Colombia: People                                                         

  • Colombia is the third most populous country in Latin America—after Brazil and Mexico.

 

  • Movement from rural to urban areas has been heavy.

 

  • The nine eastern departments, constituting about 54% of Colombia’s area, have less than 3% of the population and a density of fewer than one person per square kilometer (two persons per square mile).

 

  • Thirty cities have 100,000 or more inhabitants.

 

  • Residents of the high Andes Mountains must cope with sometimes deadly volcanic activity—more than 20,000 died in the 1985 eruption of Volcan Nevada del Ruiz near the town of Armero in the Tolima Department.

 

  • Approximately 3/5 of the population is mestizo (mixed Spanish and indigenous ancestry).

 

  • People of African and mulatto (mixed African and European) ancestry account for nearly 1/5 of the population and are mainly concentrated in the coastal departments and in traditional sugar-growing areas such as the Cauca River valley.

 

  • The European population, which is mainly of Spanish origin, has declined to about 1/5 of the total population.

 

  • Amerindians constitute only 1% of the population, a much lower share than in other Andean countries.

 

  • Unlike most other South American republics, immigration has never been much encouraged in Colombia.