Intrigued by the Estrato system

When I left Colombia in my late teens in 1970 there was no such thing as an "Estrato", but see that this  zoning/caste system was imposed by law in the 90s as a mechanism for residents of designated "higher class" neighborhoods to subsize utilites - electric, gas and water in the lower numbered estratos.     So the subsidies are based on where you live, not on your income level.    I find it both intriguing and offensive in a way to have such a formalized caste system.  I understand that the UN was campaigning for it to be dismantled in Colombia.

How would you characterize the housing in each of the 6 Estratos in Medellin?  How would you compare the levels to US housing?

Are there any other expenses which are regulated according to Estrato?  Health insurance, health care, Gasoline, food, services?

You are intrigued by a "Caste" system? Which is what it is.

Estrato 6 is normally like lower middle class in North America..
But having said that, some very rich people can be estrato 6- because officially they dont have estrato 7, 8. 9 etc.

But these "super Rich" (say more than $1million US Assets or $100,000 US Salary annually) make up less than 0.5 %  of the population.

Quechimba wrote:

Estrato 6 is normally like lower middle class in North America..

I don't think any fair and accurate observer who has spent any time in Colombia would agree with that characterization.

Here are the approximate percentages of the population overall for each estrato:
1: Bajo-bajo: 22,3%
2: Bajo: 41,2%
3: Medio-bajo: 27,1%
4: Medio: 6,4%
5: medio-Alto: 1,9%
6: Alto: 1,2%

For a bit more serious study of the estratos you could start with some of these, the first an FAQ from DANE: … cacion.pdf … el-estrato … -colombia/ … ion/201342

I agree to enter into estrato 6 is in the top 1,6% approx. of the population .And how much does a Colombian family have to make to be in the top 1%?

About 100 million pesos or $33,000 a year. So to enter etstrato 6 it is less than $30,000 a year. … resos.html

Which in Canada, putds you in the lower middle class.

I have lived in estrato  6 apartments in Medellin, Envigado and Manizales.

In Canada, people who own apartments or condos (unless they are truly"Luxury") are consider "lower middle class". Young people just starting out.

Normally, people who are true "Middle Class" own detached, 2000 2 SQ.  Foot minimum houses, with 2 car garages.

You're trying to compare apples and oranges, trying to equate things absolutely and not relatively. 

$33,000 may not sound like much, and may not be much where you and I are from - but in Colombia it's a lot.  It buys you a standard of living that only a few Colombians can afford.  It buys a maid service, someone to clean and/or cook, it allows you to eat out, to travel - it enables one to have a lifestyle in many ways not equalled in the US or Canada, certainly not for $33,000/year.

I also don't think it's accurate to say people who own apartments and condos are "lower middle class", either in the US or Canada.  Lower middle class mostly rents, not owns.

For instance $33,000/year for an individual in Canada puts you in the middle 20%, not lower middle which is $18718-23356 according to: … test-2015/

Depends on your definition of middle class.

Some things are cheaper in Colombia (services). And somethings more expensive..(cars, electronics, "Luxury" items and housing-not because of actual costs (which are much lower) , but because of quality and but because of interest rates, which are 5 to 10 times higher than in North America).

In North America-the dream is to own your own detached house, with 2 car garage. Not live in a condo or a "starter" house. And own an SUV, not a sub-compact KIa or sprint. And usually 2 cars, one for wife and one for yourself.

Lain American (especially statistics published by government agencies and banks)  idea and definition of middle class is a lot different than ours. More like 1960s middle class.

I am not saying it is my dream or ideal, just what the "masses" classify as middle class.

$18,000 a year is middle class in Canada?

What a bogus article. Minimum wage is $10 an hour in most provinces. Thats about $18,000 a year with OT. And in some provinces it goes to $15 CAD and hour, which works out to well over $18,000 US  a year without .

Most people in mid to large cities  who are in that category are considered "working poor" in Canada.

Anybody can make any definitions they want, I guess.

Anyway, the OP gets the idea.  Majority of people living in Estrato 6 would not be considered "Rich" in North America or Europe, and an estrato 6 neighborhood  would in no way be considered "upper class".

Although you would find extremely rich people sprinkled in amongst the population , skewing the average family income upwards. much higher than the "median"

Quechimba wrote:

$18,000 a year is middle class in Canada? 
What a bogus article.

Anybody can make any definitions they want, I guess.

Including you.  Perhaps you misread or did not understand the article, which is based on 2015 data.

Per the article, $18,000/year would place an individual in the bottom 20%.  That's below what the article says is lower middle class.  In order to get to lower middle 20% an individual would need to earn at least $18,718/year.

Your speculation and opinions are just that - speculation and opinions.  You may be right about various points, but you don't back any of them up.

$18,000 or even $30,000 a year in Canada - person would be renting ad living with room mates.

I back it up because I lived there at least 40 years.

Estrato 6 mainly consists of people who have professional-level jobs with stable career paths, plus a few truly wealthy people.  Nearly everyone in Estrato 6 is university-educated. Many travel internationally, especially to the US or Europe.

Urban housing for Estrato 6 in Colombia consists of larger apartments or condos designed for small families with professional wage-earners.

The cost of living, especially rents and nortgages, is lower in Colombia than in Europe or the cities of the US.  In no way does that make Estrato 6 "lower middle class." 

An idiosyncrasy in Colombia's system is that rural housing, even large cattle ranches, is usually placed in the lower estratos.  Farmers, even with a bunch of cattle, don't make much money in Colombia.

I doubt there are many Estrato 1 or 2 dwellings in central Medellin. 

Estrato 1 and 2 are often located in small towns and rural areas, or in barrios above town.  Although these are sometimes very old houses of tapia (mud brick), I have also seen Estrato 2 houses that are much better than places where poor people live in the US (tiny 1-room apartments and run-down trailers).

Estrato 1 and 2 houses/apartments are often owned-occupied. They have usually been constructed little-by-little as the owners have gotten money to add a room or whatever. 

One of the reasons that Estrato 4-5 apartmwnts are more likely to be in the rent market is that the owners of Estrato 1 and 2 dwellings typically house family members in their places, rather than renting them out formally.

Property taxes in rural areas for Estrato 1 and 2 dwellings are quite low.