Indigenous population grows 88% amid changes in 2022 Census methodology

Posted in: 08/09/2023

The indigenous population in Brazil is made up of almost 1.7 million people , according to the 2022 Census , carried out by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). 

The last Census carried out, in 2010, indicated that the indigenous population was composed of 896,917 thousand indigenous people , which shows a growth of 88% between the years 2010 and 2022 . The IBGE justifies the growth based on changes in the research methodology , because, until the 2010 Census, the question “Do you consider yourself indigenous?” it was only done in Indigenous Lands (TIs) and, in 2022, it started to be done outside the ILs as well. 

The use of new methodologies in the Census allows for more understanding about indigenous peoples, such as their territorial occupation and representation in places that were not previously occupied by indigenous peoples. 

People holding hands with indigenous items. Photo: Adobe Stock
More than 1 million indigenous people live outside Indigenous Lands. Photo: Adobe Stock

An example of this is that 1.1 million indigenous people are living outside the ILs and living in urban and rural areas. The Southeast region has the highest proportion of indigenous people outside the delimited areas, totaling 101.9 thousand. 

When analyzing the indigenous population living in ILs and delimited areas, 51.25% live in the Legal Amazon region , which encompasses the nine states of the North region, Mato Grosso and part of Maranhão. And, when analyzing by state, Amazonas , with 490,854 indigenous people, and Bahia , with 229,103 indigenous people, are the federative units with the largest population. 

On the other hand, Sergipe, with 4,700 indigenous people, the Federal District, with 5,800, and Piauí, with 7,200 indigenous people, are the states with the lowest number of indigenous residents . 

Indigenous population has support to combat illegal mining and protect the forest 

Regardless of where they live, the preservation of the Amazon and the ILs is crucial for the indigenous population. For this reason, during the event Diálogos Amazônicos , which took place in Belém, in early August, members of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon produced the Charter of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon . 

In the letter, which will be delivered to the leaders present at the Amazon Summit , requests are made for the preservation and guarantee of the future of the Amazon , for the fight against climate change, for the preservation of forests, waters and life, as well as the promotion of a sustainable economy . 

In addition, the letter asks for the removal of all those illegally occupying the ILs . The request comes after the 787% increase in mining in Indigenous Lands , between the years 2016 and 2022, according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). 

area of ​​illegal mining that affects the indigenous population. Photo: Ascom/PRF
Illegal mining in Indigenous Lands increases 787% between 2016 and 2022. Photo: Ascom/PRF

Illegal mining activities were recorded in seven different areas: Yanomami ILs , in Roraima, and in six reserves in Pará : Sai-Cinza, Munduruku, Baú, Kayapó, Apyterewa and Trincheira/Bacajá. 

The Yanomami Lands are the largest in Brazil, covering 9.5 million hectares and 27,152 inhabitants . In the first months of 2023, the indigenous people of the Yanomami ethnic group were the targets of a major humanitarian crisis , which caused malnutrition and deaths, due to the impact of violence and environmental degradation caused by illegal mining . 

And to contain invasions of this type, the Federal Government has prepared actions to remove invaders from Indigenous Lands in the North region . This and other activities by leaders and organizations have been the initial path to protect the indigenous population and their territories. 

SDG11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG15 – Life on land

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