The Collection of Data on Waste Pickers in Colombia, 2012-2022

Federico Parra, Joann Vanek

CITATION: Parra, Federico and Joann Vanek. 2023. The Collection of Data on Waste Pickers in Colombia, 2012-2022. WIEGO Statistical Brief No. 35.

This brief describes the unprecedented census of waste pickers that took place in 2012 in Bogota, as mandated by rulings of the Constitutional Court of Colombia. It also describes the registration system that was put in place to update yearly information on Bogota’s waste pickers. The national government of Colombia then mandated cities throughout the country establish similar data collection efforts. The experience in Bogota provides a detailed guide for other municipalities.

The data collection efforts described in the brief illustrate a data source increasingly recognized by official statistics: citizen-generated data. Broadly defined, citizen-generated data is the direct involvement of citizens in any of the multiple stages of producing the data that describe them. It is an especially important data source for groups that are not well measured in the standard data collection instruments of national statistics as is the case for waste pickers. The Colombia data were produced with the involvement of waste pickers and not only contribute to public awareness but also provide key information for the implementation of programmes to benefit waste pickers.

Informal Economy Topic
Occupational group
Publication Type