The Press Room is a communication channel between IBGE and journalists. Here you can follow our releases, contact our press office and access multimedia resources.

in news

IBGE maps Indian population

Based on the information collected by the 2010 Census, IBGE developed a brief set of maps and tables showing the spatial distribution of 896 thousand people who self declared or considered themselves as Indians, including also 305 ethnicities found by the enumerators in 2010. More than two hundred languages spoken in Indian lands are also listed. Resulting from a partnership between IBGE and FUNAI, the publication "The Indian Brazil" will be distributed to every unit of these two institutions in the whole country, and will be available as well on the Internet. For example, the maps and tables of the publication show that 36.2% of people that self declared as Indians lived in cities, and the remaining 63.8% in rural areas. Among these latter, 517 thousand (57.7% of the total) lived in lands officially recognized as Indian lands.

One of the innovations of the 2010 Population Census was a set of specific questions to people who self declared or considered themselves as Indians: they could inform their nation or ethnicity and the Indian languages they spoke. Furthermore, the Census was able to report whether their households were inside or outside the Indian lands already recognized by the Federal government.

The outcomes of the 2010 Census concerning Indians were released in two occasions last year: firstly, the data on the distribution of Indians along the municipalities, on April 18[1]; then, a more detailed release on the spatial distribution, including the ethnicities found by the enumerators, on August 10[2]. The publication The Indian Brazil summarizes those two previous releases. The PDF version, including other information on the Indian population in previous Population Censuses of IBGE, is also available on

In 2000, the self-declared Indian population increased substantially in relation to 1991, but in 2010 it remained at levels close to those of 2000. The publication presents tables with the percentage of Indians living in urban areas (36.2%), which is significantly below the Brazilian population (84.4%) in similar locations.



Another interesting fact in The Indian Brazil is the comparison between the age pyramids of the populations. The pyramid representing the population living out of Indian lands (highlighted in orange in the picture below) has a narrow base, due to the smaller number of persons at younger ages, a typically urban characteristic. The pyramid representing those who live in Indian lands has a wide base, referring to the high birth rate observed among women of some Indian peoples.



The 2010 Population Census identified both in Indian land and out of it, 305 ethnicities and 274 Indian languages, a figure which surpasses the initial expectations of FUNAI. That evidences the need of deeper linguistic and anthropological studies, since some languages can be a variation of one same language and some ethnicities can be subgroups or segments of a primary one. The publication, lists, besides the ethnicities, all the languages spoken by Indian persons aged five and over who were living in Indian lands. 




The 2010 Population Census also showed that, among the Indian population aged five and over, 37.4% spoke an Indian language and 17.5% did not speak Portuguese. These percentages increased, respectively, to 57.3% and 28.8% among those living in Indian lands.  The literacy rate of Indians aged 15 and over was below the national average (90.4%). In Indian land, 32.3% are still illiterate.

Through the Census it was also possible to see the spatial distribution of the 896 thousand persons who declared to be or considered themselves as Indians.  As shown in the map below (one of the seven in this publication), the Indian population is present in all the Major Regions of Brazil, showing that cultural diversity is a striking feature of the Brazilian society and of its territory. 


Social Communication
April 19, 2013

© 2015 IBGE - Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística