The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years

The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years

The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years

The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years
The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years

Note from BW of Brazil: This report is most definitely a reason for celebration because it shows that more and more people are becoming conscious of what it means to be black, how the world sees them and awakening from the long-promoted deception that Brazilians are all one people and that every citizen is treated alike. The black population has come a long way since the 1980 census in which people used more than 130 terms to define their color or race. Brazil has always been anti-black, but through decades of education and consciousness raising campaigns, millions of people have come to define themselves as specifically black. I say specifically, again, because of the Brazilian context in which “black” can mean different things for different groups and individuals. I’ve explained this numerous times over the years, but it’s still necessary to explain. 

The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years
The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years

First, take a look at the two headlines above. The top one states that Brazil has 115 million negros. The second says that people declaring themselves pretos increased to 19.2 million. If you read this blog long enough, you know that both terms “negros” and “pretos” means “blacks”. So, why does one site say that there are 115 million black Brazilians while the other says there are a little over 19 million? The 115 million represents the sum of “pardos”, defining brown or mixed people, while the 19 million refers to people who specifically define themselves as black. 

According to the arguments of the Movimento Negro, a collective group of organizations that represent the interests of the black population, pretos and pardos experience racism and discrimination equally and nearly every socioeconomic study shows that their numbers of nearly identical and equally at a disadvantage in comparison to whites. For this reason, the movement has long argued that pretos and pardos should be combined into one black population. 

For many years, I also accepted that argument. But in recent years and after nearly 20 years of experience studying racial politics in Brazil, I can no longer accept the idea that all pardos should be classified as negros. And in reality, elements of the Movimento Negro have also affirmed the problems with this tactic. For one thing, we’ve seen the debates over who is and who isn’t black and should qualify to enter federal universities through the affirmative action program and who should not.

We also know that many light-skinned pardos look pretty close to white, which presents another problem when there could be darker-skinned black people who will experience racism more frequently/blatantly than their almost white counterparts. In this situation, many will argue that more obviously black people are more deserving of the vacancies. While I agree that there are probably many more people who I might define as black but choose to define themselves as pardo/brown, I don’t believe 96 million pardos should all be automatically considered black. In reality, we may never know how many black people there are in Brazil because the topic is so subjective. I may argue that someone like actress Camila Pitanga is black but someone else may define her as parda or even branca (white). 

So, while it is true that people identifying themselves as preto/preta is about 19 million, I acknowledge that there are probably many more in the pardo/parda category that most people would consider black. It’s just impossible to say exactly how many. 

The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years
The Population of blacks increases by 32% In the past six years

The population that declares itself black in Brazil increases by 32%

From 2012 to 2018, the number of people declaring themselves pretos, meaning blacks, increased by almost 5 million in the country. The população branca (white population) continues to shrink and pardos (browns) continue to be majority.

In 2018, Brazil had 19.2 million people who declared themselves black – 4.7 million more than in 2012, which corresponds to a 32.2% increase in the period. This is revealed by a survey released on Wednesday (22) by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

With the exception of 2014, when the number of blacks remained stable in relation to the previous year, the percentage of the declared black population has increased annually. It is therefore a trend.

“The specific reason for the increase of this declaration, in fact, we don’t have. (see note one) What we realize is that in recent years there has been reinforcement of affirmative policies of color or race,” said the IBGE analyst.

The researcher emphasized that the survey, based on the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNAD), is conducted based on the interviewee’s perception of color and race. “It is not the interviewer who determines the color, it is the informant who declares,” said the IBGE rep. (see note one)

On the other hand, the declared white population is declining year to year, which in 2018 totaled 89.7 million Brazilians, against 92.2 million in 2012. The whites were majority in the country until 2014. Since 2015, pardos have accounted for the majority of the population – jumping from 89.6 million in 2012 to 96.7 million in 2018.

“In addition to the possible change in the population’s perception of color and race resulting from affirmative policies, we have to consider the process of miscegenation in the country, which causes us to have a higher percentage of pardos,” said the researcher.

Percentage division (%) of the Brazilian population by color or race

Since 2015, pardos have been the majority in the country.

Brancos (Whites): 43.1 Pardos (Browns): 46.5 Pretos (Blacks): 9.3

Source: IBGE

Asked if such a trend – of increasing black and brown populations and decreasing white – will continue, the researcher said it is not possible to state.

“We don’t know if all this growth is based on affirmative color and race policies. If it is, it will depend on the continuity of these policies. A culture is created in people who have been affected by these policies and they pass on their position in relation to their own color to other people, even if they are not directly benefited,” said the researcher.

SourceOlhando a Notícia


  1. According to most people studying the sitaution of Brazil’s population, a large percentage of this growth in the preto population can be attributed to many people who originally classified themselves as pardos now identifying themselves as pretos. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that, when taking census figures, people conducting interviews are trained to record whatever color the person being interviewed says. What this means is that it is very possible that situations happen in which the interviewer judges a person as being preto but the person being interviewed identifying him or herself as pardo or branco. Regardless of the interviewers opionion, they must record the response the person gives.
About Marques Travae 3557 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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