Colombia at a glance

Official name: Republic of Colombia

Capital: Bogota, population 6 million (1997 estimate)

Founded: July 20, 1810

Official language: Spanish

Monetary unit: Colombian peso; valuation (July 4, 2000): 1 U.S. dollar = 1,996 Colombian pesos

Area: 440,000 square miles (1,144,000 square kilometers), twice the size of France

Land use (1993)
-- arable land: 4 percent
-- crops: 1 percent
-- pastures: 39 percent
-- forests: 48 percent
-- other: 8 percent

Natural resources: oil, natural gas, iron, nickel, coal, copper, gold, silver, platinum, emeralds

Government

Type: Multiparty republic with three branches, executive, legislative, judicial

Chief of state and head of government: President

Legislature: Bicameral Congress -- Senate (102 members) and House of Representatives (161)

Judiciary: Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Council of State

Political parties: Liberal Party currently controls Congress by a roughly 2-1 majority over the Conservatives. There are several smaller parties, most of which ally with one of the two major parties.

Suffrage: Universal at age 18

Administrative divisions: 32 departments, plus Bogota capital district

People

Population (2000 estimate): 40 million (third most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico)

Density: 91 people per square mile (5 per square kilometer); density in eastern half of county is only 2 per square mile (less than 1 per square kilometer)

Other major cities: Cali 1.7 million; Medellin 1.6 million; Barranquilla 1.2 million; Cartagena 746,000

Urban-rural ratio: 73 percent urban; 27 percent rural

Ethnic groups: mestizo 58 percent; white 20 percent; mulatto 14 percent; black 4 percent; mixed black-Indian 3 percent; Amerindian 1 percent

Religions: Roman Catholic 92 percent; other 8 percent

Birth rate per 1,000 people (1996): 25.9 (world average 25)

Death rate per 1,000 people (1996): 5.9 (world average 9.3)

Natural increase rate per 1,000 people (1996): 20 (world average 15.7)

Economy

Gross domestic product (1998): U.S.$111.2 billion (U.S.$2,780 per capita)

Annual growth rate (1998): 3.5 percent

Labor force (1997): 16.8 million
-- services: 46 percent
-- industrial: 24 percent
-- agriculture: 30 percent
-- unemployment rate: 20.3 percent (2000 estimate)

Industries: textiles, food processing, petroleum, beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cement, gold, coal, copper, iron, nickel, emeralds, lumber, paper products, cut flowers

Chief crops: coffee, rice, bananas, soybeans, sorghum, potatoes, corn, cotton, sugar, tobacco, coca

Special note: Colombia is the world's leading supplier of refined cocaine and a growing supplier of heroin, according to the U.S. State Department.

Quality of life

Average household size (1985): 4.7 people

Television sets per 1,000 people: 188

Radios per 1,000 people: 151

Telephones per 1,000 people: 161

Education and health

Literacy (1995): 91.3 percent of people over age 15 can read and write

Compulsory education: 5 years, for ages between 6 to 12

Percentage of population 25 and older with no formal schooling (1985): 15.3 percent

Infant mortality (1999): 24.3 deaths per 1,000 live births (world average 80)

Life expectancy (1999):
-- 66.5 years for males
-- 74.5 years for females

Major causes of death per 100,000 population (1990): homicide with firearms 101; cancer 82.6; heart disease 70.4; accidents 49; infectious disease 25.5

Physicians (1992): 33,498 (1 per 1,078 people)

Hospital beds (1989): 45,888 (1 per 693 people)

Communications

Newspapers: 37

Newspaper circulation (1999): 55 per 1,000 people

TV stations: 1 state-owned, 2 independent

Radio stations: 31 state-owned, 558 independents

Transportation

Railroads (1995): 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers)

Roads (1997): 71,700 miles (115,600 kilometers); 12 percent paved

Navigable waterways: 8,900 miles (14,300 kilometers)

Passenger cars (1995): 1.2 million

Trucks (1995): 550,000

Airports: 89 with paved runways (1998); 1,031 with unpaved runways

Military

Active duty personnel (1997): 146,300 (army 82.7 percent, navy 12.3 percent, air force 5 percent)

Military expenditures (1998): U.S.$4 billion

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP (1998): 3.6 percent

Military expenditures per capita (1998): U.S.$103

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2000 World Almanac, Information Please Almanac, U.S. State Department, CIA World Factbook, World Desk Reference, Reuters news service.

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