7 junio, 2024

The 10 Most Serious Social Problems in Colombia

Some of the social problems in Colombia They are corruption, poverty, unemployment, discrimination, drug addiction, class inequality or juvenile delinquency.

Colombia is a State in South America, whose history has been full of political, social and economic problems, including corruption, violation of human rights, drug trafficking, among others.

In fact, Colombia is the western nation with the worst record when it comes to human rights, according to the data offered by the human rights reports carried out by the United Nations Organization (UN).

The guerrilla, corruption, the production and trafficking of narcotics have marked the country in a negative way and this mark translates into multiple social problems that aggravate the already precarious conditions of the country.

In recent years, the country has been recovering. However, with so many problems to deal with, improvements have been rather slow.

Main social problems in Colombia

1- Corruption

Corruption is one of the most pressing social problems facing Colombia. This is evident not only in the government but also in the practice of many multinational companies.

One of the most remembered cases of corruption was the financing of paramilitary groups by banana companies (mainly the American company Chiquita Banana Brands), which occurred between 1996 and 2004.

La Chiquita Brands established illegal relations with paramilitary groups in order to illicitly control the labor movement: the formation of unions and the right to social protest were basically prohibited through the terror instilled by the armed groups.

Subsequent investigations into this problem showed that the US multinational had given the Colombian paramilitaries more than 1.7 million dollars.

In 2007, Chiquita Brands pleaded guilty to financing paramilitary groups and was fined $25 million.

2- Unemployment

At the beginning of 2017, the unemployment rate stands at 11.7%, according to data provided by the National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia.

3- Poverty

According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia, in 2014, the monetary poverty line per household was $894,922.

This means that a family with an income of less than 894,922 pesos is included in the poor faction of the population.

For the year 2015, the percentage of monetary poverty was 27.8%. This number has decreased in the last two years. However, the monetary poverty index continues to be alarming.

On the other hand, the National Administrative Department of Statistics indicated that the value of the extreme poverty line is $408,436. The percentage of people in a situation of extreme poverty was 8% for the year 2015.

Finally, there is the multidimensional poverty index, which refers to five dimensions: (1) educational conditions of the home, (2) conditions of childhood and youth, (3) work, (4) health and access to utilities, and (5) housing conditions.

According to the Department, the multidimensional poverty index was 20.2% in 2015.

4- Discrimination

In 2011, the Colombian State enacted a law against racial, gender, religious, and sexual orientation discrimination, among others.

A law against femicide was even created, whose sentence is from 21 to 50 years, with no possibility of appealing for a sentence reduction.

However, there are still cases of discrimination, the most frequent being those involving unequal treatment of women.

On the other hand, there are isolated cases of discrimination in terms of religion, with the Jewish community being one of the most affected.

5- Drug addiction

Drug addiction is a problem that mainly affects Colombian youth. The increase in the rate of drug addiction in Colombia is largely due to the fact that the The State has controlled drug trafficking abroad, which makes the producers of these hallucinogenic substances look for alternatives in the country’s internal market.

The majority of the Colombian population that consumes drugs is between 10 and 24 years of age. The most consumed narcotics are cocaine, cannabis, heroin and some prescription drugs.

Drug use is a problem that not only affects the health of individuals but also aggravates other social problems, such as crime, school dropout, unemployment, among others.

6- Juvenile delinquency

Between 2011 and 2014, between 60 and 70 minors were arrested every day for committing various crimes, which included but were not limited to drug use, damage to public infrastructure, theft, and assault.

In fact, crimes committed by young people constitute about 12% of the criminal acts committed by the Colombian population in general.

These data are alarming since young people are the generation of relief. If juvenile delinquency continues like this, the future of the country will be full of criminals.

7- Situation of human rights

The human rights situation in Colombia is the worst in the entire Western Hemisphere.

Despite the fact that the constitution of this State guarantees the basic rights of the citizen (right to life, liberty, privacy, justice), the reports on human rights in Colombia carried out by the Organization of The United Nations shows that the country presents problems in the following areas:

– Integrity of human beings. Regarding the violation of the integrity of the person, cases of deprivation of life, forced disappearance of individuals and torture and other punishments within prisons and military installations stand out.

– Corruption. Regarding corruption, this is a serious problem in the country. The most critical corruption cases include drug trafficking and the use of paramilitary forces.

– Discrimination.

8- Education

The education and well-being of children and adolescents is usually one of the main concerns of Colombians. So far, the resources allocated to training are not enough to cover the needs of a good educational system.

The public offer is insufficient and private schools are quite expensive for the majority of citizens, so there are many minors who are forced to give up having the most complete education possible.

For example, every year 300,000 students graduate from high school who later cannot access higher education.

This causes research to stagnate or unqualified people to join the job for their jobs. In the worst case, dropping out of school leads the young person to opt for cruder and less ethical ways to survive (crime, drug addiction, prostitution, etc.).

9- Gambling

Gambling is a phenomenon that is taking more and more roots in the Colombian population. They are, after Panama, the country that plays the most in the American continent.

From 2012 onwards, in Bogotá the number of casinos has gone from 450 to more than 600, although it is estimated that there are more than 2,000 illegally in the Colombian capital alone. In addition, it should be noted that the arrival of online betting houses has expanded the possibilities.

The problem lies in the fact that most of the players and bettors are from the lower class, which leads to economic instability that can put the whole family at risk.

There are more and more cases of people addicted to gambling -the data indicates that between 5 and 19% of the population-, the average player being younger and younger.

10- Kidnappings

Kidnapping has been a blot on Colombia’s recent history. Since the 1970s, about 39,000 people have been kidnapped, reaching 10 cases a day in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Fortunately, the measures of the different governments in the 21st century managed to drastically reduce the figures. It went from 3,500 cases in 2000 to 170 in 2018.

The main cause of the success was the negotiations with paramilitary groups and the FARC guerrillas, the main people responsible for most of the kidnappings during these decades.

However, there is still a need to continue to decrease the number and face new challenges such as finding many of the missing persons and doing justice with them.

Themes of interest

Social problems of Mexico.

Social problems of Peru.

Social problems of Guatemala.


Frydenberg (2001). Adolescence Cooks with Social Issues. Retrieved on July 25, 2017, from u25-ostschweiz.ch
Colombia. Retrieved on July 25, 2017, from countrystudies.us
Issues in Colombia. Retrieved on July 25, 2017, from dem.tools
corruption. Colombia’s biggest problem is only getting worse, Retrieved on July 25, 2017, from colombiareports.com
Colombia 2015, Human Rights Report (2015). Retrieved on July 25, 2017, from state.gov
An Assessment of the Issue and Poverty in Colombia. Retrieved on July 25, 2017, from borgenproject.org
Colombia poverty and inequality statistics. Retrieved on July 25, 2017, from colombiareports.com.

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