By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In 2018, Brazil counted 19.2 million people who declared themselves black (“preto“). This is 4.7 million more than in 2012, representing a 32.2 percent increase during the period, according to a survey published this Wednesday by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
“We do not know the specific reason for the increase in declarations. All we can perceive is that in recent years there has been a reinforcement of affirmative policies on color and race,” said Adriana Beringuy, an IBGE analyst.
The researcher emphasized that the survey, based on the National Continuous Household Sample Survey (PNAD), bases its statistics on respondents’ own declarations of color and race. “It’s not the interviewer who determines the color; it’s the respondent who declares it,” she said.
In contrast, the population declaring itself white is declining year on year, totaling 89.7 million in 2018, compared to 92.2 million in 2012.
Whites were the majority in the country until 2014. The mixed-race (“pardo“) population has represented the majority since 2015 – from 89.6 million in 2012 to 96.7 million in 2018.
“In addition to the potential shift in the population’s perception of color and race resulting from affirmative policies, we must consider the process of crossbreeding in the country, which leads to a higher percentage of mixed-race people,” said the researcher.
The research also emphasizes the aging of the Brazilian population. In 2018, 10.5 percent of Brazilians were 65 years or older, whereas in 2012, this group accounted for 8.8 percent of the population. In absolute numbers, there are now 21.9 million elderly Brazilians, 4.5 million more than in 2012.