New Measurements of Black and Indigenous Identities and Inequality in Mexico

Christina Sue , University of Colorado Boulder
Fernando Riosmena, University of Colorado Boulder
Edward Telles, University of California, Santa Barbara
Regina Martinez Casas, CIESAS

For the first time ever, Mexico's Census Bureau, in response to international pressure and a small but growing black movement, collected data on Afrodescendants on its 2015 Inter-Census Survey, using a question that emphasized cultural differences. A year later, another nationally-representative INEGI survey collected data on ethno-racial identification but used a question that referred explicitly to race. We find that INEGI’s distinct ethno-racial questions yield widely different population estimates and socioeconomic outcomes for Mexico’s black population. The cultural question returned the smallest population size and the least black disadvantage, while the race question resulted in a much larger black population, and significant disadvantage. Persons that identified as indigenous were the most disadvantaged across surveys. Finally, we engaged in a rare analysis of individuals identifying as black and indigenous. Overall, our findings contribute to conversations about ethno-racial measurements and their consequences, as well as the phenomenon of overlapping ethno-racial identities.

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 Presented in Session 186. Measurement of Race and Gender