Survey Shows: Brazilian Indians Are Less Illiterate and More Evangelical

    Illiteracy among Indians in Brazil fell sharply in the decade between 1991, when it was 50%, and 2000, when it had fallen to 26%.

    The numbers are from the government statistical bureau (IBGE), based on its 1991 and 2000 Demographic Censuses. The biggest reduction in Indian illiteracy occurred in the Northeast region where there is a large number of Indian reservations.

    The IBGE study also found that the percentage of Indians in school doubled in the decade, rising from 31.6% in 1991, to 67.8% in 2000.

    According to the IBGE 2000 Census, the schooling rate for the general population between the ages of 5 and 24 was 68.3%, while among Indians it was slightly lower at 56.2%.

    However, that number for the Indians was 29.6% in 1991. In 2000, in the general population, the average number of years in school was 5.3 years; for the Indians it was 3.9 years.

    With regard to infant mortality, the rate for the general population in Brazil in 2000 was 30.1 deaths per 1,000 births. Among Indians it was 51.4 deaths per 1,000 births.

    The Indian birth rate has followed the downward trend in the general population, falling almost 30% between 1991 and 2000, and now standing at slightly less than 4 children per mother.

    As for religion, self-declared Indians were, like the rest of Brazil, predominately Catholic. And, like the rest of Brazil, the percentage of non-Catholics was on the rise; members of Pentecostal groups rose from 7.7% to 11.9% of the Indian population between 1991 and 2000.

    Agência Brasil

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