White Latin Americans

For the white Latino population of the United States, see White Hispanic and Latino Americans.

White Latin Americans
Total population

178.6 million – 219.4 million[1][2]
31.8 – 39.0% of Latin American population

  • Figures excludes Belize, Guyana, Suriname, non-Romance-speaking areas of the Caribbean and North America
Regions with significant populations
 Brazil 91M[3]
 Argentina 38M[2]
 Mexico 35.3M (est.)[4]
 Colombia 18M[5]
 Venezuela 13M[6][7]
 Chile 10M (est.)[2]
 Cuba 7.16M[8]
 Peru 5.8M[9]
 Costa Rica 3.5M[2]
 Uruguay 3.3M[10]
 Guatemala 2.7M[11]
 Puerto Rico 2.6M[12]
 Bolivia 2.0M[13]
 Dominican Republic 1.6M[14]
 Paraguay 1.3M[2]
 Nicaragua 1M[15]
 Ecuador 0.95M[16]
 Panama 0.70M[17]
 Haiti 0.495M (whites and mulattos)[18]
Spanish, Portuguese, French, English and other languages[19]
Predominantly Christian (mainly Roman Catholic, with a minority of Protestants)[20]

White Latin Americans are the people of Latin America who are considered white, typically due to European, or in some cases Levantine, descent. Latin American countries have often encouraged miscegenation, and even a small amount of European ancestry could entail significant upwards social mobility.[21][22][23]

People descended from European settlers who arrived in the Americas during the colonial and post-independence periods can be found throughout Latin America. Most of the earliest settlers were Spanish and Portuguese; after independence, the most numerous immigrants have been Spanish and Italians, followed by Germans, Levantine Arabs, Poles, Irish, British, French, Russians, Belgians, Dutch, Scandinavians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Croats, Swiss, Greeks, and other Europeans.[24][25][26]

Composing from 33% to 36% of the population as of 2010, according to some sources,[1][2][27] White Latin Americans constitute the largest racial-ethnic group in the region. White is the self-identification of many Latin Americans in some national censuses. According to a survey conducted by Cohesión Social in Latin America, conducted on a sample of 10,000 people from seven different countries of the region, 34% of those interviewed identified themselves as white.[28]

Being white

Being white is a term that emerged from a tradition of racial classification that developed as Europeans colonized large parts of the world and employed classificatory systems to distinguish themselves from the local inhabitants. However, while most present-day racial classifications include a concept of being white that is ideologically connected to European heritage and specific phenotypic and biological features associated with European heritage, there are differences in how people are classified. These differences arise from the various historical processes and social contexts in which a given racial classification is used. As Latin America is characterized by differing histories and social contexts, there is also variance in the perception of whiteness throughout Latin America.[29]

According to Peter Wade specialist in race concepts of Latin America

...racial categories and racial ideologies are not simply those that elaborate social constructions on the basis of phenotypical variation or ideas about innate difference but those that do so using the particular aspects of phenotypical variation that were worked into vital signifiers of difference during European colonial encounters with others.[30]

In many parts of Latin America being white is more a matter of socio-economic status than specific phenotypic traits, and it is often said that in Latin America "money whitens"[31] Within Latin America there are variations in how racial boundaries have been defined. In Argentina, for example, the notion of mixture has been downplayed, resulting in the country having no real mestizo group. Alternately, in countries like Mexico and Brazil mixture has been emphasized as fundamental for nation-building, resulting in a large group of bi-racial mestizos, in Mexico, or tri-racial pardos, in Brazil,[32][33] who are considered neither fully white nor fully non-white.[34]

Unlike in the United States where ancestry may be used exclusively to define race, by the 1970s, Latin American scholars came to agree that race in Latin America could not be understood as the "genetic composition of individuals" but instead must be "based upon a combination of cultural, social, and somatic considerations". In Latin America, a person's ancestry may not be decisive in racial classification. For example, full-blooded siblings can often be classified as belonging to different races (Harris 1964).[35][36]

For these reasons the distinction between "white" and "mixed", and between "mixed" and "black" and "indigenous", is largely subjective and situational, meaning that any attempt to classify by discrete racial categories is fraught with problems.[37]


Latin America

After the Wars of Independence, the elites of most of the countries of the region concluded that their underdevelopment was caused by their populations being mostly Amerindian, Mestizo or Mulatto;[38] so a major process of "whitening" was required, or at least desirable.[39][40] Most Latin American countries then implemented blanqueamiento policies to promote European immigration, and some were quite successful, especially Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the number of European immigrants who arrived far surpassed the number of original colonists. Between 1821 and 1932, of a total 15 million immigrants who arrived in Latin America,[24] Argentina received 6.4 million, and Brazil 5.5 million.[41]

Historical demographic growth

The following table shows estimates (in thousands) of white, black/mulatto, Amerindian, and mestizo populations of Latin America, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The figures shown are, for the years between 1650 and 1980, from the Arias' The Cry of My People...,[42] for 2000, from Lizcano's Composición Étnica....[2] Percentages are by the editor.

Year White Black Amerindian Mestizo Total
1650 138 67 12,000 670 12,875
Percentages 1.1% 0.5% 93.2% 5.2% 100%
1825 4,350 4,100 8,000 6,200 22,650
Percentages 19.2% 18.1% 35.3% 27.3% 100%
1950 72,000 13,729 14,000 61,000 160,729
Percentages 44.8% 8.5% 8.7% 37.9% 100%
1980 150,000 27,000 30,000 140,000 347,000
Percentages 43.2% 7.7% 8.6% 40.3% 100%
2000 181,296 119,055 46,434 152,380 502,784
Percentages 36.1% 23.6% 9.2% 30.3% 100%


Since European colonization, Latin America's population has had a long history of intermixing, so that many Latin Americans who have Native American or sub-Saharan African or, rarely, East Asian ancestry have European ancestry as well. The casta race classification system of colonial Latin America designated people of mixed European-Native American ancestry variously, as criollo (7/8 European), castizo (3/4), or mestizo (1/2).

As in Spain, persons of even remote Jewish or Moorish ancestry were not allowed to enroll in the Spanish Army or the Catholic Church in the colonies. Applicants to both institutions, and their spouses, had to obtain a Limpieza de sangre (purity of blood) certificate that proved that they had no Jewish or Moorish ancestors, in the same way as those in the Peninsula did. However, being a medieval concept that targeted exclusively those religious groups, it was never an issue among the native population in the colonies of the Spanish Empire, which by law allowed people from all racial groups to join the army, with being of the Catholic faith the only prerequisite. One notable example was that of Francisco Menendez, a freed-black military officer of the Spanish Army during the 18th century at the Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose fort in St. Augustine, Florida.[43]

Although historically both Colonial and Imperial Brazil had institutionalized discrimination against citizens who were deemed people of color, it never had a casta system like that of Hispanic America. White Brazilians equivalent in status to the Hispanic criollo could have less than 80% European (overwhelmingly Portuguese) ancestry. Having some Amerindian and black African ancestry—which is widespread among white Brazilians, among all social classes in its five geographic regions since the 16th to 17th centuries—as well as having Moorish, Jewish, Arab, or Romani ancestry, affected social status less than in Hispanic America, This does not mean that the social status of "fully non-white" people (people of color who are not mulattoes, mestizos, zambos, pardos, etc.—in short, Mixed-race Brazilians—even with Caucasian features; "westernized" Brazilians with non-Caucasian phenotypes; or people with known non-European ancestry was equal to that of Brazilian elites.


Latin American countries each with their respective ethnic compositions, according to a non genetic estimation by Lizcano

The largest white population in Latin America is in Brazil, with 91 million whites out of 190.7 million total Brazilians,[44] or 47.7% of the total population, as of the 2010 census. Brazil's southern region contains the highest concentration, at 79% of the population.[3] Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, and Chile also contain large numbers of whites. In terms of percentage of the total population, Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica have the highest concentrations of whites, who constitute 80–90% of their total populations. The smallest concentration is in Honduras, with only 1%.

CountryPercentage of the local populationPopulation in
Uruguay Uruguay 82 [45] 2.7
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico 75.8[46] 2.6
Cuba Cuba 64.1[47] 7.16
Chile Chile 52 [48] 9.1
Brazil Brazil 47.7 [49][50] 91
Costa Rica Costa Rica 45 [51] 2.2
Argentina Argentina 44[52][53][54] 17
Venezuela Venezuela 43.6[6][7] 13.1
Mexico Mexico 40 [55] 44.9
Colombia Colombia 37[5][56] 18.2
Peru Peru 19.5 [57] 6.1
Guatemala Guatemala 18.5 [11] 2.7
Nicaragua Nicaragua 17[15][58] 1
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 16 [59][60] 2.0
Bolivia Bolivia 15[13] 1.6
El Salvador El Salvador 12.0 [61][62] 0.720
Panama Panama 10 [63] 0.330
Ecuador Ecuador 6.1[16] 0.950
Haiti Haiti 4.95 (est.)[18] 0.495 (est.)
Paraguay Paraguay 3.0[64] 0.210
Honduras Honduras 1.0 [65][66] 0.078

Self-reported races by percent in Latin America according to the 2016 Latinobarómetro survey.[67]

Country Mestizo White Indigenous Mulatto Black Other race Asian
Ecuador 81 4 7 3 3 0 1
Paraguay 81 3 3 1 1 2 0
Peru 76 6 7 1 1 1 1
El Salvador 68 10 5 4 4 0 2
Nicaragua 67 6 8 2 3 0 1
Honduras 62 1 13 16 2 1 1
Bolivia 57 4 27 1 1 1 0
Panama 53 16 7 5 10 1 1
Mexico 52 6 19 2 0 3 1
Colombia 47 26 5 5 6 2 0
Venezuela 33 32 4 21 8 0 0
Costa Rica 31 40 4 17 3 1 1
Dominican Republic 29 11 4 24 26 0 3
Argentina 26 61 1 1 1 3 0
Chile 59 30 8 1 0 2 0
Brazil[68] 27 41 1 13 17 1 0
Guatemala 32 17 45 1 1 1 0
Uruguay 7 74 1 4 3 3 0
Latin America 47 24 9 6 5 1 1

North America


Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro

It is estimated that white people in Mexico make up about 15% of the population,[69] with estimates ranging from 9%[70] to almost 16.5%.[4] The majority are of Spanish descent. However, many non-Iberian immigrants (mostly French) arrived during the Second Mexican Empire in the 1860s. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, immigrants from Italy, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Lebanon, and Palestine also made Mexico their home.[71][72] In the 20th century, white Americans, Canadians, Greeks, Romanians, Portuguese, Armenians, Poles, Russians, and Jews,[72] along with many Spanish refugees fleeing the Spanish Civil War, also settled in Mexico.[73]

The people in the central northern regions of Mexico—such as the states of Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, and Queretaro—have the greatest percentage of European admixture, at 78.5%, of all the states that have been genetically tested.[74]

In the 1921 census, the only ethnic categories, other than Amerindian, were the following:[75]

Unlike racial/ethnic censuses in other countries, this census focused on the perception of cultural heritage rather than race, leading a good number of whites to identify as being of "mixed heritage", due to cultural influences.[76] In this census, 10% of the population answered as being of entirely European heritage, while 59% of the population answered "mixed heritage".

Cultural influences, and the cultural perspective of the Mexican government, have tended see ethnicity as well marked, despite the fact that, based on the 1921 census, official sources estimated the white population of Mexico to be only 9–16%, while in genetic studies Mexico consistently shows a European admixture comparable to countries that report a white population of 52% – 77% European admixture (e.g. Chile, 51%,[77] and Costa Rica, 60%[78]). Studies of the general Mexican population have found percentages with European ancestry of 56%[79] 60%,[80] 64%,[81] and 78%.[74]

The Mexican mestizo population is the most diverse of all the mestizo groups of Latin America, with its mestizos being either largely European or Amerindian rather than having a uniform admixture.[79]

A 2012 study published by the Journal of Human Genetics found the ancestry of the Mexican mestizo population to be predominantly European (64.9%), followed by Native American (30.8%) and African (4.2%). Those with European ancestry were most prevalent in the north and west (66.7–95%), with Native American ancestry in the center and southeast (37–50%), and with African ancestry being evenly distributed throughout (0–8.8%).[81] The states that participated in this study were Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Durango, Guerrero, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Veracruz and Yucatan.[82]

Another study, conducted by Mexico's National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN), reported that mestizo Mexicans were 58.96% European, 35.05% "Asian" (Amerindian mostly), and 5.03% African. Those in Sonora had the highest percentage of European ancestry (70.63%) and in Guerrero the lowest (51.98%), those in Guerrero also having shown the highest Asian percentage (37.17%). The African percentages ranged from 2.8%, in Sonora, to 11.13%, in Veracruz. 80% of the Mexican population was classed as mestizo (defined as "being racially mixed in some degree"). The study was conducted with volunteers from 6 states (Sonora, Zacatecas, Veracruz, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, and Yucatan) and an indigenous group known as Zapotecs.[83]

The same study found that the haplogroup of Mexico's population was most similar to that of Europeans, with the percentage of haplotypes shared being 81%, followed by the Asian haplogroup, at 74%, and finally the African haplogroup, at 64%. Investigators noted that the African admixture in general did not come from the African slaves brought by the Europeans, but was already part of the genetic makeup of the colonizers themselves.[84] Another study, of people in Mexico city, found the Mexican mestizo population—where individuals tend to be either predominantly European or Amerindian rather than tending toward an average—to be the one which shows the largest variation out of all the mestizo groups of Latin America. The results of this study are similar to the ones made by INMEGEN, with European admixture averaging 56.8%, followed by Asian (Native American) at 39.8% and African at 3.4%.[79] Additional studies suggests a higher European admixture correlates with higher socioeconomic status, and a higher Amerindian ancestry with lower: a study exclusively of low-income Mexicans found the mean admixture to be 59%, 34.8%, and 6.2% for Amerindian, European, and African respectively,[85] while a study made on Mexicans whose income was higher than the mean found their European admixture to be 81%.[86]

In the last decade, due to Mexico's economic growth, immigration to the country has increased, including Europeans, who leave their countries (particularly France and Spain) in search of better work opportunities. People from the United States have arrived as well, and now make up more than three-quarters of Mexico’s roughly one million documented foreigners, up from around two-thirds in 2000. In that time, more people from the United States have been added to the population of Mexico than Mexicans to that of the United States, according to government data in both nations.[87]



Main article: Cubans

White people in Cuba make up 64.1% of the total population, according to the 2012 census,[88][89] with the majority being of diverse Spanish descent. However, after the mass exodus resulting from the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the number of white Cubans actually residing in Cuba diminished. Today, the various records that claim to show the percentage of whites in Cuba are conflicting and uncertain; some reports (usually coming from Cuba) still report a similar-to-pre-1959 number of 65%, and others (usually from outside observers) report 40–45%. Despite most white Cubans being of Spanish descent, many others are of French, Portuguese, German, Italian, or Russian descent.[90] During the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, large waves of Canarians, Catalans, Andalusians, Castilians, and Galicians immigrated to Cuba. Between 1901 and 1958, more than a million Spaniards arrived in Cuba from Spain; many of these and their descendants left after Castro's Communist regime took power. One further significant ethnic influx was from various Middle Eastern nations. Many Jews have also immigrated there, some of them Sephardic.[91]

An autosomal study from 2014 found the genetic makeup in Cuba to be 72% European, 20% African, and 8% Native American.[92]

Dominican Republic

The 1750 estimates show that there were 30,863 whites, out of a total population of 70,625, in the colony of Santo Domingo.[93] The census of 1920 was the first national enumeration. The second census, taken in 1935, covered race, religion, literacy, nationality, labor force, and urban–rural residence.[94]

Victor Bisonó is a Dominican politician.
European and white population 1750 - 1960 Census
Year Population Percent Total population Reference
1750 30,863 43.7% 70,625 [93][95]
1790 40,000 32.0% 125,000 [96][97]
1846 80,000 48.5% [98]
1920 223,144 24.9% 894,665 [99]
1935 192,732 13.0% 1,479,417 [100][101]
1950 600,994 28.14% 2,135,872 [99]
1960 489,580 16.1% 3,047,070 [102][103]
2006 Survey 1.6 Million 13.6% [104]

According to the CIA World Factbook, white persons in the Dominican Republic are 16% of the total population,[14] with the vast majority being of Spanish descent. Notable other ancestries includes French, Italian, Lebanese, German, and Portuguese.[105][106][107]

The government of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo made a point of increasing the white population, or "whitening" the racial composition of the country, by rejecting black immigrants from Haiti and local blacks as foreigners.[108] He also welcomed Jewish refugees in 1938 and Spanish farmers in the 1950s as part of this plan.[109][110] The country's German minority is the largest in the Caribbean.[111]


Main article: White Haitian

The white and the mulatto population of Haiti make up about 5% of its population, while 95% is "black".[18]

That 5% minority group comprises people of many different ethnic and national backgrounds, who are French, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Swiss, Armenian, Poles (Polish legion),[112][113] Jews (arriving from the Polish legion and during the Holocaust),[112][114] Germans (18th century and World War I),[115][116] and Italian.


White people in Martinique represent 5% of the population. As Martinique is an overseas French department, most whites are French.[117]

Puerto Rico

An early Census on the island was conducted by Governor Francisco Manuel de Lando in 1530. An exhaustive 1765 census was taken by Lieutenant General Alexander O'Reilly, which, according to some sources, showed 17,572 whites out of a total population of 44,883.[93][118] The censuses from 1765 to 1887 were taken by the Spanish government who conducted them at irregular intervals. The 1899 census was taken by the United States War Department. Since 1910, Puerto Rico has been included in every decennial census taken by the United States.

Alejandro García Padilla, governor of Puerto Rico
European or white population 1530 - 2010 Census
Year Population Percent Ref. Year Population Percent Ref.
1530333a, 426b8-10.0a[119]b[120]1887474,93359.5[121]

White Puerto Ricans of European, mostly Spanish, descent are said to comprise the majority, with 75.8% of the population identifying as white.[127] In 1899, one year after the U.S invaded and took control of the island, 61.8% identified as white. In 2000, for the first time in fifty years, the census asked people to define their race and found the percentage of whites had risen to 80.5% (3,064,862); not because there has been an influx of whites to the island (or an exodus of non-White people), but a change of race perceptions, mainly because Puerto Rican elites wished to portray Puerto Rico as the "white island of the Antilles", partly as a response to scientific racism.[128]

From the beginning of the 20th century, American observers remarked on the "surprising preponderance of the white race" on the island. One travel writer called Puerto Rico "the whitest of the Antilles". In a widely distributed piece, a geologist wrote that the island was "notable among the West Indian group for the reason that its preponderant population is of the white race". In a more academic book he reiterated that "Porto Rico, at least, has not become Africanized".[129]

During the 19th century, hundreds of Corsican, French, Middle Eastern, and Portuguese families, along with large numbers of immigrants from Spain (mainly from Catalonia, Asturias, Galicia, the Balearic Islands, Andalusia, and the Canary Islands) and numerous Spanish loyalists from Spain's former colonies in South America, arrived in Puerto Rico. Other settlers have included Irish, Scots, Germans, and Italians. Thousands of immigrants were granted land from Spain during the Real Cedula de Gracias de 1815 (Royal Decree of Graces of 1815), which allowed European Catholics to settle in the island with a certain amount of free land.

According to a genetic research by the University of Brasilia, Puerto Rican genetic admixture consists in a 60.3% European, 26.4% African, and 13.2% Amerindian ancestry.[130]

Saint Barthélemy

Most of the population are French-speaking descendants of the first settlers from Normandy and Brittany.[131]

Central America

Costa Rica

Main article: Costa Rican people
Family of German immigrants in Costa Rica

From the late 19th century to when the Panama Canal opened, European migrants used Costa Rica to get across the isthmus of Central America to reach the west coast of the United States (California).

In Costa Rica, estimates of the percentage of white people vary between 77%[132] and 82%,[2] or about 3.1 – 3.5 million people. The white and mestizo populations combined equal 83%, according to the CIA World Factbook.[133] Costa Rican European ancestry is mostly Spanish, although a significant number is descended from Italian, Greek, German, English, Dutch, French, Irish, Portuguese, Lebanese, or Polish families. Other ethnic groups include Russians, Danes, Belgians, Croats, Hungarians, Turks, Armenians and Georgians.[134]

Many of the first Spanish colonists in Costa Rica may have been Jewish converts to Christianity who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and fled to colonial backwaters to avoid the Inquisition.[135] The first sizable group of self-identified Jews immigrated from Poland, beginning in 1929. From the 1930s to the early 1950s, journalistic and official anti-Semitic campaigns fueled harassment of Jews; however, by the 1950s and 1960s, the immigrants won greater acceptance. Most of the 3,500 Costa Rican Jews today are not highly observant, but they remain largely endogamous.[136]

El Salvador

According to the official 2007 Census in El Salvador, 12.7% of Salvadorans identified with being white.[137]

According to genetic research by the University of Brasilia, Salvadoran genetic admixture shows an average of 45.2% Amerindian, 45.2% European, and 9.7% African ancestry.[130]


Main article: Guatemalans
Manuel Estrada Cabrera, with a notable Spanish ancestry, was a Guatemalan president in the early twentieth century.
Official census[11][138][138][139][140]
Year White Mayan Mestizo Others/immigrants
Racial composition (percentages) by
the official census of Guatemala.

A 2010-2012 national study estimated that white Guatemalans are 18.5% of the population (2.7 million),[11] with the majority descendants of Germans, followed those of Spaniards, French, Italians, English, Swedish, Belgian, Swiss, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Russian, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and other parts of Europe. There are also descendants of Americans, Canadians, and whites from Latin American nations such as Argentina and Costa Rica.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Guatemala had massive immigration from Germany, Belgium, and Italy, as well as, to a lesser extent, Spain, France, Great Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Scandinavian countries, Ireland, and other European countries. From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth, immigration from Russia, Poland, and Greece was encouraged by grants of land for coffee fincas and vineyards in the areas of Cobán, Carlos V, Zacapa, Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango, Chiquimula, El Progreso, and other places.[141]

By 1940, the percentage of Guatemalans of European origin had reached 29%, becoming the majority in the capital and in the east, with significant populations in Verapaces, Quetzaltenango, and several areas in the southwest. But by 1980, with a fall-off of European immigration, and a significant increase in indigenous and mestizo families, that figure had fallen to 13%. Later, after armed conflict that destroyed many non-white families, the percentage had risen, as well as that of castizos (mixture of the mestizo population and European descent) and mestizos with European predominance.[139]


Enrique Bolaños, 82nd President of Nicaragua, is of Spanish and German heritage.[142]

White Nicaraguans make up 17%, just over one million, of the Nicaraguan population.[15][58] They are mainly of Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Belgian, and French ancestry.

In the 19th century, Nicaragua experienced a wave of immigration, primarily from Europe. In particular, families from Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Belgium moved to Nicaragua to set up businesses with money they brought from Europe. They established many agricultural businesses, such as coffee and sugarcane plantations, as well as newspapers, hotels, and banks.

There is also a small Middle Eastern–Nicaraguan community of Syrian, Armenian, Palestinian, Jewish, and Lebanese people in Nicaragua, with a total population of about 30,000.


White Panamanians are 10% of the population,[143] with those of Spanish ancestry being in the majority. Other ancestries includes Dutch, English, French, German, Swiss, Danish, Irish, Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian. There is also a sizable and influential Jewish community.


Honduras contains perhaps the smallest percentage of whites in Latin America, with only about 1% of the total population, from 75,000 to 150,000, classified in this group.[144] Of these, the majority are people of Spanish descent. A white population—descendants of Palestinians—is found in the city of San Pedro Sula, and another—descended from Caymanian settlers with English, Irish, Scottish, French, German, Italian, and Greek ancestries—in the Bay Islands Department.

South America


The ancestry of Argentines is mostly European, with both Native American and African contributions. A 2009 autosomal DNA study found the Argentine population to average 78.5 percent European, 17.3 percent Native American, and 4.2 percent sub-Saharan African.[145] A 2012 autosomal DNA study found the genetic composition of Argentines to be 65% European, 31% Native American, and 4% African.[146]

Argentina's National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) does not conduct ethnic/racial censuses; so, no official data exist on the percentage of white Argentines today. Nevertheless, various sources estimate the white population of European descent to be between 85% and 86.4%.[2][147][148][149] These figures increase to between 86.1% and 89.7% if non-European Caucasian groups (such as Jews, Lebanese, Armenians, and other Middle Easterners) are also counted. These percentages show an estimated population of 34-36 million white people in Argentina.

White Argentines are dispersed throughout the country, but their greatest concentration is in the east-central region of Pampas, the southern region of Patagonia, and in the west-central region of Cuyo. Their concentration is smaller in the north-eastern region of Litoral, and is much smaller in the north-western provinces of Salta, Jujuy, Tucumán, Catamarca, La Rioja, and Santiago del Estero, which was the most densely populated region of the country (mainly by Amerindian and Mestizo people) before the wave of immigration of 1857-1940 and was the area where European newcomers settled the least.[150][151] During the last few decades, due to internal migration from the northern provinces—as well as to immigration from Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay—the percentage of white Argentines in certain areas of Greater Buenos Aires and the provinces of Salta and Jujuy has decreased significantly.[152]

The white population residing in Argentina is mostly descended from immigrants who arrived from Europe and the Middle East between the late 19th- and early 20th centuries, with a smaller proportion from Spaniards of the colonial period. From 1506 to 1650—according to M. Möner, Peter Muschamp, and Boyd-Bowman—out of a total of 437,669 Spaniards who settled in the American Spanish colonies, between 10,500 and 13,125 Peninsulares settled in the Río de la Plata region.[153] The colonial censuses conducted after the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata showed that the proportion of Spaniards and Criollos was significant in the cities and surrounding countryside, but not so much in the rural areas. The 1778 census of Buenos Aires, ordered by Viceroy Juan José de Vértiz, revealed that, of a total population of 37,130 inhabitants (in both the city and surrounding countryside), the Spaniards and Criollos numbered 25,451, or 68.55% of the total. Another census, carried out in the Corregimiento de Cuyo in 1777, showed that the Spaniards and Criollos numbered 4,491 (or 51.24%) out of a population of 8,765 inhabitants. In Córdoba (city and countryside) the Spanish/Criollo people comprised a 39.36% (about 14,170) of 36,000 inhabitants.[154]

Data provided by Argentina's Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (National Bureau of Migrations) states that the country received a total 6,611,000 European and Middle Eastern immigrants during the period from 1857 to 1940.[155] The main immigrant group was 2,970,000 Italians (44.9% of the total), who came initially from Piedmont, Veneto, and Lombardy, and later from Campania, Calabria, and Sicily.[156] The second group in importance was Spaniards, some 2,080,000 (31.4% of the total), who were mostly Galicians and Basques, but also Asturians, Cantabrians, Catalonians, and Andalucians. In smaller but significant numbers came Frenchmen from Occitania (239,000, 3.6% of the total) and Poles (180,000 – 2.7%). From the Russian Empire came some 177,000 people (2.6%), who were not only ethnic Russians, but also Ukrainians, Belarusians, Volga Germans, Lithuanians, etc. From the Ottoman Empire the contribution was mainly Armenians, Lebanese, and Syrians, some 174,000 in all (2.6%). Then come the immigrants from the German Empire, some 152,000 (2.2%). From the Austro-Hungarian Empire came 111,000 people (1.6%), among them Austríans, Hungarians, Croatians, Bosniaks, Serbs, Ruthenians, and Montenegrins. Among the 75,000 British immigrants there were many people from England and Wales, but most were Irish who were escaping the potato famine or British rule. Other minor groups were the Portuguese (65,000), Slavic peoples from Yugoslavia (48,000), the Swiss (44,000), Belgians (26,000), Danes (18,000), white Americans (12,000), the Dutch (10,000), and the Swedish (7,000). Even colonists from Australia, and Boers from South Africa, can be found in the Argentine immigration records.

Young people in Crespo, Entre Ríos. In this city, most Argentinians are descended from Volga Germans.[157] The city's motto is "Crespo: melting pot, culture of faith and hard work", referring to the Volga Germans, Italians, Spaniards, and other ethnicities that comprise its population.[158]

In the 1910s, when immigration reached its peak, more than 30% of Argentina’s population had been born in Europe, and over half of the population of the city of Buenos Aires had been born abroad. According to the 1914 national census, 80% out of a total population of 7,903,662 were people who were either European, or the children and grandchildren of same. Among the remaining 20% (the descendants of the population previous to the immigratory wave), about one third were white. That makes for 86.6%, or about 6.8 million whites residing in Argentina.[159] European immigration continued to account for over half the population growth during the 1920s,[160] and for smaller percentages after World War II, many Europeans migrating to Argentina after the great conflict to escape hunger and destitution. According to Argentine records, 392,603 people from the Old World entered the country in the 1940s. In the following decade, the flow diminished because the Marshall Plan improved Europe's economy, and emigration was not such a necessity; but even then, between 1951 and 1970 another 256,252 Europeans entered Argentina.[161] From the 1960s—when whites were 76.1% of the total—onward, increasing immigration from countries on Argentina's northern border (Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay)[162] significantly increased the process of Mestizaje in certain areas of Argentina, especially Greater Buenos Aires, because those countries have Amerindian and Mestizo majorities.[163][164][165]

In 1992, after the fall of the Communist regimes of the Soviet Union and its allies, the governments of Western Europe were worried about a possible mass exodus from Central Europe and Russia. President Carlos Menem offered to receive part of that emigratory wave in Argentina. On December 19, 1994, Resolution 4632/94 was enacted, allowing "special treatment" for applicants who wished to emigrate from the republics of the ex-Soviet Union. From January 1994 until December 2000, a total 9,399 Central and Eastern Europeans traveled and settled in Argentina. Of the total, 6,720 were Ukrainians (71.5%), 1,598 Russians (17%), 526 Romanians, Bulgarians, Armenians, Georgians, Moldovans, and Poles, and 555 (5.9%) traveled with a Soviet passport.[166] 85% of the newcomers were under age 45 and 51% had tertiary-level education, so most of them integrated quite rapidly into Argentine society, although some had to work for lower wages than expected at the beginning.[167]


White people in Bolivia make up 15% of the nation's population, or 2.0 million.[13] The white population consists mostly of criollos, which consist of families of unmixed Spanish ancestry descended from the Spanish colonists and Spanish refugees fleeing the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War. These two groups have constituted much of the aristocracy since independence. Other groups within the white population are Germans, who founded the national airline Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano, as well as Italians, Americans, Basques, Lebanese, Croats, Russians, Polish, English, Irish, and other minorities, many of whose members descend from families that have lived in Bolivia for several generations.


Helô Pinheiro, "The Girl from Ipanema",[168] and her daughter Ticiane
Gisele Bündchen of Brazil, the highest-paid model in the world[170][171]
Brazilians of Ukrainian descent celebrate the Orthodox Easter in Curitiba
Italian immigrants just arrived in Brazil in 1890. Brazil has the largest Italian population outside Italy.[172]

Brazil is one of the few countries in Latin America that includes racial categories in its censuses: Branco (White), Negro (Black), Pardo (Multiracial), Amarelo (Yellow) and Indígena (Amerindian), with categorization being by self-identification. Taking into account the data provided by the last National Household Survey, conducted in 2010, Brazil would possess the most numerous white population in Latin America, given that a 47.7% – 91 million people – of Brazilians self-declared as "Brancos".[3] Comparing this survey with previous censuses, a slow but constant decrease in the percentage of self-identified white Brazilians can be seen: in the 2000 Census it was 53.7%,[173][174] in the 2006 Household Survey it was 49.9%,[175] and in the last, 2008, survey it decreased to the current 48.4%.[176] Some analysts believe that this decrease is evidence that more Brazilians have come to appreciate their mixed ancestry, re-classifying themselves as "Pardos".[177] Furthermore, some demographers estimate that a 9% of the self-declared white Brazilians have a certain degree of African and Amerindian ancestry, which, if the "one-drop rule" were applied, would classify them as "Pardos".[178]

The white Brazilian population is spread throughout the country, but it is concentrated in the four southernmost states, where 79.8% of the population self-identify as white.[175] The states with the highest percentage of white people are Santa Catarina (86.9%), Rio Grande do Sul (82.3%), Paraná (77.2%) and São Paulo (70.4%). Another five states that have significant proportions of whites are Rio de Janeiro (55.8%), Mato Grosso do Sul (51.7%), Espírito Santo (50.4%), Minas Gerais (47.2%) and Goiás (43.6%). São Paulo has the largest population in absolute numbers with 30 million whites.[179]

In the 18th century, an estimated 600,000 Portuguese arrived, including wealthy immigrants, as well as poor peasants, attracted by the Brazil Gold Rush in Minas Gerais.[180] By the time of Brazilian independence, declared by emperor Pedro I in 1822, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 Europeans had come to Brazil, most of them male settlers from Portugal.[181][182] Rich immigrants who established the first sugarcane plantations in Pernambuco and Bahia, and New Christians and Gypsies fleeing from religious persecution, were among the early settlers.

After independence, Brazil saw several campaigns to attract European immigrants, which were prompted by a policy of Branqueamento (Whitening).[39] During the 19th century, the slave labor force was gradually replaced by European immigrants, especially Italians.[183] This mostly took place after 1850, as a result of the end of the slave trade in the Atlantic Ocean and the growth of coffee plantations in the São Paulo region.[184][185] European immigration was at its peak between the mid-19th and the mid-20th centuries, when nearly five million Europeans immigrated to Brazil, most of them Italians (58.5%), Portuguese (20%), Germans, Spaniards, Poles, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians. Between 1877 and 1903, 1,927,992 immigrants entered Brazil, an average of 71,000 people per year, with the peak year being 1891, when 215,239 Europeans arrived.[186]

After the First World War, the Portuguese once more became the main immigrant group, and Italians fell to third place. Spanish immigrants rose to second place because of the poverty that was affecting millions of rural workers.[187] Germans were fourth place on the list; they arrived especially during the Weimar Republic, due to poverty and unemployment caused by the First World War.[188] The numbers of Europeans of other ethnicities increased; among them were people from Poland, Russia, and Romania, who emigrated in the 1920s, probably because of politic persecution. Other peoples emigrated from the Middle East, especially from what now are Syria and Lebanon.[186] During the period 1821–1932, Brazil received an estimated 4,431,000 European immigrants.[41]

After the end of the Second World War, European immigration diminished significantly, although between 1931 and 1963 1.1 million immigrants entered Brazil, mostly Portuguese.[183] By the mid-1970s, many Portuguese had immigrated to Brazil after the independence of Portugal's African colonies—from Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. Some came from Macao, because of the dictatorship there.[189][190]

Genetic studies

A 2015 autosomal genetic study, which also analysed data of 25 studies of 38 different Brazilian populations, concluded that 62% of the population is of predominantly European ancestry, followed by African (21%) and Native American (17%). European predominance is highest in Southern Brazil (77%), African highest in Northeast Brazil (27%), and Native American highest in Northern Brazil (32%).[191]

Region[191] European African Native American
North Region 51% 16% 32%
Northeast Region 58% 27% 15%
Central-West Region 64% 24% 12%
Southeast Region 67% 23% 10%
South Region 77% 12% 11%

An autosomal study from 2013, of nearly 1,300 samples from all regions of Brazil, found predominantly European ancestry, combined with African and Native American contributions in varying degrees:

Following an increasing North to South gradient, European ancestry was the most prevalent in all urban populations (with values up to 74%). The populations in the North consisted of a significant proportion of Native American ancestry that was about two times higher than the African contribution. Conversely, in the Northeast, Center-West and Southeast, African ancestry was the second most prevalent. At an intrapopulation level, all urban populations were highly admixed, and most of the variation in ancestry proportions was observed between individuals within each population rather than among population.[192]

Region European African Native American
North Region 51% 17% 32%
Northeast Region 56% 28% 16%
Central-West Region 58% 26% 16%
Southeast Region 61% 27% 12%
South Region 74% 15% 11%

According to an autosomal DNA study conducted in 2011—of nearly 1000 white, pardo, and black samples proportional to population—European ancestry is predominant in all regions of Brazil, with African and Native American contributions. According to this study, European ancestry accounts for 70% of the population.[193] This study verified that Brazilians from different regions are genetically more homogenous than some expected.[194] The 2011 autosomal study samples came from blood donors (the lowest classes constituting the great majority of blood donors in Brazil),[195] as well as public health personnel and students.

Region [193] European African Native American
Northern Brazil 68.80% 10.50% 18.50%
Northeast of Brazil 60.10% 29.30% 8.90%
Southeast Brazil 74.20% 17.30% 7.30%
Southern Brazil 79.50% 10.30% 9.40%

According to a DNA study from 2010,

a new portrayal of each ethnicity contribution to the DNA of Brazilians, obtained with samples from the five regions of the country, has indicated that, on average, European ancestors are responsible for nearly 80% of the genetic heritage of the population. The variation between the regions is small, with the possible exception of the South, where the European contribution reaches nearly 90%.

The results, published by the scientific magazine American Journal of Human Biology by a team of the Catholic University of Brasília, show that, in Brazil, physical indicators such as skin, eye, and hair colour have little to do with the genetic makeup (regardless of census classification) of each person, as has been shown in previous studies.[196]

Ancestry informative SNPs can be useful to estimate individual and population biogeographical ancestry. Brazilian population is characterized by a genetic background of three parental populations (European, African, and Brazilian Native Amerindians) with a wide degree and diverse patterns of admixture. In this work we analyzed the information content of 28 ancestry-informative SNPs into multiplexed panels using three parental population sources (African, Amerindian, and European) to infer the genetic admixture in an urban sample of the five Brazilian geopolitical regions. The SNPs assigned apart the parental populations from each other and thus can be applied for ancestry estimation in a three hybrid admixed population. Data was used to infer genetic ancestry in Brazilians with an admixture model. Pairwise estimates of F(st) among the five Brazilian geopolitical regions suggested little genetic differentiation only between the South and the remaining regions. Estimates of ancestry results are consistent with the heterogeneous genetic profile of Brazilian population, with a major contribution of European ancestry (0.771) followed by African (0.143) and Amerindian contributions (0.085). The described multiplexed SNP panels can be useful tool for bio-anthropological studies but it can be mainly valuable to control for spurious results in genetic association studies in admixed populations.[197]

It is important to note that "the samples came from free of charge paternity test takers". Thus, as the researchers make explicit, "the paternity tests were free of charge, the population samples involved people of various socioeconomic strata, although "likely to be leaning slightly towards the pardo group".[198]

Region[198] European African Native American
North Region 71.10% 18.20% 10.70%
Northeast Region 77.40% 13.60% 8.90%
Central-West Region 65.90% 18.70% 11.80%
Southeast Region 79.90% 14.10% 6.10%
South Region 87.70% 7.70% 5.20%

An autosomal DNA study from 2009 found a similar profile: "all the Brazilian samples (regions) lie more closely to the European group than to the African populations or to the Mestizos from Mexico".[199]

Region[200] European African Native American
North Region 60.6% 21.3% 18.1%
Northeast Region 66.7% 23.3% 10.0%
Central-West Region 66.3% 21.7% 12.0%
Southeast Region 79.1% 14.9% 7.0%
South Region 81.5% 9.3% 9.2%

According to an autosomal genetic study by the University of Brasilia, in 2008, the composition of Brazil is about 65% European, 25% African, and 9% Native American.[130]

São Paulo state, the most populous state in Brazil, with about 40 million people, showed the following composition, according to an autosomal study from 2006: European genes account for 79% of the heritage of the people of São Paulo, 14% are of African origin, and 7% Native American.[201] A more recent study, from 2013, found the following composition in São Paulo state: 61.9% European, 25.5% African and 11.6% Native American.[202]

A genetic study presented by the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research found that, on average, "white" Brazilians have >70% European genomic ancestry, whereas "black" Brazilians have 37.1% European ancestry. It concluded that "The high ancestral variability observed in whites and blacks suggests that each Brazilian has a singular and quite individual proportion of European, African and Amerindian ancestry in his/her mosaic genomes. Thus, the only possible basis to deal with genetic variation in Brazilians is not by considering them as members of colour groups, but on a person-by-person basis, as 190 million human beings, with singular genome and life histories".[203]


Harold Mayne-Nicholls, journalist and administrator
Manuel Pellegrini, football manager.

A 2015 autosomal DNA study found out Chile to be 42.38% Native American, 55.16% European, and 2.44% African,using LAMP-LD modeling; and 54.38% European, 43.22% Native American, and 2.40% African, using RFMix.[204] An autosomal DNA study from 2014 found the results to be 51.85% (± 5.44%) European, 44.34% (± 3.9%) Native American, and 3.81% (± 0.45%) African.[77][205]

About 30% of the Chilean population is Caucasian according to research by the University of Chile.[206] Other studies estimates the white population at from 20%,[207] to 52.7% of the Chilean population.[2] According to genetic research by the University of Brasilia, Chilean genetic admixture consists of 51.6% European, 42.1% Amerindian, and 6.3% African ancestry.[130] According to an autosomal genetic study of 2014 carried out among soldiers in the city of Arica, Northern Chile, the European admixture goes from 56.8% in soldiers born in Magallanes to 41.2% for the ones who were born in Tarapacá.[208] According to an study from 2013, conducted by the Candela Project in Northern Chile as well, the genetic admixture of Chile is 52% European, 44% Native American, and 4% African.[209]

Genotype and phenotype in Chileans vary according to social class. 13% of lower-class Chileans have at least one non-Hispanic European surname, compared to 72% of those who belong to the upper-middle-class.[210] Phenotypically, only 9.6% of lower-class girls have light-colored eyes—either green or blue—where 31.6% of upper-middle class girls have such eyes.[210] Blonde hair is present in 2.2% and 21.3%, of lower-class and upper-middle girls respectively,[210] whilst black hair is more common among lower-class girls (24.5%) than upper-middle class ones (9.0%).[210]

Chile was usually an unattractive place for migrants, simply because it was far from Europe and relatively difficult to reach. However, during the 18th century an important flux of emigrants from Spain populated Chile. They were mostly Basques, who vitalized the economy and rose rapidly in the social hierarchy, becoming part of the political elite that still dominates the country.[211][212] An estimated 1.6 million (10%) to 3.2 million (20%) Chileans have a surname (one or both) of Basque origin.[213][214][215][216][217][218][219][220] The Basques liked Chile because of its similarity to their native land: cool climate, with similar geography, fruits, seafood, and wine.[212]

The Spanish was the most significant European immigration to Chile,[221] although there was never a massive immigration, such as happened in neighboring Argentina and Uruguay,[222] and, therefore, the Chilean population wasn't "whitened" to the same extent.[222] However, it is undeniable that immigrants have played a role in Chilean society.[222] Between 1851 and 1924, Chile received only 0.5% of the total European immigration to Latin America, compared to 46% for Argentina, 33% for Brazil, 14% for Cuba, and 4% for Uruguay.[221] This was because such migrants came across the Atlantic, not the Pacific, and before the construction of the Panama Canal,[221] Europeans preferring to settle in countries close to their homelands, instead of taking the long route through the Straits of Magellan or across the Andes.[221] In 1907, the European-born reached a peak of 2.4% of the Chilean population,[223] decreasing to 1.8% in 1920,[224] and 1.5% in 1930.[225]

It is estimated that nearly 5% of the Chilean population is of Asian descent, chiefly from the Middle East—i.e., Jews/Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese—totaling about 800,000.[226][227] Chile is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant.[228] Roughly 500,000 Palestinian descendants are believed to reside in Chile.[229][230][231][232][233]

About 5% of the Chilean population has some French ancestry.[234] Over 700,000 (4.5%) Chileans may be of British (English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh) origin.[235] Another significant immigrant group is Croatian. The number of their descendants today is estimated to be 380,000, or 2.4% of the population.[236][237] Other authors claim that close to 4.6% of the Chilean population must have some Croatian ancestry.[238]

After the failed liberal revolution of 1848 in the German states,[222][239] a significant German immigration took place, laying the foundation for the German-Chilean community. Sponsored by the Chilean government, to "unbarbarize" and colonize the southern region,[222] these Germans (including German-speaking Swiss, Silesians, Alsatians and Austrians) settled mainly in Valdivia, Llanquihue, Chiloé, and Los Ángeles.[240] The Chilean Embassy in Germany estimated that 150,000 to 200,000 Chileans are of German origin.[241][242]

184,000 are descendants of Italians.[243] Chileans of Greek descent are estimated to number 90,000 to 120,000,[244] most of them living in the Santiago or the Antofagasta areas, Chile being one of the top 5 countries in terms of number of Greek descendants.[245] The descendants of the Swiss number 90,000[246] Other groups of European descendants are found in smaller numbers.


The 2005 census reported that the “nonethnic population,” consisting of whites and mestizos (those of mixed white European and Amerindian ancestry, including almost all of the urban business and political elite), constituted 86 percent of the national population. The 86 percent figure is subdivided into 49 percent mestizo and 37 percent white. The census figures show how Colombians see themselves in terms of race.
Colombia: A Country Study, Colombia: A Country Study; pp. 86-87

The proportion of the Colombian population with primarily European ancestry is estimated at approximately 20%, but in the 2005 Census, 37% of the total population self-identified as white.[5] According to genetic research by the University of Brasilia, Colombian genetic admixture indicates 45.9% European, 33.8% Amerindian, and 20.3% African ancestry.[130]

Juanes, Colombian musician who has Basque ancestry.[247]

Within 100 years after the first Spanish settlement, nearly 95 percent of all Native Americans in Colombia had died. The majority of the deaths of Native Americans were the cause of diseases such as measles and smallpox, which were spread by European settlers. Many Native Americans were also killed by armed conflicts with European settlers.[248]

White Colombians are mostly descendants of Spaniards, although Italian, German, Irish, Portuguese, and Lebanese Colombians are found in significant numbers. Many Spanish colonists came searching for gold, while other Spaniards established themselves as leaders of social organizations teaching natives the Christian faith and the ways of European civilization. Catholic priests provided education for Native Americans that otherwise was unavailable.

Between 1540 and 1559, 8.9 percent of the residents of Colombia were of Basque origin. It has been suggested that the present day incidence of business entrepreneurship in the region of Antioquia is attributable to the Basque immigration and character traits. Today many Colombians of the Department of Antioquia region preserve their Basque ethnic heritage. In Bogota, there is a small district/colonies of Basque families who emigrated as a consequence of Spain's Civil War or because of better opportunities.[249] Basque priests were the ones that introduced handball into Colombia. Basque immigrants in Colombia were devoted to teaching and public administration. In the first years of the Andean Multinational Company, Basque sailors navigated as captains and pilots on the majority of the ships until the country was able to train its own crews.[250]

The first and largest wave of immigration from the Middle East began around 1880, and continued during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The immigrants were mainly Maronite Christians from Greater Syria (Syria and Lebanon) and Palestine, fleeing those then Ottoman territories.[251] Syrians, Palestinians, and Lebanese have continued to settle in Colombia. Due to a lack of information, it's impossible to know the exact number of Lebanese and Syrians that immigrated to Colombia; but for 1880 to 1930, 5,000–10,000 is estimated. Syrians and Lebanese are perhaps the biggest immigrant group next to the Spanish since independence. Those who left their homeland in the Middle East to settle in Colombia left for different religious, economic, and political reasons. In 1945, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Cali, and Bogota are the cities with the largest numbers of Arabic-speakers in Colombia.[252] The Arabs that went to Maicao were mostly Sunni Muslim, with some Druze and Shiites, as well as Orthodox and Maronite Christians. The mosque of Maicao is the second largest mosque in Latin America. Middle Easterns are generally called Turcos (Turkish).[251]

In December 1941 the United States government estimated that there were 4,000 Germans living in Colombia. There were some Nazi agitators in Colombia, such as Barranquilla businessman Emil Prufurt. Colombia invited Germans who were on the U.S. blacklist to leave.[253] SCADTA, a Colombian-German air transport corporation, which was established by German expatriates in 1919, was the first commercial airline in the western hemisphere.[254] In recent years, the celebration of Colombian-German heritage has grown increasingly popular in Bogota, Cartagena, and Bucaramanga. There are many annual festivals that focus German cuisine, specially pastry arts and beer. Since 2009, there has been a considerable increase in collaborative research through advanced business and educational exchanges, such as those promoted by COLCIENCIAS and AIESEC. There are many Colombian-German companies focused on finance, science, education, technology and innovation, and engineering.[255]


According to the 2010 National Population Census, 6.1% of the population self-identified as white, down from 10.5% in 2001.[256] In Ecuador, being white is more an indication of social class than of ethnicity. Classifying oneself as white is often done to claim membership to the middle class and to distance oneself from the lower class, which is associated being "Indian". For this reason the status of blanco is claimed by people who are not primarily of European heritage.[257] According to genetic research by the University of Brasilia, Ecuadorian genetic admixture indicates 64.6% Amerindian, 31.0% European, and 4.4% African ancestry.[130]

White Ecuadorians, mostly criollos, are descendants of Spanish colonists and also Spanish refugees fleeing the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War. Most still hold large amounts of lands, mainly in the northern Sierra, and live in Quito or Guayaquil. There is also a large number of white people in Cuenca, a city in the southern Andes of Ecuador, due to the arrival of Frenchmen in the area, who came to measure the arc of the Earth. Cuenca, Loja, and the Galápagos attracted German immigration during the early 20th century. The Galápagos also had a small Norwegian fishing community until they were asked to leave. There are sizable populations of Italian, French, German, Basque, Portuguese, and Greek descent, as well as a small Ecuadorian Jewish population.

French Guiana

12% of the population is white, mostly French.[258]


Ethnically, culturally, and socially, Paraguay has one of the most homogeneous populations in South America. Because of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia's 1814 policy that no white Spaniards and Europeans could intermarry among themselves (they could only marry blacks, mulattoes, mestizos or the native Guaraní), a measure taken to avoid white supremacy being established in Paraguay (De Francia believed that all men were equal as well), it was within little more than one generation that most of the population were of mixed racial origin.

The exact percentage of the white Paraguayan population is not known because the Paraguayan census does not include racial or ethnic identification, save for the indigenous population,[259] which was 1.7% of the country's total in the 2002 census.[260] Other sources estimate the sizes of other groups, the mestizo population being estimated at 95% by the CIA World Factbook, with all other groups totaling 5%.[261] Thus, whites and the remaining groups (Asians, Afro-Paraguayans, others) make up approximately 3.3% of the total population. Such a reading is complicated, because, as elsewhere in Latin America, "white" and "mestizo" are not mutually exclusive (people may identify as both).

Due to the European migration in the 19th and 20th centuries, the majority of whites are of German descent (including Mennonites), with others being of French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese descent.[262] Many are southern and southeastern Brazilians (brasiguayos), as well as Argentines and Uruguayans, and their descendants.[262] People from such regions are generally descendants of colonial settlers and/or more recent immigrants.[262]

In 2005, 600 families of Volga Germans who migrated to Germany after the fall of the Soviet Union, re-migrated and established a new colony, Neufeld, near Yuty (Caazapá Department), in southeastern Paraguay.[263]


The footballer Claudio Pizarro

White Peruvians are 4.9% of the population, according to a 2006 survey from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI).[264] and 15.5% or 4.6 million people according to the CIA World Factbook.[9] They are descendants primarily of Spanish colonists, and also of Spanish refugees fleeing the Spanish Civil War. After World War II, many German refugees fled to Peru and settled in large cities, while others descend from Italian, French (mainly Basques), Austrian or German, Portuguese, British, Russians, Croats, Lebanese, Jordanian, and Syrian immigrant families. The majority of the whites live in the largest cities, and are concentrated in the northern coastal cities of Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, and of course the capital Lima. Cajamarca and San Martín Region, and the highlands of northwestern Peru, are also places with strong Spanish, and other European, influence and ethnic presence. The only southern city with a significant white population is Arequipa.

According to a genetic research by the University of Brasilia, Peruvian genetic admixture indicates 73.0% Amerindian, 15.1% European, and 11.9% African ancestry.[130]


Main article: Uruguayan people

A 2009 DNA study in the American Journal of Human Biology showed the genetic composition of Uruguay as primarily European, with Native American ancestry ranging from one to 20 percent and sub-Saharan African from seven to 15 percent, depending on the region.[265]

Between the mid-19th and the early 20th centuries, Uruguay received part of the same migratory influx as Argentina, although the process started a bit earlier. During 1850-1900, the country welcomed four waves of European immigrants, mainly Spaniards, Italians and Frenchmen. In smaller numbers came British, Germans, Swiss, Russians, Portuguese, Poles, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Dutch, Belgians, Croatians, Lebanese, Armenians, Greeks, Scandinavians, and Irish. The demographic impact of these migratory waves was greater than in Argentina, Uruguay going from having 70,000 inhabitants in 1830, to 450,000 in 1875, and a million inhabitants by 1900, its population thus increasing fourteen-fold in only 70 years. Between 1840 and 1890, 50%-60% of Montevideo's population was born abroad, almost all in Europe. The Census conducted in 1860 showed that 35% of the country's population was made up by foreigners, although by the time of the 1908 Census this figure had dropped to 17%.[266]

From 1996 to 1997, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) of Uruguay conducted a Continuous Household Survey, of 40,000 homes, that included the topic of race in the country. Its results were based on "the explicit statements of the interviewee about the race they consider they belong themselves". These results were extrapolated, and the INE estimated that out of 2,790,600 inhabitants, some 2,602,200 were white (93.2%), some 164,200 (5.9%) were totally or partially black, some 12,100 were totally or partially Amerindian (0.4%), and the remaining 12,000 considered themselves Yellow.[267]

In 2006, a new Enhanced National Household Survey touched on the topic again, but this time emphasizing ancestry, not race; the results revealed 5.8% more Uruguayans stated having total or partial black and/or Amerindian ancestry. This reduction in the percentage of self-declared "pure whites" between surveys could be caused by the phenomenon of the interviewee giving new value to their African heritage, similar to what has happened in Brazil in the last three censuses. Anyway, it is worth noting that 2,897,525 interviewées declared having only white ancestry (87.4%), 302,460 declared having total or partial black ancestry (9.1%), 106,368 total or partial Amerindian ancestry (2.9%) and 6,549 total or partial Yellow ancestry (0.2%).[268] This figure matches external estimates for white population in Uruguay of 87.4%,[269] 88%,[2][270] or 90%.[271]

Recently many European and American immigrants have entered the country seeking peace and security, or escaping from the pollution and voracious tax systems in their countries of origin. In 1997, the Uruguayan government granted residence rights to only 200 European/American citizens; in 2008 the number of residence rights granted increased to 927.[272]


Stefanía Fernández, Venezuelan pageant titleholder is of Ukrainian, Polish and Spanish ancestry
Édgar Ramírez, Venezuelan actor is of European ancestry

According to the official Venezuelan census, although "white" literally involves external issues such as light skin, shape and color of hair and eyes, among others, the term "white" has been used in different ways in different historical periods and places, and so its precise definition is somewhat confusing.[6] For this reason, White Venezuelan is used to describe the Venezuelan citizen of European origin.

According to the 2011 National Population and Housing Census, 43.6% of the population identified themselves as white people.[6] A genomic study shows that about 60.6% of the Venezuelan gene pool has European origin. Among the Latin American countries in the study (Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela), Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina exhibit the highest European contribution.[273]

The Venezuelan gene pool indicates a 60.6% European, 23.0% Amerindian, and 16.3% African ancestry.[130] Spaniards were introduced into Venezuela during the colonial period. Most of them were from Andalusia, Galicia, Basque Country and from the Canary Islands. Until the last years of World War II, a large part of European immigrants to Venezuela came from the Canary Islands, and their cultural impact was significant, influencing the development of Castilian in the country, its gastronomy and customs. With the beginning of oil production during the first decades of the 20th century, employees of oil companies from the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands established themselves in Venezuela. Later, in the middle of the century, there was a new wave of immigrants originating from Spain (mainly from Galicia, Andalucia, and Basque country, some being refugees from the Spanish Civil War), Italy (mainly from southern Italy and the Veneto region), and Portugal (from Madeira), as well as from Germany, France, England, Croatia, the Netherlands, other European countries, and the Middle East (Lebanon), encouraged by a welcoming immigration policy to a prosperous, rapidly developing country where educated and skilled immigrants were needed.

Representation in the media

Some American media outlets have criticised Latin American media for allegedly featuring a disproportionate number of blond and blue-eyed/green-eyed white actors and actresses in telenovelas, relative to non-whites.[274][275][276][277][278][279][280][281]

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 CIA data from The World Factbook's Field Listing :: Ethnic groups and Field Listing :: Population, retrieved on May 09 2011. They show 191,543,213 whites from a total population of 579,092,570. For a few countries the percentage of white population is not provided as a standalone figure, and thus that datum is considered to be not available; for example, in Chile's case the CIA states "white and white-Amerindian 95.4%". Unequivocal data are given for the following: Argentina 41,769,726 * 97% white = 40,516,634; Bolivia 10,118,683 * 15% white = 1,517,802; Brazil 203,429,773 * 53.7% white = 109,241,788; Colombia 44,725,543 * 20% white = 8,945,109; Cuba 11,087,330 * 65.1% white = 7,217,852; Dominican Republic 9,956,648 * 16% white = 1,593,064; El Salvador 6,071,774 * 9% white = 546,460; Honduras 8,143,564 * 1% white = 81,436; Mexico 113,724,226 * 9% white = 10,235,180; Nicaragua 5,666,301 * 17% white = 963,272; Panama 3,460,462 * 10% white = 346,046; Peru 29,248,943 * 15% white = 4,387,342; Puerto Rico 3,989,133 * 76.2% white = 3,039,719; Uruguay 3,308,535 * 88% white = 2,911,511. Total white population in these countries: 191,543,213, i.e 33.07% of the region's population.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Lizcano Fernández, Francisco (May–August 2005). "Composición Étnica de las Tres Áreas Culturales del Continente Americano al Comienzo del Siglo XXI" (PDF). Convergencia (in Spanish). Mexico: Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Centro de Investigación en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades. 38: 185–232; table on p. 218. ISSN 1405-1435. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 September 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 "Censo Demográfico 2010: Características gerais da população, religião e pessoas com deficiência" [Census 2010: general characteristics of the population, religion and people with disabilities]. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (in Portuguese). 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  4. 1 2 "Mexico". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  5. 1 2 3 "Colombia: A Country Study" (PDF). Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress of the United States of America. 2010. pp. 86–87.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Resultado Básico del XIV Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda 2011 (Mayo 2014)" (PDF). Ine.gov.ve. p. 29. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  7. 1 2 http://www.ine.gob.ve/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=95&Itemid=26 Venezuelan population by 30/Jun/2014 is 30,206,2307 according to National Institute of Statistics
  8. The Official 2012 Cuba Census
  9. 1 2 "Peru: People; Ethnic groups". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
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  14. 1 2 "D.R.: People; Ethnic groups". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  15. 1 2 3 "Nicaragua: People; Ethnic groups". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  16. 1 2 "Resultados del Censo 2010". Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos. 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
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  19. More precisely, these are the chief languages of Latin America, as per CIA – The World Factbook – Field Listing :: Languages, accessed 2010-02-24.
  20. The religious profile of the Latin American countries can be seen in CIA – The World Factbook – Field Listing :: Religions (accessed 2010-02-24). As such, it is not the religious profile of white Latin Americans in particular, but is a good indication of white religious affiliation in the region's white-majority countries, especially.
  21. Schaefer, Richard T. (ed.) (2008). Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society. Sage. p. 900. ISBN 978-1-4129-2694-2. In New Spain, there was no strict idea of race (something that continued in Mexico). The Indians that had lost their connections with their communities and had adopted different cultural elements could "pass" and be considered mestizos. The same applied to blacks and castas. Rather, the factor that distinguished the various social groups was their calidad ("quality"); this concept was related to an idea of blood as conferring status, but there were also other elements, such as occupation and marriage, that could have the effect of blanqueamiento (whitening) on people and influence their upward social mobility.
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  23. Schaefer, Richard T. (ed.) (2008). Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society. Sage. p. 1096. ISBN 978-1-4129-2694-2. The variation of racial groupings between nations is at least partially explained by an unstable coupling between historical patterns of colonization and miscegenation. First, divergent patterns of colonization may account for differences in the construction of racial groupings, as evidenced in Latin America, which was colonized primarily by the Spanish. The Spanish colonials had a longer history of tolerance of non-White racial groupings through their interactions with the Moors and North African social groups, as well as a different understanding of the rights of colonized subjects and a different pattern of economic development.
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    — «O Brasil está mais preto, algo mais próximo da realidade» — diz Paula, para quem a principal razão é a maior identificação de pretos e pardos com sua cor. — «É a chamada desejabilidade social. Historicamente, pretos e pardos eram desvalorizados socialmente, o que fazia com que pretos desejassem ser pardos, e pardos, brancos. Agora, pretos e pardos quiseram se identificar assim. Isso pode ter a ver, ainda, com a afirmação dessa população como forte consumidor atualmente, que se refletiu em afirmação de identidade.» (...)
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  180. Século XVIII
  181. Brasil 500 anos colonial
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  187. IBGE espanhóis
  188. "A assimilação dos imigrantes como questão nacional". scielo.br.
  189. "Memórias da Emigração Portuguesa". sapo.pt.
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  195. "Profile of the Brazilian blood donor". Amigodoador.com.br. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
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  200. Forensic Science International: Genetics. Allele frequencies of 15 STRs in a representative sample of the Brazilian population (inglés) basandos en estudios del IBGE de 2008. Se presentaron muestras de 12.886 individuos de distintas etnias, por regiones, provenían en un 8,26% del Norte, 23,86% del Nordeste, 4,79% del Centro-Oeste, 10,32% del Sudeste y 52,77% del Sur.
  201. "Genomic ancestry of a sample population from the state of São Paulo, Brazil". American Journal of Human Biology. 18: 702–705. doi:10.1002/ajhb.20474.
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  204. "Genetic structure characterization of Chileans reflects historical immigration patterns". nature.com.
  205. http://www.scielo.cl/pdf/rmc/v142n3/art01.pdf
  206. "5.2.6. Estructura racial". University of Chile (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 Feb 2013.
  207. "Chile". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2012-09-15. "Chile's ethnic makeup is largely a product of Spanish colonization. About three fourths of Chileans are mestizo, a mixture of European and Amerindian ancestries. One fifth of Chileans are of white European (mainly Spanish) descent".
  208. El Gradiente Sociogenético Chileno y sus Implicaciones Etico-Sociales (2014)
  209. "LUN.COM Mobile". lun.com.
  210. 1 2 3 4 "Sexual dimorphism in skin, eye and hair color and the presence of freckles in Chilean teenagers from two socioeconomic strata". Viviana Zemelman, Petra von Beck, Orlando Alvarado and Carlos y Valenzuela (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 Apr 2013.
  211. "Chile". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2012-09-15. "...Basque families who migrated to Chile in the 18th century vitalized the economy and joined the old Castilian aristocracy to become the political elite that still dominates the country".
  212. 1 2 De los Vascos, Oñati y los Elorza DE LOS VASCOS, OÑATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza. Page 68
  213. Diario Vasco. "Diariovasco.com - EDICIÓN IMPRESA - "Los jóvenes vasco-chilenos están al día de todo lo que está pasando en Euskadi"". diariovasco.com.
  214. entrevista al Presidente de la Cámara vasca.
  215. vascos Ainara Madariaga: Autora del estudio "Imaginarios vascos desde Chile La construcción de imaginarios vascos en Chile durante el siglo XX".
  216. "De los vascos en Chile y sus instituciones". euskonews.com.
  217. Contacto Interlingüístico e intercultural en el mundo hispano.instituto valenciano de lenguas y culturas. Universitat de València Cita: " Un 20% de la población chilena tiene su origen en el País Vasco".
  218. (Spanish) La población chilena con ascendencia vasca bordea entre el 15% y el 20% del total, por lo que es uno de los países con mayor presencia de emigrantes venidos de Euskadi.
  219. De los Vascos, Oñati y los Elorza DE LOS VASCOS, OÑATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza.
  220. (Spanish) Presencia vasca en Chile.
  221. 1 2 3 4 De los Vascos, Oñati y los Elorza DE LOS VASCOS, OÑATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza. Page 59, 65, 66
  222. 1 2 3 4 5 Salazar Vergara, Gabriel; Pinto, Julio (1999). "La Presencia Inmigrante". Historia Contemporánea de Chile. Santiago de Chile: LOM Ediciones. pp. 76–81. ISBN 956-282-174-9. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  223. Censo de Población 1907
  224. Censo de Población 1920
  225. Censo de Población 1930
  226. (Spanish) Arabes de Chile.
  227. (Spanish) En Chile viven unas 700.000 personas de origen árabe y de ellas 500.000 son descendientes de emigrantes palestinos que llegaron a comienzos del siglo pasado y que constituyen la comunidad de ese origen más grande fuera del mundo árabe.
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  229. "Chile: Palestinian refugees arrive to warm welcome - Adnkronos Culture And Media". adnkronos.com.
  230. (Spanish) 500,000 descendientes de primera y segunda generación de palestinos en Chile.
  231. (Spanish) Santiago de Chile es un modelo de convivencia palestino-judía.
  232. Exiling Palestinians to Chile.
  233. (Spanish) Chile tiene la comunidad palestina más grande fuera del mundo árabe, unos 500.000 descendientes.
  234. (Spanish) 5% de los chilenos tiene origen frances
  235. "Historia de Chile, Británicos y Anglosajones en Chile durante el siglo XIX". Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  236. (Spanish) Diaspora Croata..
  237. Splitski osnovnoškolci rođeni u Čileu.
  238. "Hrvatski Dom - Inmigrantes Croatas". hrvatski.cl.
  239. Durán, Hipólito (1997). "El crecimiento de la población latinoamericana y en especial de Chile • Academia Chilena de Medicina". Superpoblación. Madrid: Real Academia Nacional de Medicina. p. 217. ISBN 84-923901-0-7. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
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  241. "Reisen Sie nach Chile? Reiseziele zu den wichtigsten touristischen Sehenswürdigkeiten" [Are you travelling to Chile? Major tourist destinations and attractions]. German Embassy in Chile (in German). 2008. Archived from the original on 5 August 2009.
  242. "Italiani nel Mondo: diaspora italiana in cifre" (PDF) (in Italian). Migranti Torino. 30 April 2004. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  243. (Spanish) Embajada de Grecia en Chile.
  244. (Spanish) Griegos de Chile.
  245. 90,000 descendants Swiss in Chile.
  246. "Juanes is a Colombian musician who has Basque descent" (in Spanish). centroestudiovascoantioquia. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  247. "Colombia - History Background". stateuniversity.com.
  248. Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World by William A. Douglass, Jon Bilbao, P.167
  249. Possible paradises: Basque emigration to Latin America by José Manuel Azcona Pastor, P.203
  250. 1 2 (Spanish) webislam.com: La comunidad musulmana de Maicao (Colombia) webislam.com
  251. (Spanish) Luis Angel Arango Library: Los sirio-libaneses en Colombia lablaa.org
  252. Latin America during World War II by Thomas M. Leonard, John F. Bratzel, P.117
  253. "SCADTA Joins the Fight". stampnotes.com.
  254. "Auswärtiges Amt - Colombia". Auswärtiges Amt.
  255. EL UNIVERSO. "Población del país es joven y mestiza, dice censo del INEC". El Universo.
  256. Levinson, David. 1998. Ethnic groups worldwide: a ready reference handbook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 346. "Blanco or White is more a social-class designation than an ethnic one, as identification as a Blanco is based on a combination of white skin color, European features, speaking Spanish, residence in the western part of the nation (especially in a city), and enough wealth or education to be classified as middle or upper class. However, in some rural regions, Mestizos refer to themselves as Blancos, to distinguish themselves from Native Americans and Quechua speakers. Blancos form the ruling elite in Ecuador, and categorization as a Blanco is considered desirable by people of full or partial European descent.
  257. French Guiana: People: Ethnic Groups. World Factbook of CIA
  258. Paraguayan Census form
  259. II CENSO NACIONAL INDÍGENA DE POBLACIÓN Y VIVIENDAS 2002. Pueblos Indígenas del Paraguay. Resultados Finales
  260. "Paraguay: People; Ethnic groups". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  261. 1 2 3 Benítez Martínez, María Victoria. "Inmigrantes Europeos en Paraguay 1818 1930" (PDF). XIV Encuentro de Latinoamericanistas Españoles (in Spanish). Paris, France: Université de Paris. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
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  263. The Socioeconomic Advantages of Mestizos in Urban Peru. princeton.edu. pp. 4-5.
  264. "Substantial native American female contribution to the population of Tacuarembó, Uruguay, reveals past episodes of sex-biased gene flow". wiley.com.
  265. "El Nacimiento del Uruguay Moderno en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX" (Spanish)
  266. "Encuesta Contínua de Hogares 1996-1997". Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Uruguay (Spanish)
  267. "Perfil Demográfico y Socioeconómico de la Población Uruguaya según su Ascendencia Racial" por Marisa Bucheli y Wanda Cabela. Fuente: Encuesta Nacional de Hogares Ampliada 2006. INE (Spanish)
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  269. Uruguay: People: Ethnic Groups
  270. "Higher Education - Pearson". prenhall.com.
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  274. "Washington Post: Breaking News, World, US, DC News & Analysis". Washington Post.
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