Colombia + 1 more

Colombia VAM Bulletin #1: October 2021

Originally published


This bulletin provides periodic information on the Food Security situation in Colombia and other relevant socio-economic indicators, according to primary and secondary data produced by WFP and other governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Key Highlights

  • Poverty in Colombia increased between 2019 and 2020. In the first half of 2021, poverty has remained at levels similar to 2020 because COVID-19 continues to have an impact on the economy in terms of high levels of unemployment and informal labour, making it difficult for households to recover.

  • More than half of the Colombian population is food insecure (52%).

  • In the case of the Venezuelan migrant population, more than six out of ten people (64%) are food insecure.


The socio-economic situation in Colombia deteriorated between 2019 and 2020. The share of the population in extreme monetary, monetary and multidimensional poverty increased from one year to the next. By 2020, 21 million (42.5%) of people were in poverty, of which 7.5 million (15.1%) were in extreme poverty.

The estimate of poverty in the country has an annual periodicity and, therefore, the figures are not yet available for 2021. However, some indicators show the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on households' socio-economic resources.

Between 2019 and 2020, household incomes were affected by an increase in unemployment, which rose from 10.5% to 15.9%, and has since not recovered. In the first half of 2021 the unemployment rate was 15.4%, which is no substantive change is observed with respect to the previous year.

In addition to unemployment, household resources are affected by the high levels of informal labour in the country. About half (48.8%) of the people who work (employed) in the 23 main cities are in the informal sector, that is, they work in small companies (up to 5 workers) that are more likely to not be legally registered and to provide precarious conditions and low remuneration to their workers.

From the perspective of social security, 63.2% of the working population throughout the country works in the informal sector, that is, they are not affiliated with the pension system.

In this context of the labor market, it is probable that the percentage of the population in a situation of poverty by 2021, will remain at levels similar to 2020. In addition, both the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the national strike, have disrupted supply chains and product prices.