Number of Brazilians Living in Poverty Rises 2 Million in a Year

(Bloomberg) -- Almost 55 million Brazilians were living in poverty in 2017, an increase of two million on 2016, according to data released on Wednesday by IBGE, the official statistics institute.

The number is equivalent to 26.5 percent of Brazil’s total population and marks a 4 percent rise in one year. The proportion of Brazilian children and adolescents aged from 0 to 14 living in poverty reached 43.4 percent in 2017. IBGE defines poverty as $5.5 per day or 406 reais per month in accordance with World Bank criteria.

While 2017 marked the first year of growth following eight quarters of recession -- Brazil’s worst on record -- unemployment reached a peak of 12.5 percent, climbing from 6.9 percent in 2014. Two out of every five workers were employed in the informal sector, mostly in housekeeping, farming or construction. Extreme poverty, defined as an income of $1.9 per day or 140 reais per month, also rose by 1.7 million between 2016 and 2017 to reach 15.2 million, or 7.4 percent of the total population.

The statistics also highlight Brazil’s stark racial divide. White workers earned, on average 72.5 percent more than their black or mixed-race counterparts. The difference was most marked between university graduates, with whites earning 31.9 reais while their black or mixed-race counterparts earned 22.3 reais.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.