A teenage boy in Rio de Janeiro’s Tavares Bastos favela.
by Judith Morrison
Why refining country census methods to
accurately count race and ethnicity ma;ers—
for policy, development and business.
espite growing recognition that racial and ethnic groups
across the Americas are disproportionately poor, government interventions that address their needs have been inadequate. Yet if the region’s current economic growth is
going to be sustained, it will require policy tools that address the exclusion of these groups from the larger society.
The lack of solid data has been the biggest obstacle
to developing programs that target these marginalized
groups. There has never been a more critical moment to
get such programs under way.
Eleven of the 20 most unequal countries in the world
are in Latin America, and four nations in the region have become more unequal—measured by the Gini coefficient—since
2000.1 Most tragically, the systemic lack of access to socioeconomic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants
not only cripples future development, but poses a current threat to stability. For example, six of the fourteen most violent countries in the world are
in Latin America, and three of them have the highest levels of global inequality. 2
Quality data, particularly via household surveys, can assist in developing
programs that can systematically address exclusion.
ADAM HINTON/PANOS PICTURES
125 Americas Quarterly SPRING 2012