Afro-Mexicans, for the first time, have finally been given the option of identifying as black in the national census and claiming their African heritage.
As Quartz reports, as of Dec. 8, with the release of Mexico’s 2015 population survey, 1.38 million people identified themselves as having African heritage, representing a total of 1.2 percent of the country’s population.
Most self-identified Afro-Mexicans live in three coastal states, including Guerrero, where they make up almost 7 percent of the population. The country’s census bureau also found them to be poorer and less educated than the national average.
As the site notes, allowing for the “Afro” category is part of a push to recognize often overlooked black populations in Latin America, which are often the victims of racism related to the countries’ histories of slavery.
According to Quartz, Afro-Mexican activists have fought for recognition for more than 20 years, and being included in the census as a distinct category is a huge accomplishment.
Read more at Quartz.