|Population growth rate
||16.10 births per 1,000 population
|65 years and above
||0.98 M / F
||43.10 residents per km²
|(F 2015) Bogotá 7,862,300, Medellín 2,434,600, Calí
2,333,200, Barranquilla 1,214,300, Cartagena 959,600, Cúcuta 628,100,
Soledad 614,900, Ibagué 523,100, Bucaramanga 521,400, Soacha 505,300,
Santa Marta 466,300, Bello 449,000, Pereira 396.200, Valledupar 386.700,
Manizales 368.600, Buenaventura 365.700, Pasto 365.700, Montería
341.400, Neiva 322.400
|86% of European, European-indigenous and
European-African descent, 11% of African, 3% of indigenous descent (87
ethnic groups), 0.01% of Roma
|Catholics (Roman Catholic) 90%
|Human Development Index (HDI)
People in Colombia
Up to the 16th century, many different Indian peoples
lived in what is now Colombia. Then Europeans,
especially Spaniards, came and took the country as a
colony and settled here. They took people from Africa as
slaves. The ethnic groups also mixed with each other.
This is how you see all skin colors in Colombia today.
Today in Colombia 49 percent of the common
descendants of whites and natives, 37 percent whites and
10.6 percent Afro-Colombians, i.e. all people of wholly
or partially African descent. The Afro-Colombians live
mainly on the two coasts of the country.
Only 3.4 percent of Colombia's residents are
indigenous. But they are spread over 102 ethnic groups!
They live mainly in the Amazon rainforest, in the
lowlands of the Pacific, in the mountains in the
southwest and in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the
The Wayúu are the most numerous among the indigenous
peoples of Colombia. They colonize the Guajira Peninsula
in the very northeast. The Ika and Kogi (in the Sierra
Nevada de Santa Marta in the northeast) and the Achagua
(in Orinocia, central part of the country) also belong
to the indigenous peoples. The Paez live in the
mountains in the southwest of the country, where there
are 21 reserves. The Emberá (also called Chocó) live in
the northwest. Their settlement area extends over the
border to Panamá.
The Wayúu live on the Guajira Peninsula, which
largely belongs to Colombia. But the Wayúu people also
live in the Venezuelan area. Because it is so dry on the
peninsula, you can hardly do any farming here. The Wayúu
traditionally lived from fishing and hunting. Today,
many mainly raise cattle that are sold in markets. The
Wayúu live in villages and are organized in clans. Each
clan has a specific ancestor.
Languages in Colombia
Spanish is the official language of Colombia. 99
percent of the population speak Spanish as their mother
tongue. However, the Spanish spoken in Colombia is
different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. There are
also a number of dialects in Colombian Spanish, as you
can see on the map.
Voseo - they say vos instead of tu for "you" - is
spoken in only a few parts of Colombia. Much more common
is the use of usted for "you" ( usted is used in Spanish
to sift someone). Instead of vosotros (for "you") one
The Seseo is typical ( c before e and i is pronounced
like s, not like the English th ). It is also typical
that the g (before e and i ) and the j, which are
spoken in Spanish like the ch in "ach", are more
breathtaking in Colombia. And while in Spanish a double
l (as in llamar ) is pronounced as lj, in Colombia it
is only pronounced as j. By the way, that's called
yeísmo. In Colombia, -ico is used as a diminutive
instead of -ito. Adjectives and adverbs are also reduced
Creole languages and indigenous languages
The Afro-Colombians often speak English or a Creole
language. It is mostly based on English.
In a village called Palenque de San Basilio in the
north (50 kilometers from Cartagena) they speak the only
Creole language in Latin America that is based on
Spanish: Palenquero. The village is isolated and the
descendants of African slaves who live here have
preserved many of their traditions. 3500 people live
here, about half of them still speak Palenquero.
Palenquero is based on Spanish, but Spanish speakers
can hardly understand it. It also contains many elements
from the African Bantu language Kikongo, spoken in
Angola and the Republic of the Congo, and from
Examples from Palenquero: bokaminá means "you are
running " (in Spanish: (tu) caminas ). Or: to ma ría
bamo pa katahena means "Every day we go to Cartagena."
(In Spanish: Todos los días vamos para Cartagena. ).
Many of the indigenous peoples also speak their own
languages. In total there are still 65 indigenous
languages in Colombia. Most of the speakers have the
Wayúu, which speaks the people of the same name.
Palenque was originally called all the villages that
were founded in the 16th century by escaped slaves from
Cartagena de Indias. These runaway slaves were also
called "cimarrón". With fortifications made of wooden
stakes, the residents protected themselves from the
Spaniards, who tried again and again to take the
Palenques. They succeeded - only Palenque de San Basilio
successfully fought back.
Religions in Colombia