The number of black homicide victims in Brazil grew by 29.8 percent between 2002 and 2010, to nearly 35,000, while murders of whites declined 25.5 percent to just over 14,000, the Presidential Bureau to Promote Racial Equality said Thursday.

The report, "Map of Violence 2012: The Color of Murder in Brazil," shows blacks are significantly more likely to be murdered in a nation where more than half the population claims African ancestors.

The authors of the study say the median annual number of murders in Brazil, roughly 30,000, is alarmingly high in light of the absence of ethnic or political strife in the South American nation.

"It is a volume of violent deaths much superior to that of many regions of the world that suffer armed conflicts, but what is most disturbing is the growing tendency of selective mortality," the study says.

"There is a unacceptable and growing association between homicides and the skin color of the victims," the authors add.

While the murder rate among white Brazilians is 15.5 per 100,000 residents, the comparable figure for people of African descent is 36. And for Afro-Brazilians between the ages of 12 and 21, the homicide rate is 72 per 100,000.

The ratio of black murder victims to whites in Brazil is 2.3 to 1. EFE