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Ethnic identity reflects numerous characteristics, only one of which is physical appearance; others include dress, language, community membership, and self-identification.A geography of ethnicity remained well-defined until the surge in migration that began in the 1950s. Mestizos lived in small towns scattered throughout the countryside.This boom of the petroleum industry has led to a mushrooming of the town of Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja) as well as substantial deforestation and pollution of wetlands and lakes.There are five major ethnic groups in Ecuador: mestizo, white, Afroecuadorian, Amerindian, and Montubio.The most recent census (as of 2011) emphasized reaching rural and remote areas to map the most accurate population count in the country. Today's population is distributed more evenly between the "Sierra" and the "Costa" (the coastal lowlands) region.The 2010 census was conducted in November and December, and its results were published 27 January 2011. Alternate names: Jivaro, Xivaro, Jibaro, Chiwaro, Shuara. Migration towards the cities—particularly larger cities—in all regions has increased the urban population to about 55 percent.Mestizos constitute more than 70% of the population.Ecuador's population descends from Spanish immigrants and indigenous South American Indians, admixed with descendants of black slaves who arrived to work on coastal plantations in the sixteenth century.
Most blacks lived in Esmeraldas Province, with small enclaves found in the Carchi and Imbabura provinces.
In the 1980s, Indians and mestizos represented the bulk of the population, with each group accounting for roughly 40 percent of total population.
Whites represented 10 to 15 percent and blacks the remaining 5 percent.
The 19th century usage of mestizo was to denote a person whose parents were an Indian and a white; a cholo had one Indian and one mestizo parent.
By the 20th century, mestizo and cholo were frequently used interchangeably.Most white Ecuadorians are of colonial-era Spanish origin, also known as criollos (literally meaning "local-born Spaniards", as opposed to "Peninsulares", which were Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula in Spain.