Colombian authorities on Wednesday reported that poverty levels in the country are lower than those of the previous year.
According to the Department of planning (DNP) and the Department of statistics (DANE) show a reduction of 2.9% of people living in poverty in Colombia when comparing July 2013 to June 2014, to figures from 2012-2013.
DANE reports that figures fell by 2.4% in Colombia cities and 4.4% in less populated areas.
FACT SHEET: Poverty and inequality statistics
Colombia is the third most populated country in Latin America, with an estimated population of 47.1 million. According to international charity organisation the World Food Programme (WFP) 75 percent of the population live in urban areas.
Despite its middle-income country status, 23 million Colombians are poor and 6 million live below the extreme poverty line.
Data provided by the World Bank shows a steady decline in poverty levels in Colombia since 2004, from nearly 47% of the population living below the poverty line in 2004 to 32 % in 2012.
Government officials put the figure at 29.3 % for 2013-2014 period.
What is considered poverty in Colombia?
The international monetary level under which a person is considered to be living in poverty is calculated by taking the poverty threshold from each country – given the value of the goods needed to sustain one adult – and converting it to dollars.
The international poverty line was originally set at approximately one dollar a day.
According to DANE the amount of money below which a person in Colombia would be considered in poverty was COP$208,404 per month ($105), broken down to a daily income of COP6,947 CP ($3.50) which would provide a sufficient amount of food and services to live.
The poverty level requirement differ between urban areas, where the price of living and basic necessities are more expensive, and in rural areas, where accommodation and basic food stuffs are expected to be cheaper.
For 2013 DANE set the levels in Colombia for urban zones at COP7,663 ($3.80) per day or in rural areas at COP4,587 ($2.30) per day.
Good news for President Santos
Government figures show that about 1.5 million less Colombian citizens are living below the poverty line compared to figures from last year.
Since President Juan Manuel Santos became president in July 2010, there has been a reduction of 9.7% of the population living below the poverty line.
Upon the release of the figures President Santos said: “Our aim is to eradicate extreme poverty in 10 years and reduce the figure by five percentage points in five years “.
Santos added that this is the first time in history a government of Colombia achieved these levels of reduction in poverty indicators.