Language or Identity?: The Measurement of Indigenous Population in the Mexican Census

Hirotoshi Yoshioka, University of Texas at Austin

In Mexico, since its 1921 census until the 1990 census, the only category to measure its indigenous population was indigenous language. Thus, a person who is 100% racially indigenous could not be categorized as indigenous unless she speaks the language. As a result, the Mexican census may have underestimated the number of indigenous population. In this sense, the 2000 census provides an important step for the study of indigenous population in Mexico since it identifies indigenous population not only by indigenous language, but also by ethnic group. In this study, I examine whether using language to measure indigenous population indeed underestimated Mexico's indigenous population by using several measures including residential segregation, education and income disparity, and the ratio of children of indigenous parents identified as indigenous. The results of this study indicates the need for reconsidering the results of studies done previously that involves indigenous population in Mexico

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design