A Mexican supporter waves the national flag at the Zocalo Square in Mexico City June 21, 2006, during the transmission of the FIFA World Cup match between Mexico and Portugal.
ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

Read more at Quartz.