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For other uses, see Colombians (disambiguation).
Colombian mosaic.jpg
Total population
c. 50 million
Regions with significant populations
Colombia Colombia 46,344,696[1]
United States United States 908,734[2]
Venezuela Venezuela 721,791[3]
Spain Spain 154,320[4]
Canada Canada 76,580[5]
Chile Chile 22,929[6]
Mexico Mexico 13,922[7]
United Kingdom United Kingdom 12,331[8]
Australia Australia 11,318[9]
France France 10.556[10]
Germany Germany 10,182[11]
Israel Israel 3,127[12]
Spanish and other native languages. English also official in San Andres and Santa Catalina islands.
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.
Related ethnic groups
Latin Americans, South Americans, Spaniards, Italians, Arabs, Africans and Muiscas.

Colombians, or Colombian people, are from a multiethnic Spanish speaking nation in South America called Colombia. Colombians are predominantly Roman Catholic and are a mixture of Europeans, Amerindians, Africans and Middle Easterners.

Ethnic groups[edit]

Originally, the land encompassing the country's territory was inhabitant in its entirety by numerous Ameridians. Colombia's indigenous culture evolved from three main groups—the Quimbayas, who inhabited the western slopes of the Cordillera Central; the Chibchas; and the Kalina (Caribs). The Muisca culture, a subset of the larger Chibcha ethnic group, famous for their use of gold, were responsible for the legend of El Dorado. Today they encompass a roughly 3.4% minority. The European immigrants were primarily Spanish colonists, and a small number of other Europeans who arrived during the 19th and 20th centuries (i.e. German, Dutch, English, Irish, Italian, Belgians, Swiss, French, Portuguese and also many North Americans migrated to the Caribbean region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and in smaller numbers Polish, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Croatian communities immigrated during the Second World War and the Cold War.


Afro-Colombian children.

49% of the population is mestizo, or of mixed European and the earliest Amerindian ancestry, while 37% are white of full European ancestry. Another 10.6% is full black African or mulatto (of mixed black African and European ancestry), while 3.4% have 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 about 1.5-2.0% of the population.[13] 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.[14]

The Wayuu represent the largest indigenous ethnic group in Colombia.

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,[15] 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.

Immigrant groups[edit]

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 American and Chinese descendants in the Caribbean Coast. Most immigrants are Venezuelans, mostly based in Bogotá, Colombia's capital.[16]


Main article: Education in Colombia

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.[17] 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, in their final year of undergraduate academic education.[18]

Public spending on education as a proportion of gross domestic product in 2012 was 4.4%. This represented 15.8% of total government expenditure. In 2012, the primary and secondary gross enrolment ratios stood at 106.9% and 92.8% respectively. School-life expectancy was 13.2 years. A total of 93.6% of the population aged 15 and older were recorded as literate, including 98.2% of those aged 15–24.[19]


Main article: Religion in Colombia

The National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) does not collect religious statistics, and accurate reports are difficult to obtain. However, based on various studies and a survey, about 90% of the population adheres to Christianity, the majority of which (70.9%) are Roman Catholic. 16.7% of Colombians adhere to Protestantism (primarily Evangelicalism), 4.7% are Atheists and Agnostics, 3.5% claim to believe in God, but they don't believe in religion. 1.8% of Colombians adhere to Jehovah's Witnesses and Adventism and under 1% to Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Indigenous religions, Hare Krishna movement, Rastafari movement, Orthodox Catholic Church, and spiritual studies. The remaining persons responded they did not know or did not respond to the survey. However, 35.9% of Colombians reported that they did not practice their faith actively.[20]

While Colombia remains a mostly Roman Catholic country by baptism numbers, the 1991 Colombian constitution guarantees freedom and equality of religion.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Departmental Administrativo National de Estadística". Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  2. ^ The Hispanic Population: 2010 U.S. Census Bureau
  3. ^ INE (2011). "Población nacida en el exterior, por año llegada a Venezuela, según pais de nacimiento, Censo 2011" (in Spanish). 
  4. ^ Avance de la Estadística del Padrón Continuo a 1 de julio de 2014 Instituto Nacional de Estadística
  5. ^ Statistics Canada (2011). "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". 
  7. ^ INEGI (2010). "Conociendo...nos Todos" (in Spanish). 
  8. ^ Country of Birth Database OECD
  9. ^ Department of Social Services (2011). "The Colombia-born Community". 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Destatis (2009). "MigrationIntegration". 
  13. ^ "Intute  – World Guide  – Colombia". Retrieved 2007-03-08. [dead link]
  14. ^ The Languages of Colombia[dead link]
  15. ^ EPM (2005). "La etnia Wayuu". Empresas Publicas de Medellin (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2008-02-19. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  16. ^ Aumenta el número de inmigrantes venezolanos en Colombia | NTN24
  17. ^ Colombian Constitution of 1991 (Title II - Concerning rights, guarantees, and duties - Chapter 2 - Concerning social, economic and cultural rights - Article 67)
  18. ^ "Ministerio de Educación de Colombia, Estructura del sistema educativo". 29 June 2007. 
  19. ^ "UNESCO Institute for Statistics Colombia Profile". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  20. ^ Beltrán Cely, William Mauricio. "Descripción cuantitativa de la pluralización religiosa en Colombia". Universitas humanística 73 (2012): 201–238. – 
  21. ^ Colombian Constitution of 1991 (Title II – Concerning rights, guarantees, and duties – Chapter I – Concerning fundamental rights – Article 19)