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Having some Amerindian and black African ancestry—which is widespread among white Brazilians, among all social classes in its five geographic regions since the 16th to 17th centuries—as well as having Moorish, Jewish, Arab, or Romani ancestry, affected social status less than in Hispanic America, This does not mean that the social status of "fully non-white" people (people of color who are not mulattoes, mestizos, zambos, pardos, etc.—in short, Mixed-race Brazilians—even with Caucasian features; "westernized" Brazilians with non-Caucasian phenotypes; or people with known non-European ancestry was equal to that of Brazilian elites. In terms of percentage of the total population, Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica have the highest concentrations of whites, who constitute 80–90% of their total populations.

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For example, full-blooded siblings can often be classified as belonging to different races (Harris 1964).

For these reasons the distinction between "white" and "mixed", and between "mixed" and "black" and "indigenous", is largely subjective and situational, meaning that any attempt to classify by discrete racial categories is fraught with problems.

However, while most present-day racial classifications include a concept of being white that is ideologically connected to European heritage and specific phenotypic and biological features associated with European heritage, there are differences in how people are classified.

These differences arise from the various historical processes and social contexts in which a given racial classification is used.

In that time, more people from the United States have been added to the population of Mexico than Mexicans to that of the United States, according to government data in both nations.

Mexico’s northern and western regions have the highest percentages of European population, according to the American historian Howard F.Alternately, in countries like Mexico and Brazil mixture has been emphasized as fundamental for nation-building, resulting in a large group of bi-racial mestizos, in Mexico, or tri-racial pardos, in Brazil, Unlike in the United States where ancestry may be used exclusively to define race, by the 1970s, Latin American scholars came to agree that race in Latin America could not be understood as the "genetic composition of individuals" but instead must be "based upon a combination of cultural, social, and somatic considerations".In Latin America, a person's ancestry may not be decisive in racial classification.Within Latin America there are variations in how racial boundaries have been defined.In Argentina, for example, the notion of mixture has been downplayed.However, being a medieval concept that targeted exclusively those religious groups, it was never an issue among the native population in the colonies of the Spanish Empire, which by law allowed people from all racial groups to join the army, with being of the Catholic faith the only prerequisite.

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