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Brazilians Are Marrying More and at Older Age

Brazilian wedding The number of weddings grew 35% in the last decade, even if Brazilians are choosing to get married later in life. A study released this Wednesday, November 25, by IBGE, Brazil's official statistics bureau, shows that a growing number of women is getting married between 25 and 29.

In 1998, only 19.4% of all the brides where in that range of age. In 2008, they were 28.4 of the total. On the other hand, the percentage of brides between  15 and 24 is falling. Still, 16.3% of the girls getting married are 15 to 19 and 29.7% are 20 to 24.

Men are also getting married at older ages. Most of them (32% are between 25 and 29).

It is very easy to understand this tendency and its consequences when you review how two other indicators evolved:

* Education – Brazilian kids are studying more. In 2007, only 17.7% of the teenagers between 15 and 17 were not studying. Compare this to the 40.3% dropout index registered in 1992. Illiteracy is still there (10% of women, 10.2% of men) but it is shrinking.

* Birth rate – Brazilians have less babies. In 1940, women would have 6.16 babies in average. In 2000, only 2.38. It's barely enough to maintain our  population of 192 million souls. And the birth rate continues to fall. Even in the countryside the fertility rate is pretty low – 3.5%.

The equation is very easy to guess: + education = later marriages = less kids.

I wonder what other consequences this could have. More weddings probably mean less informal unions and a fairer division of assets after a separation. Also, when people get married later and postpone procreation, they can accumulate more and this might lead to wealthier families .

No matter what, these are great news that I will celebrate kissing  my husband – whom I married very, very late in life.

Brazilian Graffiti

Brazil has a long love affair with graffiti, from the omnipresent pichações – that frequently depict the name of the gang that claims that territory – to acclaimed art.

It all began in the 1970's, as a reaction to the censorship imposed by the military dictatorship. Even today, it frequently makes political statements. One pichação in São Paulo crosses the round logo of the powerful Rede Globo, the main media complex in the country. And shouts: "I hate the lack of culture on TV!"

Alex Vallauri, the Ethiopian-born artist who died in 1987, was probably Brazilian's equivalent of Keith Haring, who gave graffiti Art status in the US. Not many of Vallauri's graffiti survived, but his universe – inhabited by kitsch images, sexy women and high-heeled boots – inspired the new generations of street artists.

These days, the raising stars in the Brazilian graffiti  scene are Os Gêmeos (Otávio e Gustavo Pandolfo), two identical twins from São Paulo. They helped redefine the national style and are spreading their brand around the world.

"The New York Times" describe their work as a rococo, fantastic and epic. Last year they created a mural in the front of the Tate Modern museum, in London, together with another Brazilian grafiteiro, Nunca, and a few artists from other countries.

If you want to learn more about Brazilian graffiti, visit this really cool selection on Flick – http://www.flickr.com/photos/chelseafb/sets/72157612989081097/. You can also find some interest content in this book Graffiti Brasil (Street Graphics / Street Art).

Brazilian born, French citizen, married to an American, Regina Scharf is the ultimate globetrotter. She graduated in Biology and Journalism from USP (Universidade de São Paulo) and has worked for Folha de S. Paulo, Gazeta Mercantil and Veja magazine as well as Radio France Internationale. Since 2004 she has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the US. She authored or co-authored several books in Portuguese on environmental issues and was honored by the 2002 Reuters-IUCN Press award for Latin America and by the 2004 Prêmio Ethos. You can read more by her at Deep Brazil – www.deepbrazil.com.

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