Estimating the stability of census-based racial/ethnic classifications: the case of Brazil

Jose Alberto M. de Carvalho, Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional (CEDEPLAR)
Charles H. Wood, University of Florida

This study estimates the degree to which people change their racial/ethnic identity from one census enumeration to another. We analyze the classification of skin colour in Brazil (white, black, brown, yellow) in the last four decades. For the period 1950/80, the findings show a deficit of 38 per cent in the black category, and a gain of 34 per cent in the brown category, suggesting that a large proportion of individuals who declared themselves black in 1950 reclassified themselves as brown in 1980. Estimates for 1980/1990, adjusted for the effects of international migration, reveal a similar pattern, although the magnitude of colour reclassification may have declined somewhat during the 1980s.

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Presented in Session 127: Ethnic minorities