September 26, 2023
General News

Colombia’s ‘Como Vamos’ Quality-of-Life Surveys: Medellin Best, Bogota Worst

The just-released report from the Colombian national “Como Vamos” (“How are we Doing?”) network of citizen surveys finds that Medellin is perceived as best among major cities for over-all quality of life, while Bogota is worst.

The face-to-face surveys of 14,649 men and women over 18 years of age in households ranging from poorest (“estrato 1”) to richest (“estrato 6”) were conducted in homes between October 15 and December 20, 2016. Margin of error was 2.5% to 3.5%, according to the survey organizers.

A complete summary of the survey (in Spanish) is available here.

In ranking order, the best-to-worst “quality of life” major cities were Medellin (number one), then Barranquilla (number two), followed by Manizales, Santa Marta, Pereira, Bucaramanga, Ibague, Cali, Cucuta, Cucuta, Cartagena and finally Bogota (last).

In three of the categories measured in the survey – optimism, civic pride and subjective well-being – Manizales came in first, closely followed by Barranquilla, Medellin and Santa Marta. Bogota came in last, far below all other major cities.

Medellin also took the top spot for household economic improvement perception over the past year, while Cucuta (on the recession-wracked Venezuelan border) was worst. Bogota was second-worst in the survey.

In addition to measuring citizen perceptions on optimism, civic pride, household economic improvement and general well-being, the surveys also measured perceptions of the relative quality of education, health, safety, public services, mobility, civic behavior and public-sector management.

Citizen perceptions of health-care service “continue to be low in relation to general satisfaction levels,” according to the report. “On average, 51% of people living in capital cities are satisfied with the health service they received in the last year, while in non-capital cities it was 57%,” according to the network report.

On the other hand, “public and private education in higher education and education for children and young people aged 5 to 17 obtained the highest level of satisfaction among the personal [categories] evaluated,” according to the report.

As for crime, “in small cities, the perception of security is higher than in capital cities, with 53% [satisfaction] for the first group and 44% for capitals. Manizales has the highest percentage [of relative safety] with 71%, followed by Santa Marta with 56% and Medellín with 51%,” the report found.

Bogota was by far the worst city in Colombia for crime — more than twice as bad as Medellin and more than three times as bad as Manizales, the surveys how. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed in Bogota said that they had been a victim of some sort of crime in the past year. Manizales was best, at 13% reporting some sort of crime victimization, while Medellin tied for second-best (along with Santa Marta and Barranquilla) at 15%.

As for environmental issues, “people’s satisfaction was measured in aspects such as air pollution, number of trees in the city, noise level, among others. The results show that 21% of people surveyed in capital cities are satisfied with these aspects. On the other hand, in the other cities where the surveys were conducted, 28% of the people said they were satisfied.”

As for corruption, Bogota had the worst reputation, with 48% of citizens perceiving an increase in corruption, while Medellin came in second-best (after Bucaramanga) at 17%.

As for mobility problems, Bogota was once-again the far-worst of all cities, with 62% of citizens complaining that their daily commutes had worsened over the past year. Many citizens in Cali (48%), Bucaramanga (46%), Medellin (44%) and Santa Marta (43%) also reported a worsening of commuting times.

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