|c. 50 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
Spanish and other native languages.
Predominantly Roman Catholic, minorities of Protestant and other religions. Native people are mainly animist, some from Middle East who are nationalized Colombian citizens are Muslims especially of Druze.
Colombian people are from a multiethnic Spanish speaking nation in America called Colombia. Colombians are predominantly Roman Catholic and are a mixture of Europeans, Africans, Middle Easterners and Amerindians.
The European immigrants were primarily Spanish colonists, but a small number of other Europeans (i.e. Portuguese, Dutch, German, Italian, French, Swiss, Belgians, English and a small colony of Irish when the country was under British rule) and also many North Americans migrated to the Caribbean region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and in smaller numbers Germans, Polish, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Croatian communities immigrated during the Second World War and the Cold War.
Other immigrant populations include Asians and Middle Easterners, particularly Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, recently have been moving into the country.
49% of the population is mestizo, or of mixed European and the earliest settlers' ancestry, while 37% are white of full European ancestry. Another 14% is mulatto, or of mixed black African and European ancestry, while 4% is of black African ancestry and 3% are zambos, of mixed black African and Amerindian ancestry. Black Africans were brought as slaves, mostly to the coastal lowlands, beginning early in the 16th century, and continuing into the 19th century. Pure indigenous Amerindians comprise 1 percent of the population. There are 101 languages listed for Colombia in the Ethnologue database, of which 80 are spoken today as living languages. There are about 500,000 speakers of indigenous languages in Colombia today.
Before the Spanish colonization of the region that would become the country of Colombia, the territory was the home to many different indigenous peoples. Today more than fifty different indigenous ethnic groups inhabit Colombia. Most of them speak languages belonging to the Chibchan and Cariban language families.
Historically there are established 567 reserves (resguardos) for indigenous peoples and they are inhabited by more than 800,000 people; the 1991 constitution established their native languages as official in their territories, most of them have bilingual education (Native and Spanish). Some of the largest indigenous groups are the Wayuu, the Arhuacos, the Muisca, the Kuna people, the Witoto, the Páez, the Tucano and the Guahibo. The departamentos with the biggest Indian population are Cauca, Guajira and Guainia.
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Because of its strategic location Colombia has received several immigration waves during its history. Most of these immigrants have settled in the Caribbean Coast; Barranquilla (the largest city in the Colombian Caribbean Coast) and other Caribbean cities have the largest population of Lebanese, Italian, German, French, Portuguese and Gypsy descendants. There are also important communities of U.S. American and Chinese descendants in the Caribbean Coast. Most immigrants are Venezuelans, mostly based in Bogotá, Colombia's capital.
The educational experience of many Colombian children begins with attendance at a preschool academy until age five (Educación preescolar). Basic education (Educación básica) is compulsory by law. It has two stages: Primary basic education (Educación básica primaria) which goes from first to fifth grade – children from six to ten years old, and Secondary basic education (Educación básica secundaria), which goes from sixth to ninth grade. Basic education is followed by Middle vocational education (Educación media vocacional) that comprises the tenth and eleventh grades. It may have different vocational training modalities or specialties (academic, technical, business, and so on.) according to the curriculum adopted by each school.
After the successful completion of all the basic and middle education years, a high-school diploma is awarded. The high-school graduate is known as a bachiller, because secondary basic school and middle education are traditionally considered together as a unit called bachillerato (sixth to eleventh grade). Students in their final year of middle education take the ICFES test (now renamed Saber 11) in order to gain access to higher education (Educación superior). This higher education includes undergraduate professional studies, technical, technological and intermediate professional education, and post-graduate studies.
Bachilleres (high-school graduates) may enter into a professional undergraduate career program offered by a university; these programs last up to five years (or less for technical, technological and intermediate professional education, and post-graduate studies), even as much to six to seven years for some careers, such as medicine. In Colombia, there is not an institution such as college; students go directly into a career program at a university or any other educational institution to obtain a professional, technical or technological title. Once graduated from the university, people are granted a (professional, technical or technological) diploma and licensed (if required) to practice the career they have chosen. For some professional career programs, students are required to take the Saber-Pro test, formerly known as ECAES, in their final year of undergraduate academic education.
Public spending on education as a proportion of gross domestic product in 2006 was 4.7% – one of the highest rates in Latin America – as compared with 2.4% in 1991. This represented 14.2% of total government expenditure. In 2006, the primary and secondary net enrollment rates stood at 88% and 65% respectively. School-life expectancy was 12.4 years. A total of 92.3% of the population aged 15 and older were recorded as literate, including 97.9% of those aged 15–24, both figures slightly higher than the regional average.
The National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) does not collect religious statistics, and accurate reports are hard to obtain. Based on various studies, more than 95% of the population adheres to Christianity, in which a huge segment of the population, between 81% and 94%, practices Roman Catholicism and 4% follow Protestanism. About 1% of Colombians practice indigenous religions.
Under 1% practice Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Despite strong numbers of adherents, around 60% of respondents to a poll by El Tiempo report that they do not practice their faith actively.
The Colombian constitution guarantees religious freedom, but also states that the State "is not atheist or agnostic, nor indifferent to Colombians' religious sentiment." Religious groups are readily able to obtain recognition as organized associations, but some smaller ones face difficulty in obtaining recognition as religious entities, which is required to offer chaplaincy services in public facilities.
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|Ethnic Mixing in Spanish Colonial America|