Study Reveals Racial Inequality in Mexico, Disproving Its ‘Race-Blind’ Rhetoric


snip Mexicans have divergent ancestry, together with Spanish, African, indigenous and German. And whereas pores and skin colour in Mexico ranges from white to black, most individuals — fifty three % — determine as mestizo, or combined race.

In Mexico, inequality, although rampant, has lengthy been seen as an issue associated to ethnicity or socioeconomic standing, not race.

Our new report means that assumption is incorrect. Revealed in November, “Is Mexico a Submit-Racial Nation?” reveals that in Mexico darker pores and skin is strongly related to decreased wealth and fewer education. Certainly, race is the only most essential determinant of a Mexican citizen’s financial and academic attainment, our outcomes present.

Unequal in each means

The research, revealed final month by the Latin American Public Opinion Challenge at Vanderbilt College, or LAPOP, drew on knowledge from the college’s Americas Barometer, a ballot of 34 nations throughout North, Central and South America, as nicely the Caribbean.

To seize info on race, which is usually not mirrored in Latin American census knowledge, the pollsters themselves categorized respondents’ face pores and skin tone on a standardized eleven-level scale that ranges from darkest to lightest.

We have been fascinated to see that the Mexico knowledge clearly confirmed individuals with white pores and skin finishing extra years of education than these with browner pores and skin—10 years versus 6.5. That’s a shocking forty five % hole in instructional achievement between the darkest- and lightest-skinned Mexicans.

Darker-skinned Mexicans surveyed had additionally accomplished fewer years of education than the survey’s common nationwide discovering of 9 years.

Wealth, we discovered, equally correlates to pores and skin colour. The typical Mexican family revenue within the LAPOP research was about US$193 a month. Residents with lighter pores and skin reported bringing in additional than that—on common, $220 a month. Darker-skinned residents, then again, earned simply $137—forty one.5 % lower than their white compatriots.

General, populations recognized as having the lightest pores and skin fall into the very best wealth brackets in Mexico, whereas these with the darkest pores and skin are concentrated on the backside. These dynamics, different research have discovered, appear to persist throughout generations.

Comparable disparities emerged once we examined different measures of financial properly-being, reminiscent of materials possessions—like fridges and telephones—and primary facilities.

For instance, solely 2.5 % of white Mexicans surveyed by Vanderbilt’s pollsters don’t have operating water, whereas upwards of eleven % of darkish-skinned residents stated they lack this primary necessity. Likewise, simply 7.5 % of white Mexicans reported missing an in-residence toilet, versus 20 % of darkish-skinned Mexicans.


snip Simply final September, President Enrique Peña Nieto declared el mestizaje — racial mixing — as “the way forward for humanity.”

The info paints a a lot much less rosy image. Race, it seems, has a larger influence on a Mexican’s human improvement and capital accumulation than another demographic variable. Our outcomes present that Mexico’s “pores and skin-shade hole” is 2 occasions the achievement hole documented between northern and southern Mexicans, which is an inequality extra typically cited in Mexico.

Additionally it is 5 occasions larger than the city-rural divide reported within the ballot. We even discovered that pores and skin colour has a considerably larger impression on wealth and schooling than does ethnicity—that’s, indigenous versus white or combined-race Mexican.


Our outcomes add to a rising physique of educational analysis highlighting a actuality the federal government doesn’t need to admit: Racism exists in Mexico.

Racial and ethnic biases have to date been documented in Mexico’s allocation of public assets, politics and, notably, the labor market.

A current report from the Nationwide Institute of Statistics, for instance, finds that white individuals comprise 27 % of all white-collar staff and simply 5 % of the agricultural sector.


snip Our research accounted for gender, age, area of residence and ethnic origin—and nonetheless pores and skin shade emerged as a strong determinant of wealth and schooling ranges.


[Editor’s Note: The original Vanderbilt study—with additional charts and graphs—is available here.]

The Conversation

Subjects: Mexico and Latin America, Racial Variations

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