Most of Colombia’s population lives in cities and in the country’s central highlands. The eastern lowlands, which mainly consist of savanna, llanos, and tropical rainforest, itself, on the other hand, are very sparsely populated. The largest cities in 2017 were Bogotá (8.1 million residents), Medellín (2.5 million) and Cali (2.4 million).
The ethnic composition of the population is the result of generations of mixing Europeans, Africans and indigenous peoples. The proportion of whites and mites is estimated to be about 80 percent of the population, while blacks and Afrocolombians are estimated at just over 18 percent. The indigenous population today amounts to about 1.4 percent. The white and miserable majority population, who are descended from the Spanish conquerors and their gradual mixing with the indigenous population, live mainly in the highlands. The black population, descended from introduced African slaves, inhabits the lowlands along the coasts.
According to Countryaah, the indigenous people are scattered in enclaves all over the country. The majority are small farmers in the highlands, just under a third live as swine farmers, hunters and collectors in the eastern savannah and rainforest area and over 20 percent are nomadic livestock keepers in the dry areas of the Guajira Peninsula in the north. A little over a quarter of the total indigenous population lives in areas, travel guards, which are protected by special legislation.
- AllCityPopulation: Find Colombia demographics including latest population, life expectancy, age structure, and urbanization.
The official language is Spanish. About 1% of the population speaks some of the 80 still living native languages. These include languages of the Arawak and Chibcha families, as well as various Choco languages, Tucano languages and Quechua languages. The native languages have gained official status in the regions where they are spoken, and most are used in teaching, alongside Spanish.
The colonial church came to be devastating to indigenous religions. Independence in 1824 diminished the privileges of the church. Catholicism became a state religion in 1886, but was separated from the state in 1973. Today there is full religious freedom.
About 95 percent are Catholics and 4 percent are Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists. Pentecostal movements are fastest growing in the United States. Ecumenical cooperation takes place against poverty, violence and the drug industry. An interreligious dialogue with the indigenous and Afro-Colombian religious traditions is growing in importance.
2002 Total war
The peace talks between the government and the FARC broke down on February 20, 2002, when partisans had abducted a number of politicians in an attempt to both influence the March elections and have a prisoner exchange with captured partisans. When the election was held on March 10, a total of 12 politicians were abducted by the FARC – including presidential candidate Ingrid Betancour. The sitting government lost the parliamentary and presidential elections. It was won by candidates linked to the heavily right-wing Álvaro Uribe Vélez, who later in May won the presidential election. He is attached to the right-wing death patrolsAutodefensas Unidas de Colombia (Colombia’s United Self-Defense, AUC). His father was tortured to death by the FARC and he had therefore declared himself the opponent of any kind of peace agreement with the guerrillas.
Following the collapse of the peace talks, the FARC began carrying out very bloody attacks in the cities. On March 4, the group thus carried out a mortar attack on the city of Bojaya and hit a church where the people had sought refuge. 117 were killed, including 40 children.
In May 2002, the United States granted $ 2.6 billion. US $ for military operations in Latin America. At the same time, the Pastrana government conducted peace talks with the ELN in Cuba.
In April, the government launched its so-called Democratic Plan, which put 212,000 members of the military, police, air force and intelligence to guarantee security up to the May 26 presidential election. The election was conducted in a climate of terror, sabotage and cost 11 lives and partisans. The turnout was 45% historically low, and the election broke at the same time as the 50-year swap between the Liberals and Conservatives on the presidential race, with independent Uribe Vélez winning 52.96% of the vote against 31.77% for his closest opponent, the Liberal Horacio Looking at. During his election campaign, Uribe had stated that he would “provide security for all Colombians,” and while this would imply a tough policy against both guaerilla, right-wing death patrols and narcotics,
In January 2003, Uribe requested US direct intervention in the fight against the guerrillas and paramilitary groups, which he characterized as terrorists. That same month, the first special forces arrived from the United States and were deployed to the province of Arauca. They are thus the first US forces to actively participate in the civil war in Colombia.
It is estimated that the number of poor people in Colombia is 25 million, of which 11 million live in absolute poverty. Inequality in the country is illustrated by the fact that 1.5% of landowners own 80% of agricultural land.