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Colombia the world’s ­less-­developed regions, Latin America is somewhat unique. It is 80 percent urbanized, yet relatively poor. Most countries within the region have not yet become fully industri-­ alized. ­Low-­paying primary industries such as farming, mining, and logging often play a greater economic role than do urban manufacturing, sales, and services (a topic discussed in Chapter 6). The result is huge, sprawling cities that are unable to provide their residents with a decent income or standard of ­living. This is true of Colombia as well. Approximately 75 per-­ cent of the country’s people live in cities, with nearly 8 million (about 18 percent of Colombia’s total population) in the Bogotá metropolitan area alone. For at least the past ­half-­century, the country has experienced a substantial ­ rural-­to-­urban migra-­ tion that has drained the countryside of people. Today, only about 25 percent of all Colombians live in the country or inhabit small rural ­villages. As urban ideas and values spread into the country, rural people became increasingly attracted to cities and what they offer. This urban lure and resulting ­country-­to-­city migration follows a ­long-­standing worldwide trend. A century ago, most people lived in the country. They subsisted primarily, if not exclusively, on a ­ self-­sufficient folk economy. People hunted, fished, gathered, grew, or made nearly everything they needed to get by. What they were unable to provide themselves, they obtained through simple barter, or ­trade. With the dawn of industrialization and commercializa-­ tion, this changed. People began moving to the city in search of jobs. In the city, they became involved in a cash economy. An income was earned for work performed and money was paid for what they needed. In addition, to function success-­ fully in a city, one must be formally educated. Rural knowl-­ edge and skills have little value in urban environments. To succeed, one must be able to read, write, and use a variety of mathematical functions. The downside to this migration trend is that many rural environments are drained of their


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