Brazilian whites earn 75.7% more than blacks: 2021 survey

Likewise, unemployment hit whites less severely

Published on 15/11/2022 - 08:27 By Léo Rodrigues - Rio de Janeiro

A study made public Friday (Nov. 11) by Brazil’s official statistics agency IBGE highlights skin color as a differentiating factor in the average monthly income of Brazilian workers in 2021. According to the survey, whites earn an average of BRL 3,099—75.7 percent higher than the one registered among black people, BRL 1,764. It is also 70.8 percent higher than the average income of BRL 1,814 for brown workers.

A significant gap exists even among people with a university degree. In this group, the average hourly income of whites was found to be some 50 percent higher than that of blacks and around 40 percent higher than that of browns. In addition, despite making up 53.8 percent of the country’s workers, black and mixed-race workers occupied only 29.5 percent of managerial positions in 2021.

White Brazilians have also been less affected by joblessness. The unemployment rate in 2021 for them stands at 11.3 percent. Among the black population, the proportion was reported at 16.5 percent, compared to 16.2 percent for mixed-race people.

The data also reveal differences in informal labor: only whites are below the national rate of 40.1 percent. According to IBGE, “informality in the labor market is often comes with precarious work and a lack of social protection, with workers facing difficulties in enjoying basic rights, such as retirement and the guarantee of remuneration equal to or greater than the minimum wage.”

The proportion of poor people in the country also varies widely by color. Among whites, 18.6 percent are below the poverty line—i.e. they live on less than $5.50 per day according to one of the World Bank’s criteria. The percentage virtually doubles among blacks (34.5%) and browns (38.4%).

Entitled Desigualdades Sociais por Cor ou Raça no Brasil (“Social Inequalities by Color or Race in Brazil”), the study is in its second edition and crosses data from 12 other IBGE surveys. “Racial inequalities,” the agency states, “are important vectors for gauging social inequalities in Brazil as they cast light on the greater socioeconomic vulnerability facing black, brown, and indigenous populations across time and space.”

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Graça Adjuto

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