Race and Independent Living Among Elderly Brazilians Since 1980

De Vos, Susan, and Flavia Andrade
Working paper no. 2003-08


This paper examines independent living among elderly Brazilians 65+ of different racial groups since 1980. Consistent with current theoretical notions about the living arrangements of elderly people, there was an overall increase in independent living among them. However, the increase mainly reflects change among White Brazilians who constitute a little over half the population whereas there was little change among Browns or Blacks. While a common explanation is that racial disparities in Brazil reflect structural factors, we found that controlling for urban/rural residence, region, education and income failed to explain away many differences. Could a force such as discrimination help explain differences? Further study needs to include information about non-coresident kin as well as household members.