Racial inequality persists in Brazil

15:58, September 18, 2010      

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Despite improvements in the past decade, the racial gap in Brazil remains considerably wide, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) said Friday.

According to IBGE's Summary of Social Indicators (SIS) 2010, black or mixed-race (also referred to as "brown") Brazilians have significantly less schooling and generally earn less than their white counterparts.

Although black and mixed-race citizens made up 51.1 percent of the Brazilian population in 2009, they only accounted for 16 percent of the country's richer class, IBGE said.

Meanwhile, among the poorest Brazilians, black and mixed-race citizens accounted for 9.4 percent and 64.8 percent, respectively.

According to the SIS, Brazil's illiteracy rate among white citizens was 5.9 percent in 2009. But among black and mixed-race citizens, the figures more than doubled to reach 13.3 and 13.4 percent, respectively.

About 15 percent of Brazil's white population aged 15 or older have less than four years of schooling, compared with 25.7 percent among the mixed-race population, and 25.4 percent among the black population. White Brazilians have an average school education of 8.4 years, compared with 6.7 years for the black and mixed-race population.

In addition, the proportion of white Brazilians aged 18 to 24 who attended college reached 62.6 percent in 2009, up from 33.4 percent in 1999. Among their black and mixed-race peers, the figures were only 28.2 percent and 31.8 percent, respectively.

In 2009, only 4.7 percent of the black population and 5.3 percent of the mixed-race population held college diplomas, as opposed to 15 percent among white Brazilians.

The racial gap is also visible in the job market. According to IBGE, black and mixed-race citizens on average earn just 57.4 percent as much as their white counterparts.

Moreover, only 1.7 percent of black and 2.8 percent of mixed-race Brazilians were employers in 2009, compared with 6.1 percent among white citizens.

According to IBGE, the figures showed that the government should pay attention to the improvement of public policies, especially those concerning families with children under 14, which are mostly black or mixed-race.

The IBGE also pointed out that socially vulnerable families formed by single mothers with young children were mostly composed of black and mixed-race citizens.

The government should provide help to these families in order to reduce poverty and improve social cohesion, the IBGE said.

Source: Xinhua


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