More Blacks and Less Whites in Brazil

The distribution of the Brazilian population by color or race presented a slight alteration between 1993 and 2003, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics’ ( IBGE) Synthesis of Social Indicators, 2004.

Over the period the number of people who declared themselves as white decreased from 54.3% to 52.1%, the number of those who identified themselves as black increased from 5.1% to 5.9%, and the number who considered themselves mulatto rose from 40% to 41.4%.


The change occurred in various regions of the country. In the Northeast, the proportion of blacks rose from 5.2% to 6.4%; in the South, from 3% to 3.7%; and in the Center-West, from 2.8% to 4.5%.


In the case of mulattoes, the proportion increased from 27.7% in 1993 to 30.3% in 2003; in the South, from 12.1% to 13.4%; and in the Center-West, from 48.9% to 51.8%.


Blacks and mulattoes did better than whites in terms of lowering their illiteracy rates, even though their rates continue to be higher. Between 1993 and 2003, these rates declined to a slightly greater degree among blacks and mulattoes (around 32%) than among whites (29%).


This phenomenon, however, was insufficient to reduce the difference that exists among the three groups in levels of illiteracy.


According to the study, illiteracy levels among blacks (16.9%) and mulattoes (16.8%) are still double that of whites (7.1%).


Levels of functional illiteracy – people whose ability to read and write is minimal – follow the same tendency, with a decrease of over 10% among the population as a whole between 1993 and 2003.


The biggest decrease occurred among blacks in the Northeast (around 35%), while for mulattoes and whites it was 26%. The study also points out that there is still a substantial difference in levels of functional illiteracy between whites (18.4%), blacks (32.1%), and mulattoes (32.5%).


With respect to formal education, even though blacks and mulattoes have advanced more in terms of years of schooling than whites (1.9 and 1.6 years, respectively, versus 1.4), the differences among racial groups continue to be significant: 2 more years of schooling when whites are compared with blacks; 1.7 more years, when they are compared with mulattoes.


According to the study, salaries also vary in accordance with workers’ skin color. Whereas the average wage of white workers with formal jobs (signed working papers) was R$ 890.00 in 2003, and white workers with informal jobs received an average of R$ 520.90, the corresponding figures for black and mulatto workers were R$ 536.60 and R$ 297.60.


The study also underlines the fact that, although the black and mulatto population in 2003 had attained practically the same level of schooling as whites in 1993, their average earnings amounted to 50-60% of what whites earned, on the average, ten years before.


The indicators also found, among the white population, a small increase between 1993 and 2003 in the percentage of employees (from 47.6% to 49.5%) and employers (from 4.8% to 5.8%).


Blacks and mulattoes occupied job market positions as employees in a proportion (45.8%) similar to that of whites, but they were at a disadvantage when it came to positions as employers.


In 2003 only 2.2% of the blacks and mulattoes managed to achieve this status.


The IBGE study also identified a significant disparity between the percentage of domestic workers among whites (6.1%) and among blacks and mulattoes (9.6%).



Translation: David Silberstein
Agência Brasil

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  • Show Comments (4)

  • Guest

    you ignoratn hillbillies
    At least half the population of brazil is as white as your white asses, maybe even whiter. According to the encyclopedias brittanica, wikipedia and encarta, and recent research conducted by scientists from cambridge university’s department of latin american studies half of the people of brazil are 100% white. But you hillbilly ass can’t stand the fact that there are other nations in america that besides usa and canada have very large white populations; i guess it sort of hurts your ignorant ass’s ego. Fuck you arrogant bitch! Fuck you!

  • Guest

    from the dark continent.
    As records indicate, the majority of Brazilians have some African blood. If the one-drop rule is applied as it is in the United States, this would make Brazil the largest black nation outside Africa and indeed the largest black nation in the world.

  • Guest

    School of thought…
    The way I understand it, the majority of the white population in your country also happens to be part black; in American society this would make them black as well. So, in repect to this observation, your data and numbers could there for be considered flawed as well as inaccurcate by other measures .

    I personally beleave Brazil needs to give up on the practice of racial profiling. The country is far too mixed and interbred for it work affectively..

  • Guest

    What Happened to those \”Whitening\” Pro
    What happened to the “whiter each generation” projects that began in Brazil in the late 19th century? By the year 2000 all blacks were supposed to be eradicated from Brazil or at least so light nobody would notice. What happened to the experiments if there are still blacks in Brazil. I guess the Brazilian government couldn’t find enough white men out there to move to Brazil and help whiten the population.

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