Brazil’s Rich-Poor Gap Shrinks and So Does Everyone’s Income

The latest numbers from the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) show that in 10 years, between 1995 and 2005, Brazilian workers had their earnings cut by 12.7% (even though they had a 4.6% increase in income when compared to 2004), while the country’s unemployment rate jumped 52.5%.

In 2005, Brazilian men had a monthly average income of 909.10 reais (US$ 421), while women made in average 718.80 (US$ 333). Also in 2005, 56.4% of workers were men while 43.6% were women. In ten years the participation of women in the job market grew by 3.2%.

The IBGE’s report also points out that despite the higher unemployment more Brazilians are being hired on the books, which gives them bigger social benefits like social security and the right to unemployment benefits. The number of those formally hired went from 43.2% in 1995 to 47.2% ten years later.

In 1995, most of the jobless had between five and eight years of study. Ten years later people who have finished high school are the ones with the hardest time to get a job.

Another reason for encouragement is the narrowing of the gap between the top rich and the bottom poor. While in 1995 the difference in income between the top 10% and the bottom 40% was 21.2 times this number had fallen to 15.8 times by 2005.

The South was the region where the biggest reduction in inequality occurred. In the state of Piauí­, in the Northeast, however, the gap between rich and poor grew by 8.5%.
The news on youth unemployment isn’t good though. The IBGE study reveals that the number of jobless youngsters in the 18 to 24 age bracket has zoomed 68%.

In the ten-year period, the number of children aged 10 to 14 who are working fell from 20.4% to 11.5% and from 50.9% to 41.3% among youngsters between 15 and 17.

On the other hand, those 10- to 14-year-old kids are now 97% of them on school, while only 89.8 % were going to school ten years ago. For those between 15 and 17 82% now are studying in comparison to 66.6% ten years ago.

On the other end of the age spectrum the number of older people working has been shrinking. Only 34.4% of man aged 65 or older have a job now while this percentage was 40.5% in 1995.


  • Show Comments (3)

  • Donald Reid

    Att: Darlene
    Darlene, IÀ‚´ve lived here for 28 years and it’s true that there has been many improvements … and there still is room for more. I am retired and operate a tour agency in Natal, the northeast … and am president of an NGO/ONG working with local communities in the interior. I, too, have a project for a small eco-lodge (guest ranch) in the sertÀƒ£o region of Acari, Rio Grande do Norte.

    The government now is offering special incentives and development loans in the area of tourism … our project would provide some 25 jobs. Acari community has an 80% unemployment rate.


  • ch.c.

    To Donald !
    Not so sure. The GINI index is far worse than what is mentionned in the article.
    And Brazil remains almost to the bottom of the rankings for the wealth inequality !

    Concerning the development loans, good for you, but at what rate ?

    Some of my friends are developing a beach resort in Vietnam.
    The government loan is 65 % of the project costs and the interest rate is…..1 % !

    You read well….ONE PER CENT !!l

    It happens thus that Vietnam tourism is BOOMING but only growing slowly in Brazil !

    Sadly too the Brazilian price/quality/service is also not so competitive when compared to your competitors, wether it is compared to your neighbours in LATAM or worldwide in the developing nations.

    Finally, please remember that the Brazilian tourism account is in deficit, meaning that Brazilians spend more abroad than foreigners spend in Brazil.

    That also means that even Brazilians themselves agree with my statements and realize that doing tourism abroad is better than locally !

  • Darlene Aitken

    I have been to Brazil about six times since 1989 and each time could see the improvement in just about everything. Was particularly pleased with seeing the children in the rural areas going to school in their canoes. One day I hope to own a small eco-lodge there just to employ a few more Brazilians and make their life a little better. I love Brazil. Darlene

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