Number of black college students grew 230% over the last 10 years; vast salary inequality persists

Students of Faculdade Zumbi dos Palmares at graduation ceremony
Students of Faculdade Zumbi dos Palmares at graduation ceremony

Note from BW of Brazil: The system of affirmative action policies has been one of the hottest topics in Brazilian society for over a decade now and succeeded in making citizens address the issue of race in ways that had been avoided for centuries. The results after a decade have been promising as the number of Afro-Brazilians having access to college exploded. But even so, wide social inequalities continue which show just how unequal Brazilian society was to begin with. The report below provides a snapshot of what’s been accomplished as well as the distance yet to go. 

Number of black college students grew 230% over the last 10 years

The number of blacks in Brazilian universities has grown 230% in the last decade. However, in the courses such as medicine, for example, 97% of trained physicians are white. The salary question varies with the color of the skin, even with identical configurations and functions

Courtesy of Rede Angola Network – Revista Samuel

More than half of the population self-declared itself negra, preta or parda in the census conducted by the IBGE in 2010. But only 26 out of 100 students from the country’s universities are black. Although still far smaller, the access of black people to higher education increased 232% between 2000 and 2010. The data is contained in the info graphic Retrato dos negros no Brasil (portrait of blacks in Brazil) done by Rede Angola.

The increase in access to a university education reflects affirmative policies implemented by the government in recent years, in response to the historical demands of the Movimento Negro (black movement) in the country, but the data still point to the still existing bottleneck: of every one hundred graduates, less than three, or 2.66% are preto, pardo or negro.

Another aspect pointed out by the Angolan site is that for every R$100 reais earned by a white man, a black man, with the same training and the same function, receives R$57.40. In the case of a black woman, earnings fell to R$38.50.


190.7 million Brazilians; 50.7% are black

The second largest black population in the world after Nigeria

Brasil: resident population by color or race (2000 and 2010)

Branca (white), Negra (preta + parda), Preta (black), Parda (brown), Others

Source: IBGE/Census demographics 2000 and 2010. Others: amarelos (yellow/Asian), Indigenous and undeclared

Percentage distribution of present population and resident, by color or race

Frequency of schooling

Blacks (black graph) – Whites (white graph) – Total (gray graph)


Elementary school (básico)– High School (médio)– College (superior)

Only 2.66% of those that complete Medical school are black

26% of university students are black


The University of Brasília was the first to establish quotas for blacks in 2004

Since 2012, it is obligatory in federal universities and institutions of education, science and technology

Relative salary, with same level of education and for the same function

100% white man – 68.7% white woman – 57.4% black man – 38.5% black woman

June 9, 2014, President Dilma Rousseff approved the institution of a 20% quota for blacks and browns in federal public competitions (they will be enforced for 10 years).

50% for students that study in public schools (and that have low income) and within that, a percentage for blacks (“blacks” and “browns”, as defined in the census) and for indigenous, proportional to that of the state where the institution is located.

4 states (in 26 + 1 Federal District) and 28 cities approved quota laws in public competitions

Only in December of 2010 did Brazil have its first black man promoted to ambassador of career: Benedito Fonseca Filho, a son of a former doorman of the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

The first black ambassador was the journalist and writer Raimundo Souza Dantas, nominated by President Janio Quadros in 1961 that curiously only learned to read and write at 18 years of age.

The first black minister was musician Gilberto Gil, the Minister of Culture from 2003 to 2008.

The first black president of the Federal Supreme Court (Brazil’s highest judicial instance) is Joaquim Barbosa, nominated in 2012.

Source: Pragmatismo Político, NE 10

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. I think these stats will continue to improve for Black people, as long as Black people do not let the issue die. In Black Brazilians are becoming more empowered and outspoken about the issue of race, and the society is responding at a microcosmic level. Now, they must maintain this momentum and continue to force the issue and insist on change. I would be interested in seeing these statistics 2 – 10 years from now.

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