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indicator value unit
Population 49.7 mil.
Visitors per year mil.
Renewable energy %

How’s Life?

Colombia performs well in many measures of well-being in the Better Life Index. Colombia ranks above average in health status. It ranks below average in jobs and earnings, housing, work-life balance, education and skills, income and wealth, social connections, environmental quality, civic engagement, personal security, jobs and earnings, subjective well-being. These rankings are based on available selected data.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Colombia, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is lower than the OECD average of USD 33 604 a year.

In terms of employment, 67% of people aged 15 to 64 in Colombia have a paid job, broadly in line with the OECD employment average of 68%. Some 79% of men are in paid work, compared with 56% of women. In Colombia, almost 27% of employees work very long hours, much more than the 11% OECD average, with 32% of men working very long hours compared with 19% of women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In the Colombia, 54% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, below the OECD average of 78%. This is truer of women than men, as 56% of women have successfully completed high-school compared with 52% of men. In terms of education quality, the average student scored 410 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is lower than the OECD average of 486. On average in Colombia, boys outperformed girls by 2 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Colombia is almost 76 years, lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 79 years, compared with 73 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 9.6 micrograms per cubic meter, lower than the OECD average of 13.9 micrograms per cubic meter. In Colombia 75% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, lower than the OECD average of 81%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Colombia, where 89% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, in line with the OECD average. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens' participation in the political process, was 53% during recent elections, lower than the OECD average of 68%.

In general, Colombians are slightly less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Colombians gave it a 6.3 grade on average, broadly in line with the OECD average of 6.5.



OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Colombia

OECD’s periodic surveys of the Colombian economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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Colombia in Detail