Bogota's middle class now represents more than 50% of the city's population

August 14, 2017

Since 2009 and with an increase of 14%, Bogota is the Colombian city with the highest proportion of middle class inhabitants.

Bogota’s middle class now represents 51.6% of the population. With an increase of approximately 14% since 2009, the percentage of middle class in the Colombian capital exceeds the average for Latin America.

The District Department of Economic Development (SDDE), through research conducted by the Observatory of Economic Development and Invest in Bogota, in a joint exercise, are analyzing the distribution of Bogota’s social classes, aimed at strengthening understanding of the middle class, a segment highly relevant for measuring the economic potential of the city. Juan Miguel Durán, District Secretary of Economic Development, explains: "If you consider that the middle class represents the city’s market potential and availability of workforce, the exercise planned by the entity is an important resource when it comes to creating a business and investing in Bogota."

Juan Gabriel Pérez, CEO of Invest in Bogota, confirms: "The middle class is essential for exercises in attracting investment, because many companies looking to expand, find their potential clients in this socioeconomic group. For these companies, it is essential to know who their buyers are, their distribution and how these factors compare with those of other cities."

"Bogota has a significant direct foreign investment dynamic, and one of the reasons why this is so is the growth of its middle class. The average estimated growth in the amount of investment in the city over the last decade is 26%. Projects arriving in Bogota are characterized by high added value and many of them have an important R&D component," says Pérez.

According to the World Bank methodology, the methodology on which the analysis is based, social classes are determined based on the daily level of per capita income. While the middle class has a daily per capita income equivalent to a range of between COP 12,963 and COP 64,813 Colombian pesos, the vulnerable class has an income of between COP 5,185 and COP 12,963. The population considered in poverty has daily per capita income of less than COP 5,185 and that of the upper class exceeds COP 64,813 Colombian pesos.

While in Bogota middle class is represented by 3,719,941 people (51.6%), in the other cities, it is as follows: Medellin, 1,514,113 (46.1%); Cali, 849,124 (39.3%); Bucaramanga 530,779 (53.3%), and Barranquilla, 421,087 (26.2%).


Characterization of the middle class


General features of the household 

62.9% of the middle class resides in strata 3 and 4; 34.8%, in strata 1 and 2, and on average, a home of this social segment consists of 3.03 people. 52.7% of middle-class households live in rented properties, the highest proportion among the three classes (35.4% of the upper class and 48.9% of the lower class), and only 39% of the households are own homes. 45% of the middle class owns a transport vehicle (25.4% a bicycle, 12.7% a motorcycle or 7.3% a car).  93% of the middle-class population is affiliated to social security, while 79% of the affiliates belong to the contributory health scheme, 11% is in the subsidized system.


General features of the people 

The middle class is the only one in Bogota in which the proportion of women is higher than that of men, with a gender distribution of 50.5% women and 49.5% men. It is a young and working age population with an age range of between 14 and 44 years (29% between 14 and 28 years and 26.7% between 29 and 44 years). Their educational level is distributed as follows: university or higher education, 33.7%; secondary education, 25.9%; basic primary, 17.1%; basic secondary, 14.8%; not reported, 3.6%; preschool, 3.5%; and no studies 1.3%.


Labor market and employment level 

The middle class constitutes 58.5% of the economically active population of the city and that of greater participation. It has an overall participation rate of 80.75%, very close to the upper class (81.37%). It has a high potential to significantly contribute to the economic development of the city: its adult population corresponds to 67.8% and most young people with jobs, with 24.8%. Middle-class people are mainly employed (59.6%); 26% are independent or self-employed. The branches of economic activity that most employ the middle class are: trade, hotels and restaurants (26.8%); community, social and personal services (23.9%); manufacturing (16.14%) and real estate (14.63%).