Race and Ethnicity and Latin America’s United Nations Millennium Development Goals

  • Edward Telles
Keywords: Latin America, Millenium Development Goals, Afro-Latin, racism, blacks, indigenous peoples, mestizaje


Latin America’s problems of underdevelopment most adversely affect the region’s indigenous, black and mulatto citizens. This paper argues that Latin American governments should thus incorporate race and ethnicity in their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to reduce social exclusion in the region by 2015. However, most Latin American countries do not collect race and ethnic data or do so inappropriately and thus there is an urgent need for census and national survey systems to begin collecting such data. This paper describes the data that currently exist
and proposes how to improve data collection so that equitable development can be properly monitored. This article is based on a ‘concept paper’ that was prepared in 2004 for the Inter-Interagency Consultation on Race and presented at the World Bank in February 2006. It was later presented at the ‘International Seminar on the Construction and Use of Ethnic Variables in Public Statistics’ in Mexico City in October 2006.


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