Population growth rate: 1.68%
Ethnic groups: mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%,
mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic 90%
There has been a major shift in the population from the country to the
GNP per capita: $1,670 (1994)
Main Industries: coffee, drugs (cocaine, opium poppies, marijuana),
textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals,
cement; gold, coal, emeralds
External Debt per capita: $534 (1994)
Life expectancy: 70.28 years
Infant mortality: 24.7 deaths/1,000 live births
Coal and oil reserves and a modernizing economy have eased dependence
on coffee; huge earnings from cocaine.
IlIiteracy: 9% (1995)
Very unequal: lowest 40% of households have 12.7% of income, while
a small percentage of people are very wealthy.
Regions: There is a wide range of different regions: flat coastal
lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains.
The Andes Mountains cross the country from north to south.
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel,
gold, platinum, copper, emeralds, hydropower
Farming: Agriculture is very important to the economy. It only
uses a small percentage of the land (5%), but it is 23% of the economy.
Commercial agriculture has taken the best land and small farmers have
often taken to growing coca, the plant that is made into cocaine.
Problems: deforestation; soil damage from overuse of pesticides;
air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
Groups that export drugs (especially cocaine) have often had considerable
political power in recent years.
There have also been struggles with left-wing guerrilas forces in many
areas of the country.
Official democracy with press freedom, but high levels of state political
Position of Women
Catholicism and machismo has a large effect on poor urban and rural
women. A 1991 Constitution guarantees equal opportunities for women,
but there remain considerable inequalities. Approximately 23% of the
work force is women. Literacy rates for women are nearly the same as