The 2005 census found that over 10% of the population of Colombia has African origins -- over 4.26 million people.

Colombians of African descent (Afrocolombianos) are found throughout the country, with the greatest concentrations in the coastal areas. The Department of Chocó has the largest population (74%) that is of African or mixed African origin. The Department of San Andrés and Providencia is second with 57%. While Bolivar and Valle tie for third with 27%.

Approximately 75% of the Afro-Colombian population live in urban areas, and Cali is the city with the largest per capita population of Afro-Colombians. Even Bogotá is estimated to have nearly 500,000 citizens of Afro-Colombian origin.

The Colombian government recognizes 3 distinct cultural groups of Afro-Colombians:

1- Negros or Afrocolombianos -- found throughout the country.

2- Palenqueros -- found in San Basilio -- department of Bolívar.

3- Raizales -- found in San Andrés and Providencia -- over 57,000 people.

Afrocolombianos have typically been a marginalized group in Colombia. In fact, in cities that have a large percentage of Afro-Colombians, statistics show that there is a lower standard of living and greater poverty. In Chocó, for example, the Index of Human Poverty Level is 10% higher than the national average. Only 2% of Afrocolombianos graduate from college.

Colombian government statistics also show that Afro-Colombian children are twice as likely to be forced to work from as young as 5 years of age and twice as likely to die at birth -- in Chocó, it is 3 times as likely that a child will die at birth.

It is also true that an Afro-Colombian child is way less likely to be adopted by Colombian families and therefore, international families are an important part of the reestablishment of a child's right to a family. ICBF has determined that thousands of children are considered "difficult to adopt." Of these children only 33.3% have physical or mental problems. The great majority 66.6% are difficult to place because of their age, ETHNICITY, or because they belong to a sibling group of 3 or more.

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* Photo by L*U*Z*A* lack of inspiration


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