Unequal Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and African Descendants

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Dec 2023
The indigenous peoples and African descendants in Latin America and the Caribbean are far behind the rest of the population in terms of access to education, health services, and financial services, something that is reflected in poor labor outcomes and high poverty rates. Indigenous peoples and African descendants achieve lower levels of education in their lifetime. In recent decades, the region has narrowed the years-of-education gap between the indigenous peoples and the non-indigenous population, but the differences are still large. The gaps in access to health services are clear in the maternal and infant mortality rates, which are higher for the indigenous peoples compared to the non-indigenous population, as well as in the deteriorated health indicators for children under the age of five. The labor situation is no better, with the indigenous peoples holding jobs in low-skilled occupations to a larger extent than the non-indigenous population. The poverty rates are alarming. In total, 43% of the regions indigenous persons and 25% of the African descendants are poor, and with very few exceptions, the poverty rates among African descendants and indigenous peoples are more than twice the rate of the white population.