By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The number of Brazilians living below the poverty line in the country increased by over two million people from 2016 and 2017, according to a new report by Brazil’s IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Statistics). Most of the increase was seen in the class of those considered in extreme poverty.

Brazil,Poverty increases in Brazil by two million people from 2016 to 2017 according to the IBGE,
Poverty increases in Brazil by two million people from 2016 to 2017 according to the IBGE, photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil.

“This means that the proportion of the population living in poverty rose from 25.7 percent to 26.5 percent. In absolute terms, this number ranged from 52.8 to 54.8 million people during the period,” stated the report.

“People with incomes less than R$140/month (US$1.90 per day) represented 6.6 percent of the country’s population in 2016, against 7.4 percent in 2017,” concluded the IBGE report. 

In numbers this means 15.2 million people in Brazil are living in extreme poverty, up from the 13.5 million registered in 2016. According to the Institute, the growth of extreme poverty rose throughout the country, with the exception of the North Region where it was stable.

The report shows that the Northeast concentrated the highest percentage (44.8 percent) of those in poverty are found in the Northeastern part of the country or 25.5 million people.

The highest proportion of poor found in the state of Maranhão, where more than half of the population (54.1 percent) live in squalid conditions.

To eradicate poverty in the country, the study pointed out that it would be necessary to invest over R$10.2 billion per month in the economy, or guarantee an extra R$187.00 per month for those currently below the poverty line. 

According to Leonardo Athias, analyst at the IBGE’s Social Indicators Synthesis, in addition to public policies, improving Brazil’s labor market conditions is one of the ways that can contribute to poverty reduction:

“The increase of opportunities, reduction and formalization (of labor) have obviously a series of effects that allow people to get out of this situation,” said the analyst in the report.

The outlook, however, is not promising. The unemployment rate in Brazil rose from 6.9 percent to 12.5 percent between 2014 and 2017, which means 6.2 million more people were unemployed in the period, according to the latest data from the IBGE.



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