Brazil Program to eradicate extreme poverty to benefit 16.2 million citizens
Brazil’s Minister of Social Development Tereza Campello yesterday announced a new definition of the line of extreme poverty in Brazil to be those citizens with a monthly income of R$ 70 (US$45) or less. These guidelines are based on the recently-released 2010 census data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), as well as studies by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA). According to these guidelines, this group currently encompasses 16.2 million Brazilian citizens. This assessment is a critical step in the final run-up to the launch of a new poverty eradication initiative – the “Brazil without Poverty” program – that will be spearheaded by President Dilma Rousseff under the administration’s drive to promote continued progress toward socially-equitable growth in Brazil and eradicate extreme poverty by 2014.
"Brazilians living in extreme poverty are the top priority of President Rousseff’s administration,” said Minister Campello. “’Brazil without Poverty’ is a bold program that does not involve one single action, but a number of initiatives across various sectors to ensure that a range of services reach these communities,” she added, citing a Ministry of Health program to distribute hypertension and diabetes medications. "We want this population to be especially taken care of, and the State will make every effort to reach the individuals and families," she said.
The soon–to-be-launched “Brazil without Poverty” program will provide support services including income transfer, access to public services and productive inclusion initiatives, and is expected to benefit 8.6 percent of the population, or roughly 7 percent of households in Brazil. In order to ensure that the government continues to reach those citizens most in need, Minister Campello noted that the program will include an adjustment rate to account for expected changes to the extreme poverty line figure over time.
The new criteria announced today reflect a number of national and international metrics, including: the United Nations Millennium Development Goals indicator that defines the line of extreme poverty as those earning less than $ 1.25 a day; the minimum income needed for food consumption; and the extreme poverty line figure used for Brazil’s Bolsa Familia Program (Family Grant Program), which is the conditional cash transfer program launched by the Ministry of Social Development in 2004. Certain criteria such as the infrastructure of households, education level and age of residents were also taken into account. Other key findings of the data announced today include:
• Rural Populations are Priority #1
IBGE data reveals that 46.7 percent of the Brazilians living in extreme poverty are located in rural areas—the majority of which are already receiving benefits from the Bolsa Familia (Family Grant) Program. This means that, among Brazilians living in rural areas, one out of four lives in extreme poverty. The highest rates of population living in extreme poverty are observed in the northeastern and northern regions of the country – at 18.1 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively. Nearly 75 percent of Brazilians living in extreme poverty live in one of these two regions.
• Addressing Childhood Poverty & Illiteracy is Essential to Long-Term Change
In rural areas, 30.3 percent of Brazilians age 15 years or older and earning up to US$ 45 per month are illiterate. In urban areas, illiteracy affects 22 percent of this population.
"The data demonstrates a need for social policies aimed at the younger population," said IBGE President Eduardo Pereira Nunes, noting that half of the poorest Brazilians are younger than 19 years old, and that four out of 10 people living in extreme poverty in Brazil are children under 14 years old. Minister of Social Development Tereza Campello added that as part of federal initiatives designed to reach this demographic, the Brazilian government last month issued an increase in the cash transfer amount included in the ‘Bolsa Família’ program specific to families with children and teenagers.
• Women & Minority Populations
Of the Brazilian population living in extreme poverty, 50.5 percent are women and 70.8 percent reported they were afro-descent or mulatto. Within the indigenous population, 39.9 percent are living in extreme poverty.
According to IPEA President Márcio Pochmann, the Brazilian government used innovative methodologies to determine this line of extreme poverty.
IBGE President Pereira Nunes noted that the “Brazil without Poverty” program will be Brazil’s first public policy to be based on data from the 2010 census. The annual National Household Survey (PNAD) will be used to monitor the progress and results, he added.
The Secretariat for Social Communication (SECOM) of the Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil is responsible for coordinating the public relations activities for the government of Brazil.
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