The Socioeconomic Advantages of Mestizos in Urban Peru

Cristian L. Paredes, University of Texas at Austin

In Peru, the racial/ethnic category mestizo refers to mixed-race people. The mestizo category, however, presents several analytic challenges. At first, the boundaries of the mestizo group are blurry due to the phenotypic diversity of mestizos. Furthermore, while most Peruvians identify themselves as mestizos, many do not recognize the mestizo status of others who claim the same identity. Nonetheless, the prominence of the mestizo racial/ethnic condition in the mainstream discourse and the prevalence of the dynamics of mestizaje justify the use of these categories in racial/ethnic studies. In this article, I interpret the self-reported race/ethnic identity following a cultural definition of the mestizo group. I also analyze racial/ethnic socioeconomic differences in urban Peru using survey data. I find evidence of significant advantages favoring the mestizo group over the Quechua and Aymara indigenous groups with respect to education and income.

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Presented in Poster Session 1