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Fri Nov 10, 2017, 07:19 PM

'If I'm stratum 3, that's who I am': inside Bogot's social stratification system

Every district in Colombia’s capital is rated 1 to 6 for affluence, and its services subsidised accordingly. But is a laudable idea creating division and stigma?

Ella Jessel in Bogota
Thursday 9 November 2017 02.30 EST

“It’s good quality for the price,” says Carlos Jiménez, a construction worker, as he sips his coffee and leans against the polished counter in Tostao’, a coffee shop in Bogotá’s bustling working-class district of Tunjuelito.

Despite being one of the world’s biggest coffee producers, Colombia has traditionally exported its best beans, and the few chains that do sell it are expensive; Colombians have instead developed a taste for tinto, a sweet brew made out of leftover beans.

The Tostao’ chain, however, sells actual coffee for a third of the price of the chains in poorer areas of the city, under the slogan “sin estrato” (“without social stratum”). Like all good marketing slogans, it’s a phrase that holds special resonance for its intended audience.

Something of an urbanist’s darling, Bogotá has been lauded for pioneering innovations such as the Rapid Bus Transport (RBT) network TransMilenio. But the high-altitude city of 8 million people is also the birthplace of a more controversial planning policy: explicit socio-economic stratification.


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Reply 'If I'm stratum 3, that's who I am': inside Bogot's social stratification system (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2017 OP
EX500rider Nov 2017 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Nov 10, 2017, 08:47 PM

1. All large Colombian cities use the Estratos ranking.

The plan started in the late 1980’s for Bogotá. In 1994 a law specifically noted how areas or neighborhoods throughout the country should be classified in the stratum.

The stratums run from 1 to 6.
Stratum 1: Lowest class
Stratum 2: Low-middle class
Stratum 3: Middle class
Stratum 4: Upper middle class
Stratum 5: Upper class
Stratum 6: Wealthy

The idea is those in the higher stratum help pay for the services (water, electricity, gas) of those in the lower stratums.

An example would be that an estrato 6 home may pay $175 USD on their water bill while estrato 3, using the same amount of water, will have a bill for $100. Those in 1 and 2 will pay even less.

The stratum scheme sounds good. Those who have help out the have-nots. But many have found the division creates other problems. One major complaint is it helps the wealthy maintain their status. The United Nations group UN-habitat states that over time the system has grown into a mechanism for segregation.


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