When Mexico’s census bureau ran a national survey that recognized a black population for the first time in history, here’s what they found out: around 1.4 million citizens of Mexico (or 1.2% of the population identifies as “Afro-Mexico” or “Afro-descendant.” The survey was an initial effort to prepare for the official national census in 2020. The national census has never before allowed Afro-Mexicans to self-identify themselves using that term.

Racial statistics matter. Governments use data on different racial groups to estimate how much institutional support should be devoted to certain demographics. And when creating school curriculum, it also helps discover whose histories we’re excluding.

The history of Mexico’s black population derives from the Spanish slave trade. Since then, the population has in many ways been marginalized by mainstream Mexican society.

Check out Fusion’s full article on the survey here.