The Apple Does NOT Fall FAR from the Tree: Offspring of Interracial Marriages in Brazil

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:54 AM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Kaizô IWAKAMI BELTRÃO , Ebape, FGV, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sonoe SUGAHARA , Ence, IBGE, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Moema DE POLI TEIXEIRA , Ence, IBGE, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Starting from colonial times, Brazil has a long history of racial miscegenation. How do families structure themselves with respect to a concept of racial hierarchy? Several censuses and survey from the Brazilian Central Statistical Office (IBGE) incorporates some ethnic enumeration with information on race/skin color of the respondent, though mostly self-reported. Alternatives are: “White”, “Black”, “Asian”, “Mixed race” and “Native Brazilian”. Though it is possible that some subjectivity is inherent to the process, temporal consistency is observable, within a 5% error margin. Analyzing census data, one can perceive a time trend towards “whitening” of the population until 1991, with a slight reversal in 2000, resuming the “whitening” trend up to 2010 (the latest census). But how do offspring of interracial marriages self-report themselves? Among possible alternatives, is the race/skin color of the father or the mother the determinant factor? Is this choice affected by geographical region or social status? Is there a noticeable time trend in choices made?  The study analysis data from five Brazilian censuses, between 1960 and 2010, in order to identify patterns and trends among offspring of interracial marriages.

Among exogamic couples where one of the partners is “White”, this is the dominant race/skin color alternative for the offspring. When the mother is “White” the difference with respect to other alternatives is even wider, less so, when the father is “Asian”. The reported proportion of “White” children increases with socio-economic status. Among “Black”/”Mixed-race” couples, the preference is for reporting “Mixed-race” offspring, with a higher proportion of “Black” if the father is also “Black”.