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Author(s) / Editor(s): 
  • Adolfo Meisel, Margarita Vega

A Tropical Success Story: A Century of Improvements in the Biological Standard of Living, Colombia 1910-2002

In this paper the evolution in the average height of Colombians from 1910 to 1984 is analyzed. The anthropometric evidence reveals a sustained increase in the standard of biological welfare during this period.  A database with more than 8.000.000 observations from the national citizenship card is used. Observations are available for both men and women and for all regions of the country.  There was a significant increase in the height of Colombians between 1910 and 1984. Average height of women increased 9 inches, while for men the increase was of 8 inches. The dispersion in the height of Colombians showed a large reduction during the period studied. This is important since it implies a convergence in the biological standard of living.   Finally, the inter-departmental differences in average height are analyzed and it was found that around 43% of the observed variations are explained by departmental per-capita GDP and the racial composition of the population.