By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Data released yesterday (December 15th) by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) shows that more than fifty million Brazilians, nearly 25 percent of the population, live below the poverty line, and have family incomes of R$387.07 per month – approximately US$5.50 a day.
The study was part of the research Synthesis of Social Indicators 2017, and pointed to the poverty index in the Northeast of Brazil, where 43.5 percent of the population is in this situation. The lowest levels are found in the South region, at 12.3 percent.
According to the researchers, the data also revealed that Brazil is a deeply unequal country and that inequality occurs at all levels. For example regarding ethnicity and color, the research shows that among the people with the ten percent lowest income in the country, 78.5 percent are black or mixed race, while 20.8 percent are white.
In September this year a report by Oxfam International, The Distance That Unites Us, stated that in Brazil the six largest billionaires have the same wealth and equity as the 100 million poorest Brazilians.
If the pace of labor market inclusion continues as it has in the last twenty years, women will only have the same wages as men in the year 2047, and it is only in 2086 that there will be a match between the average income of blacks and whites.
According to Katia Maia, executive director of the organization, the objective is to disclose an annual report on inequality and show the different problems of the theme, such as the Brazilian taxation.
“We pay a lot of taxes. But it is not that our taxation is excessive, in fact it is unfair. We are below the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) [in terms of tax burden] average. But it is a taxation where those who pay the most are the middle class and the poorest people,” she told a government news agency.
The inequality perpetuates itself, in a report from March, about seventeen million children under the age of fourteen – equivalent to 40.2 percent of the Brazilian population in this age group – live in low-income households. Of this total, 5.8 million live in extreme poverty, characterized when per capita income is less than 25 percent of the minimum wage.
Brazil’s federal government announced that as of January 1, 2018 the minimum wage will increase to R$965.00 per month (approximately US$306).
Correction: The original version of the article has been changed to show it is fifty million Brazilians, or approximately 25 percent of the population. Also the minimum wage has been updated to the anticipated 2018 level.