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Colombia’s poverty rate falls 1.4% in 2012: Santos

posted by Benjy Hansen-Bundy

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President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday announced that poverty in Colombia has fallen by 1.4% between 2011 and 2012.

Santos held a “Poverty Round Table” meeting in Colombia’s capital of Bogota today, wherein the most recent poverty statistics from DANE, the national statistics agency, were discussed.

According to DANE, poverty in Colombia fell from 34.1% in 2011 to 32.7% in 2012. Poverty in urban areas dropped from 30.3% to 28.4%. However, poverty in rural areas rose from 46.1% to 46.8%.

Extreme poverty was reduced in urban areas from 7.0% to 6.6%, but increased in rural areas from 22.1% to 22.8%.

Santos was particularly pleased with the drop in inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient, which fell from 0.548 to 0.539. In addition, per capita income rose 4.6% nationwide.

Referring to the strides Colombia had made, Santos said that Colombia is now “a normal country with these inequality numbers, not an embarrassing and shameful country.” Citing the new statistics, Santos additionally claimed that 700,000 Colombians had pulled themselves out of extreme poverty.

Statistics released in January however, revealed severe economic disparities between different departments. The poorest area of the country, the Choco department on the west coast, suffered poverty rates of 64%. MeanwhileBogota, the area with the least amount of poverty, reported a rate of just 13.1%.

MORE: Colombia poverty figures show harsh regional inequality

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