Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2015


Taking parity as the main analytic variable, the objective of this study is to investigate whether the patterns of response to national census questions in Brazil differ when Indigenous and non-Indigenous women are compared, taking into consideration whether the information was provided by the women directly or by a proxy respondent (another household member or a non-resident). We use data on children ever born to Indigenous and non-Indigenous women from two Brazilian regions, the Northeast and the North. Data on the number of household members, total household rooms, interviewee’s color/race, educational attainment, age, parity, and type of respondent were obtained from the 2010 Brazilian census. The relation between color/race and reported parity, as well as the impact of the type of respondent on this association were assessed with the Zero-inflated Negative Binomial regression, stratified by region (North and Northeast) and urban/rural status. Just over half of census interviewees answered directly the census questions (51.2% in the North and 54.4% in the Northeast). Indigenous women in the North region had the highest percentage of interviews carried out with a non-resident (12.7% total; 15.0% and 3.0% in rural and urban areas, respectively). Regardless of color/race, parity means were considerably higher when the question was answered by the woman directly (93.5%-101.4% and 15.6%-21.7% higher, compared co-resident and non-resident based answers, respectively). Parity underreporting was particularly strong in Indigenous women living in the rural North (16.0% less in comparison to White women). Proxy respondents tend to underestimate the count of children, particularly among Indigenous women from the North. The implementation of certain methodological alternatives in the Brazilian national censuses, such as the selection and training of census takers to work specifically in Indigenous territories, might be a productive means to improve data collection.


This work was originally published in PLoS ONE, available at doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123826.



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