Area Handbook for Colombia

By Thomas E. Weil; Jan Knippers Black et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
POPULATION AND LABOR FORCE

In 1969 both the dynamics and the structure of the country's population of approximately 20 million and its labor force, which represented 30 percent of the total, could be defined in terms of two factors. First, there was the rapid and increasing rate of demographic growth. Second, there was the rapid and increasing movement of people from farm to city. These two phenomena conditioned most aspects of the way people lived and the way in which they worked. Between 1960 and 1969 the crude population growth rate had remained steady at about 3.2 percent annually. Colombian experts in demographic matters expected this extraordinarily high rate to moderate a little in coming years but, nonetheless, an increasing birth rate coupled with greater longevity had pushed the growth incidence up from less than 2 percent annually early in the 20th century. It was anticipated that by 1980 Colombia would become the third most populous country in Latin America.

Migration has resulted in the growth of large cities rather than small towns, for there has been a continuing movement from smaller to larger urban centers as well as from country to town. In the late 1960's more than one-third of the population resided in 20 cities with populations in excess of 100,000. Bogotá was the largest, but some of the other major cities, such as Medellín and Cali, were centers of well-defined economic and cultural regions, growing at rates rivaling that of the capital. Urbanization has resulted also in a pronounced population imbalance, with cities growing too fast for housing and job availabilities to keep pace. In addition, relatively more females than males and more people of both sexes in the economically active age groups than people not in these groups are found in urban localities.

With the rapid growth of the population during recent years, the number of children under working age has grown at a rate substantially faster than that of the working-age population and, as a consequence, the size of the labor force has declined in relation to the size of the population as a whole. At the same time migration from the countryside has resulted in progressively

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Area Handbook for Colombia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Preface v
  • Country Summary vii
  • Table of Contents xi
  • Section I. Social 1
  • Chapter 2 - Physical Environment 7
  • Chapter 3 - Historical Setting 27
  • Chapter 4 - Population and Labor Force 63
  • Chapter 5 - Ethnic Groups and Languages 81
  • Chapter 6 - Social Structure 107
  • Chapter 7 - Family 127
  • Chapter 8 - Living Conditions 143
  • Chapter 9 - Education 175
  • Chapter 10 - Artistic and Intellectual Expression 203
  • Chapter 11 - Religion 229
  • Chapter 12 - Social Values 249
  • Section Ii. Political 261
  • Chapter 14 - Political Dynamics 279
  • Chapter 15 - Foreign Relations 297
  • Chapter 16 - Public Information 317
  • Chapter 17 - Political Values and Attitudes 339
  • Section Iii. Economic 353
  • Chapter 19 - Agriculture 363
  • Chapter 20 - Industry 393
  • Chapter 21 - Labor Relations and Organization 409
  • Chapter 22 - Domestic Trade 437
  • Chapter 23 - Foreign Economic Relations 455
  • Chapter 24 - Financial and Monetary System 479
  • Section Iv.National Security 497
  • Chapter 26 - The Armed Forces 515
  • Bibliographies 539
  • Glossary 561
  • Index 567
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