‘Mixed-race’ now largest population group in Brazil

The latest census in Brazil has revealed that individuals of mixed-race now constitute the largest population group in the country, with 92.1 million people identifying as such, making up 45.3% of the population. This marks an increase from 43.1% in 2010, the year of the previous census. The percentage of self-identified white Brazilians has decreased from 47.7% to 43.5% (88.2 million), while those identifying as Black have risen to 10.2% (20.6 million), up from 7.6% in the previous census conducted 12 years ago.

The 2022 census indicates that Brazil is no longer a majority-white country, with mixed-race Brazilians, a category encompassing descendants of Indigenous Brazilians and Africans, outnumbering the white population in official records for the first time. Combined, Black and mixed-race individuals now represent 55.5% of the country’s 203 million residents.

The data, collected by the national statistics institute (IBGE), also highlights a notable increase in the Indigenous population (1.7 million) and a decline in individuals identifying as of Asian descent, comprising just 0.4% of the population.

This census is praised for providing a more accurate representation of Brazil’s diverse population and reflecting increased awareness of the country’s African roots. The president of IBGE, Marcio Pochmann, emphasized the census’s role in dispelling the notion of white population predominance, acknowledging the evolving awareness in the country.

Activists from Brazil’s Black movement attribute this demographic shift to a growing sense of pride among African-descended Brazilians, who increasingly recognize and celebrate their ancestry. Ingrid Farias of the civil rights organization Coalizão Negra por Direitos notes that Black identity has gained respect and value within their communities.

João Jorge, president of the Fundação Palmares, a government institute for Afro-Brazilian culture, believes that the new data will assist authorities in developing more racially inclusive public policies in the country, which faces deep-seated inequality. Black and mixed-race Brazilians are approximately twice as likely to experience poverty compared to their white counterparts. Jorge emphasized the importance of recognizing the racial dimensions of poverty and unemployment in Brazil, advocating for a departure from economic and social apartheid in the nation.

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