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Brazil, with a population of 194,946,470 and a GDP per capita of $10,800 (adjusted by purchasing power parity) is a country of contrasts. It’s flourishing culture, middle income status and leadership in the Americas is coupled with entrenched poverty, persistent inequality and strains on its natural environment. It is ranked 84rd in the Human Development Index, and has a GDP per capita of $8500 (adjusted by purchasing power parity). A confluence of events, including the election of a President with a strong social welfare agenda, created the opportunity to reinvigorate poverty alleviation efforts. In Brazil, economic and social status tends to vary by geography, race and gender, a legacy of the country's history. Imposed and de facto colonial and post-colonial divisions among indigenous peoples and descendants of Portuguese settlers, African slaves and European, Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants created persistent structures of exclusion and inequality.

Today, Brazil faces extreme income distribution: at the end of the 1990s, the richest 1% and the poorest 50% of the population each commanded 10% of national income; 3% of Brazilians hold approximately 66% of the country's arable land. In fact, its Gini coefficient was 53.9 in 2009.  This is a huge improvement from past years, but still shows vast inequalities. There is also an urgent need to clarify property rights — in agricultural lands, the Amazon, indigenous peoples' areas as well as in the favelas — and to extend water and sanitation, primary education and other social services, especially to rural areas in the north. Closely related to these issues are environmental concerns. The rain forests are being cleared, legally and illegally, for timber and agricultural land, further threatening the diversity and welfare of indigenous peoples, natural flora and the Amazon basin.

Faces Voices and Places: Brazil



Communities in Brazil

 Fortaleza, Ceará

Garulhos, Sao Paulo

Other Communities in Brazil



Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:18