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Member of an indigenous group

Codes and Frequencies

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Explore how IPUMS created this variable


      class Indig:public Editor {

    Indig(VarPointer varInfo) : Editor(varInfo) {}
    void edit() {

        long a = getRecoded();
        switch (dataSet) {
        case dataset_id::bo2012a:
			if (BO2012A_0416() == 9 && BO2012A_0417() == 999)
				a = 9;




INDIG indicates whether the person belonged to an indigenous group.

Comparability — Index

Costa Rica
El Salvador
United States

Comparability — General

The data are broadly comparable across countries. In all cases the identification as indigenous comes from the respondent's self-reported status as a member of such group. Most samples identify indigenous subgroups in other variables.

Persons of mixed race or ethnic background are generally not recorded as indigenous.

Mexico and Bolivia asked the ethnicity question only of persons above a certain age; the other countries asked all persons.

For many samples, the data are derived from the information in the variable RACE, which identifies other groups as well.

Comparability — Bangladesh [top]

The person was classified as "tribal" if in the household questionnaire the household was considered tribal.

Comparability — Bolivia [top]

In 2012, Afro-Bolivians are not considered as members of an indigenous group.

Comparability — Brazil [top]

The Brazilian data is derived from census questions on race or color. Mixed-race persons are not classified as indigenous, regardless of whether they claimed to be partially indigenous.

Comparability — Canada [top]

The data are comparable although the questions differed. The 1991 census asked about ancestral origins in a broader ethnicity question; the 2001 and 2011 censuses asked directly if the person was aboriginal.

Comparability — Chile [top]

Persons are classified as indigenous if they claimed to be among one of eight specified indigenous groups.

Comparability — Colombia [top]

The census question referred to the person's culture, group, or physical characteristics.

Comparability — Costa Rica [top]

The 2000 data are from a census question on race or ethnic group. There were no instructions regarding mixed races or ethnicities. The 2011 census included a question which asked explicitly about indigenous group membership.

Comparability — Ecuador [top]

The data are from a census question on race or ethnicity. The instructions are quite extensive in expressing the intent to identify persons who are among the native cultural groups that retain an identity distinct from the rest of Ecuadorian society, specifying a list of indigenous nations and peoples.

Mestizos, persons of mixed indigenous heritage, are not classified as indigenous.

Comparability — El Salvador [top]

In El Salvador 2007 sample the question asked for indigenous self-identification.

Mestizos, persons of mixed white and indigenous heritage, are not classified as indigenous.

Comparability — Guatemala [top]

The census question referred to person's ethnic group.

Comparability — Mexico [top]

The age universe changes slightly from 2000 to 2010. The census question was applied to all persons in 2015.

The question asked if the persons considered themselves as indigenous. In Mexico 2000 the only additional instruction was that particular groups varied regionally, while in 2010 and 2015, self-identification as indigenous was linked to culture, ancestry and traditions.

In 2015, a person declaring to be partially indigenous was not classified as a member of an indigenous group.

Comparability — Nicaragua [top]

In Nicaragua 2005 sample the question refers to persons that consider themselves as belonging to an indigenous population. Creoles and Mestizos are coded "no" for purposes of INDIG, but the unharmonized source variable allows them to be identified.

Comparability — Panama [top]

The census questions asked directly if the person identified themselves as a member of an indigenous group.

Comparability — Paraguay [top]

This variable is available only for 2002. In 1992, households were asked to identify their ethnicity or parcialidad, an ethnic identity which is also tied to a specific location. This information is recorded in PY1992A_0031.

Comparability — Suriname [top]

The 2004 and 2012 samples refer to ethnic group self-identification; only those respondents who indicated "native or indigenous" are classified as members of an indigenous group.

Comparability — United States [top]

The U.S. data are derived from the census question on race.

Comparability — Uruguay [top]

The 2006 and 2011 sample data are derived from census questions about indigenous ancestry. Respondents were able to identify multiple ancestries. See RACE for principal race or ancestry.


  • Bangladesh 2001: All persons
  • Bolivia 2001: Persons age 15+
  • Bolivia 2012: All persons
  • Brazil 1960: All persons
  • Brazil 1991: All persons
  • Brazil 2000: All persons
  • Brazil 2010: All persons
  • Canada 1991: All persons
  • Canada 2001: All persons
  • Canada 2011: All persons
  • Chile 2002: All persons
  • Colombia 2005: All persons
  • Costa Rica 2000: All persons
  • Costa Rica 2011: All persons
  • Ecuador 2001: All persons
  • Ecuador 2010: All persons
  • El Salvador 2007: All persons
  • Guatemala 1964: All persons
  • Guatemala 1973: All persons
  • Guatemala 1981: All persons
  • Guatemala 1994: All persons
  • Guatemala 2002: All persons
  • Mexico 2000: Persons age 5+
  • Mexico 2010: Persons age 3+
  • Mexico 2015: All persons
  • Nicaragua 2005: All persons
  • Panama 1990: All persons
  • Panama 2000: All persons
  • Panama 2010: All persons
  • Paraguay 2002: All persons
  • Suriname 2004: All persons
  • Suriname 2012: All persons
  • United States 1960: All persons
  • United States 1970: All persons
  • United States 1980: All persons
  • United States 1990: All persons
  • United States 2000: All persons
  • United States 2005: All persons
  • United States 2010: All persons
  • United States 2015: All persons
  • Uruguay 2006: All persons
  • Uruguay 2011: All persons


  • Bangladesh: 2001
  • Bolivia: 2001, 2012
  • Brazil: 1960, 1991, 2000, 2010
  • Canada: 1991, 2001, 2011
  • Chile: 2002
  • Colombia: 2005
  • Costa Rica: 2000, 2011
  • Ecuador: 2001, 2010
  • El Salvador: 2007
  • Guatemala: 1964, 1973, 1981, 1994, 2002
  • Mexico: 2000, 2010, 2015
  • Nicaragua: 2005
  • Panama: 1990, 2000, 2010
  • Paraguay: 2002
  • Suriname: 2004, 2012
  • United States: 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015
  • Uruguay: 2006, 2011