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Afro-descendants in Latin America


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VIDEO May 23, 2023


One in four Latin Americans identify themselves as people of African descent. They are one of the largest, yet least visible minorities in the region, comprising over 133 million people, the majority living in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.

Out of the total, 34 million are of school age and face inequalities in school. They achieve poorer learning outcomes and are more likely to drop out of the education system compared to their non-Afro-descendant peers.

Education is one of the best tools to break the cycle of chronic poverty that affects a large part of these households. However, even when they have access to education, they often do not benefit from the same quality, knowledge, skills, and economic gains that should be generated afterwards.

A new report analyzes what happens in classrooms and in textbooks, and points out that discriminatory representations of Afro-descendants in textbooks and classroom dynamics could contribute to high dropout rates, limiting their options and future employment opportunities.


Cover for the report
Report (May 2023)

Afro-descendants inclusion in Education

Eliminating Afro-descendant exclusion in Latin America is vital for development, and education is the most powerful tool to bring about change.
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Cover for english report

Afro‑descendant Youth and the Labor Market

Despite social and economic advances over the past decades, racial inequality remains expressive and persistent in labor markets in Brazil.
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Afrodescendants report cover
Report (August 2018)

Afro-descendants in Latin America: Toward a Framework of Inclusion

The objective of this study is to deepen the region understanding of the drivers behing the persistent exclusion of the afro-descendants, as a first step to design appropiate solutions.
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Social Inclusion in Uruguay
Report (May 2020)

Social Inclusion in Uruguay

Uruguay is a regional leader in the path toward social inclusion. Sustained economic growth and redistributive policies have made it the most egalitarian country in Latin America. However, some groups are still excluded.
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"The school textbooks in the region rarely represent the contributions and aspirations of the Afro-descendant population. More often, they tend to reinforce perspectives that may not be inherently negative, but that reproduce a limited and stereotypical view of their contributions to society, impacting the aspirations and perception of opportunities for Afro-descendant boys and girls."
foto de perfil de Carina Zeballos
Germán Freire
Senior Social Development Specialist and author of the "Afro-descendants inclusion in Education" report

Key facts

The report "Afro-descendants in Latin America" highlights that Afro-descendants in Latin America are 2.5 times more likely to live in conditions of chronic poverty. Even with the same level of education and experience, they earn less than their non-Afro-descendant counterparts for the same type of work in all countries.

In the new study "Afro-descendant Inclusion in Education: An Anti-Racist Agenda for Latin America," it is emphasized that discrimination in the classroom is one of the first forms of exclusion that thousands of Afro-descendant children and youth face in Latin America. The analysis highlights that Afro-descendants achieve poorer learning outcomes, are more likely to drop out of the education system early, have limited access to digital technologies, and have much lower returns in the labor market for the years invested in education.


The following are some of the contents generated by the World Bank with the voices, views and experiences of Afro-descendant communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Education Without Racism

    In this video, Afro-descendant children and youth share in first person their reactions to exclusion and discrimination in the classroom, as well as their expectations for an #EducationWithoutRacism. (Campaign produced in 2023)


    There are currently 133 million Afro-descendants in Latin America, representing a quarter of the region's population. This is a historically invisible minority, but something is changing thanks to the work of their representatives. (Campaign produced in 2018)

  • Afroperuanos

    Did you know that up to 70% of Afro-Peruvians do not seek medical attention for fear of being discriminated against? This video shows the pride of being Afro-descendant and highlights the diversity that exists in Peru today (Campaign produced in 2017)


    Afro-descendants are the largest minority in Uruguay but 20% of them still live below the poverty line. In this video, people from the Afro-Uruguayan community share their experiences, concerns and aspirations in order to build a more inclusive Uruguay (Campaign produced in 2020).