The abyss between whites and blacks: Report shows it took 10 years for blacks to reach Human Development Index experienced by whites in the year 2000

cartaz dia da consciencia negra 2013 mulher
cartaz dia da consciencia negra 2013 mulher
“51% of the population of Brazil is black. And the other half has double the opportunities. This has to change.”

Note from BW of BrazilIt’s all in the numbers! It’s pretty easy for someone to say that “we Brazilians are all equal”, but what do the social statistics that measure the quality of life reveal? Here on this blog, we often feature reports, stories and personal reflections that provide a little insight into what it means to be black in Brazil, but sometimes all we need to do to know the truth is to look at the numbers. It may give you a warm sensation inside to say/hear that factors such as race and gender don’t matter, but when we consider areas such as income, education, life expectancy, illiteracy, and poverty, another reality presents itself. The fact is, even with improvements in the past decade and a half due to the promotion of affirmative action policies, inequalities between Brazil’s white and non-white population remain as consistent as groundbreaking studies of racial inequalities in the 1960s and 70s (see here and here). 

Black Brazilian models demand more representation in fashion shows, in protest in Rio de Janeiro (Yasuyochi Chiba/AFP/AFP)

The inequality between blacks and whites in a graph

In a decade, inequality between whites and blacks has dropped by half thanks to advances in education – but blacks still have a 14% lower HDI

By Talita Abrantes of Exame with additional info courtesy of R7

A black man in Brazil earns, on average, half the income of a white man. According to a study released on Wednesday (10) by the Brazilian office of the Programa das Nações Unidas para o Desenvolvimento (PNUD) (UNDP or United Nations Development Program) based on data from the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad/IBGE).

“The abyss between whites and blacks – 10 years – Is the time that the HDI of blacks took to equal that of whites, that, in turn, continued advancing in the year 2000”

In practice, according to the report, Brazilian blacks took 10 years to reach the Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano (IDHM) (or Human Development Index – HDI) experienced by whites in 2000. Even so, the HDI of this group of society continued to advance and in 2010 was 14.4% higher than blacks.

Education – Longevity – Income

In 2000, the HDI of the white population was 27.1% higher than the HDI of the black population, while in 2010, the HDI of whites was 14.42% higher than the HDI of blacks,” said the researchers.

When factors are observed by states, the highest percentage differences between the white population’s HDI and that of black population in 2010 were observed in Rio Grande do Sul (13.9%), Maranhão (13.9%) and Rio de Janeiro (13.4%) and, on the other hand, the lowest percentage differences were registered in the states of Amapá (8.2%), Rondônia (8.5%) and Sergipe (8.6%).

Life expectancy at birth – Mortality by the age of five – Expectation of years of education until the age of 18 – Rate of illiteracy of the population of 18 years of age or more (%)

“This means that in some Federative Units, such as Rio de Janeiro, the average per capita household income of the white population is more than twice as high as the per capita household income of the black population: R$1,445.90 against R$ 667.30,” researchers explained. “Or, in (the state of) Alagoas, the percentage of the white population above 18 years of age with a completed elementary school education is more than a third higher than that of the black population, 50% against 36%.”

On the other hand, the largest reduction in the difference between white and black HDI in 2000 and 2010 was observed in Santa Catarina, which presented a reduction of 0.047. Espírito Santo (.042) and Mato Grosso do Sul (.042) also showed a high reduction in the difference in the HDI of whites and blacks from one year to the other. On the other hand, Roraima increased by 0.033 in the difference between the white and black HDI, from 2000 to 2010.


% of people older than 18 that completed primary school – Rate of gross frequency of college education (18-24 years of age) (%) – Proportion of extremely poor – Percentage of population that live in homes with bathroom and running water

The data show that the life experience of a person with black skin color is more difficult than that of the white person in every way. Blacks also live less, study less, and live in homes with worse infrastructure.


Average per capita income

But within a decade, inequality between the two groups fell by half thanks in no small measure to the advancement of blacks in education. Here lies a clue as to how to correct years of social injustice.

Source: Exame, R7


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


  1. IN ALL TRUE REALITY, THERE EXIST NO SUCH THING AS white brazilians. They ONLY WISH that they were.



    On Sat, May 13, 2017 at 12:52 AM, Black Women of Brazil wrote:

    > gatasnegrasbrasileiras posted: ” Note from BW of Brazil: It’s all in the > numbers! It’s pretty easy for someone to say that “we Brazilians are all > equal”, but what do the social statistics that measure the quality of life > reveal? Here on this blog, we often feature reports, stories and p” >

  2. Can’t wait for the 2020 reports to see if things have improved or worsened for our people. I have mixed feelings. I hear a lot of great stories coming from Brazil, but also a lot of tragic ones.

  3. Not gonna happen until we have our own banks. I’d say it is better open up business with multiple partners at this point in Brazil (and even in America). The banks are White and Black Brazilians surely do not understand how important it would be to have an Afro-Brazilian bank. Family businesses are a key to Afro-Brazilian success, until we can make our own banks down there.

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