of the 2-3 million forcibly displaced have homes.

Posted on June 11, 2008


I read recently in Amnesty's 2007 report that official DANE statistics state that, "45% of Colombia's population lives below the poverty line, and 12% in extreme poverty. Displaced persons are the poorest of the poor."

Uribe himself has quoted these figures in 2007's report to Santa Fe de Railito, sorry, Congress.

Posted on June 11, 2008


"Another disturbing indicator was the increase of illiteracy in some provinces compared with the literacy rate 20 years ago."


Could that be attributed to all the gringos coming down ;))

Posted on June 11, 2008


"La administración Uribe batiendo récords mundiales de lucha contra la pobreza, y nosotros sin saberlo!"

Qué se hicieron los pobres?

Daniel Samper Pizano. Columnista de EL TIEMPO.

¿Qué se hicieron los pobres?
Sumergido en el diario trajín informativo sobre guerrillas quebrantadas, paramilitares extraditados, políticos presos, luchas en el poder judicial, popularidad del presidente y declaraciones belicosas de sus ministros, me pregunto qué fue de los pobres.

Ya nunca se habla de ellos, no los mencionan en los discursos y ocupan rincones marginales en los medios de comunicación. ¿Se arregló el problema social? ¿Hemos solucionado la más grave injusticia colombiana, que es la desigualdad económica? ¿Murió acaso la pobreza en el territorio nacional? Si ello es así, ¿de qué planeta vienen esos negritos que venden dulces en los semáforos de Bogotá, esos desplazados a las barriadas urbanas, esos campesinos sin tierra?

Uno de los efectos más lamentables de la violencia y la zozobra política es que su estrépito acalla todo ruido proveniente de los menesterosos. Rara vez habla el Gobierno sobre la patética situación económica de millones de colombianos, y cuando lo hace es para asegurar, cual la sonriente directora de Planeación hace un año, que el número de pobres bajó del 56 al 45 por ciento en el primer cuatrienio de su jefe. ¡La administración Uribe batiendo récords mundiales de lucha contra la pobreza, y nosotros sin saberlo!

Según otras fuentes, sin embargo, la realidad es distinta. Si la pobreza ha descendido, es en proporciones mínimas. Lo que hizo el Gobierno fue modificar la metodología con que la miden. En el trueque, millones de colombianos pasaron en 24 horas de la indigencia a la clase media. La Universidad Nacional denunció estos trucos y afirmó que "las cifras son sospechosas". El economista Eduardo Sarmiento sostiene que, para que fueran ciertas, todo el ingreso nacional tendría que haber ido al bolsillo de los pobres: "Entonces -se pregunta-, ¿a los ricos no les quedó nada?".

Más probable es que, como denuncia la ONU, 64 de cada 100 colombianos estén en el umbral de la pobreza. Hace cuatro años, entre el 26 y el 31 por ciento de la población se hallaba en la miseria (datos de ONU y Contraloría de la República). Los índices de desarrollo que han sonreído al país este siglo benefician más que todo a los ricos. Según el especialista español Davis Castells, el crecimiento económico colombiano de los últimos tres lustros ha sido "antipobres". Es decir, se edificó a favor de los ricos y a expensas de los más necesitados. En los años posteriores a 2001, "la pobreza sigue aumentando y supera ya el 60 por ciento de la población".

En fin, nos ilusionamos en vano: los pobres no han desaparecido. Ahí están, ocultos por la bulla y el humo. En 1958, el Frente Nacional diseñó una solución solamente política a un creciente problema social, y su error disparó la violencia armada.

Desde hace un tiempo ya ni siquiera se ofrece una solución política, sino militar. Está claro que combatir la inseguridad favorece la inversión económica; pero si casi todos sus frutos quedan en manos de las clases adineradas la situación social derivará al final en inseguridad.

Colombia padece los resultados del modelo neoliberal, que, según Castells, "ha puesto el interés privado por encima del general, ha acentuado la desigualdad y provocado más pobreza". Tanto las acentuó, que Colombia es uno de los países del mundo con más altos coeficientes de inequidad económica.

Ahora, para agravar el panorama, surge como redentor, frente a un tercer mandato de Uribe, un segundo mandato de César Gaviria, padre del experimento neoliberal colombiano que quebró el campo y "significó un golpe a la equidad, a la distribución del ingreso y a los estratos más bajos" (Estudio de los economistas Carlos Ramírez y Johann Rodríguez).

Al aprobar la reelección, el Congreso liberó el monstruo. Ahora, cualquier viaje al pasado parece posible. ¿Todavía viven Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera y Abadía Méndez, para lanzarlos?
cambalache@mail.ddnet.es

Daniel Samper Pizano

Posted on June 11, 2008


Oh but Colombia's #1 problem and priority and the only thing we should expect of government right now is to deal with FARC, who cares about this other stuff???

Posted on June 11, 2008


It's the FARC who displaces them, genius!

Posted on June 11, 2008


Yes FARC=Satan before they existed Colombia was the envy of all nations... Once they are gone there will be no holding back the hordes of people rushing over to Colombia, I'm scared I might get trampled in the stampede...

Posted on June 11, 2008


Poverty is relative to each person. From over 20 years of travel to Latin America this is what my eyes have taught me about poverty in Latin America. Poverty everywhere in massive poor slums and barrios except for Costa Rica and Argentina. Honduras and Nicaragua? Very much poverty. Guatemala as well but not quite as poor as Honduras or Nicaragua.

Venezuela? Massive slums around Caracas. Horrible. No reason for such poverty in Venezuela when the population is only 27 million and billions have poured into the country due to oil over the last 40 years or so.

Colombia? Poverty yes but not so bad in a way compared to the slums of Caracas.

Again, all relative to each person and family. Heck we got people here in the US making $100,000 a year and think they are poor. LOL

From the pictures I have seen the slums of RIO look to be the worst.

I never really saw people in Costa Rica who looked desperately poor. I am sure there are some? It says a lot about a government that has no army and has a pretty good educational system for its people.

Posted on June 11, 2008


The article in question says that "...Colombia has the highest rate of unemployment in Latin America..." Higher than Honduras or Nicaragua? I do not think so! You have to be careful with WIKIPEDIA information.

Posted on June 11, 2008


The Wiki article is based on CEPAL reports from Colombia CEPAL is the same as the
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Sounds pretty dependable to me.

Posted on June 11, 2008


There is no way Colombia has a higher unemployment rate than Nicaragua or Bolivia.

Posted on June 11, 2008


i dunno about bolivia but im guessing nicaragua has been in deficit for a while now with that million nicaraguans living in costa rica :P

Posted on June 11, 2008


Poverty is in-deed relative, poverty in china, africa, india is by far more "poor" and in greater numbers then most latin american countries. most reports are bias, and skewed to show what the person or group presenting then want to show. Why do we use charts and graphs, then our own eyes, and accounts from the ground? In my profession alot of mariners get stuck watching the radar when they can just look out the window which represents a realtime view, bottom line is poverty, the homeless and unemployment are huge problems for colombia. all you have to do is look around and see the homeless on the streets of centro medellin, in addition to the many many many people selling gum, cell-phone minutes, and everything eles on the streets for 5mil a day. colombia is a country of the "have-alots" and "have nots" and it will continue to be so, as big bussniess is allowed to follow "free-market" thought and continue to keep min. wages at rock bottom levels.

Alot of opinion says the colombias economy is booming and growing, again based off what? GDP can grow, like it did in america from 2002 to today, but it can still hurt and make life more difficult increase unemployment, and creat high inflation which stems growth especially among middle class and poor. i persoanlly see GDP growing, colombia getting stronger economically as it gets more investment for aboard, i do not think unemployment will drastically drop, prices to go down or wages to go up again the benfits of this booming economy will not be passed down to average colombians, also if the currency trend continues exports will take a hit eventually(major part of the colombian economy), perhaps colombia can turn that tide through hyped up real estate prices.

Posted on June 11, 2008


Sociologists generally define 2 types of poverty:

1) Relative Poverty: being below a relative poverty threshold. For example, households with an accumulated income less than 50% of the average income is often defined as a measure of relative poverty.

Obviously, this depends: if you're comparing households in Beverly Hills, somebody with 3 cars, one maid and a semi-Olympic pool could be described as suffering from poverty. In Cuidad Bolivar, Bogota, a house where everyone has there one bed, and a fridge, but very little else could be described as above the relative poverty line.

2) Absolute Poverty: quantifies the number of people below a poverty threshold independent of time and place, i.e. the same in different countries, cultures, and technological levels.
Indicators like the UN's 8 Basic Needs Index uses this concept:-

Food: Body Mass Index above 16.
Safe drinking water: Water must not come from only rivers and ponds, and must be available nearby (less than 15 minutes' walk each way).
Sanitation facilities: Toilets in or near the home.
Health: Treatment must be received for serious illnesses and pregnancy.
Shelter: Homes must have fewer than four people living in each room. Floors must not be made of dirt, mud, or clay.
Education: Everyone must attend school or otherwise learn to read.
Information: Everyone must have access to newspapers, radios, televisions, computers, or telephones at home.
Access to services: Eg. education, health, legal, social, and financial (credit) services.

I don't know what indicators the DANE uses to define poverty and absolute poverty. Anyone else?

Posted on June 11, 2008


Siv thanks for making a point of that, people often don't know what the stats actually mean. For anyone that's more interested in that topic take a look at http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/poverty2.htm

Posted on June 11, 2008


My late comment is late, but sloppy Wikipedia article is sloppy.

So, for whatever reason, I feel the need to make some brief comments.

The CEPAL report itself, for those interested (if there are any of you left, more than ten days after the fact):

http://www.eclac.org/publicaciones/xml/5/30305/PSE2007_Cap1_Pobreza.pdf

http://www.eclac.org/cgi-bin/getProd.asp?xml=/publicaciones/xml/5/30305/P30305.xml&xsl=/dds/tpl/p9f.xsl&base=/dds/tpl/top-bottom.xsl

What the editor translated as "homelessness" is actually "indigencia", which according to the report is identical to "pobreza extrema", or just extreme poverty.

What the editor translated as "extreme poverty" is actually "pobreza", or just poverty.

Notice one little problem? There are also statements in the article which aren't sourced and as a whole this reads more like a veiled editorial and not what a Wikipedia article should aspire to be.

Also, the statistical annex to the CEPAL report is interesting since, among other things, it has different numbers for some figures...like, say, the Gini index. According to this annex, Colombia's was 0.495 for 2005.

Apparently the cited Gini for 2006 in Wikipedia is from a different (non-CEPAL) source, which may still be valid and could probably still be included, but this discrepancy is not even addressed.

Read it for yourselves, if you want:

http://www.eclac.org/publicaciones/xml/5/30305/PSE2007_AnexoEstadistico.xls

That doesn't mean the Uribe government's attitude towards poverty is good nor that the situation is good, but this article isn't entirely accurate and needs to be correctly reflecting its own sources, as well as following Wikipedia rules.

Whatever changes the local methodology has gone through, those observations can't be dismissed.

Is that too much to ask? Perhaps for some, but I don't believe so. Even if the issues remain, whatever this article may or may not say, accuracy is important, not just having social consciousness or advocating social policy.

Posted on June 11, 2008


I had heard somewhere that the most recent gini coefficient for Colombia was 0.84. Which seemed a BIT too high for me. Has anyone else stumbled upon this statistic? If so, where? Does anyone know where I could get my hands on the most recent gini coefficient for Colombia? The most recent I have found is for 2005 (0.584). I've also heard that it was 0.65, yet I have not been able to get my hand on that statistic either.

Anyone?

Posted on June 11, 2008


Any long term relief will first have to start with the a lasting peace. When the people can return to the countryside many will and the agro economy can begin redeveloping. Even if only on a sustainance level to begin.

Perhaps it is beginning...I have my doubts for long term though.

I sincerely hope I am mistaken.

ts

Posted on June 11, 2008