BRAZILIAN MIDDLE CLASS REACHES 52% OF TOTAL POPULATION
New government study indicates a widening, increasingly diverse middle class in Brazil
BRASÍLIA (November 13, 2012) – Brazil’s growing middle class is as diverse as Brazil itself, currently accounting for 52 percent of the total population of the country, with per capita income ranging from R$ 291.00 to R$ 1,019.00 per month. These are among the top findings of the second issue of the “Voices of the Middle Class” series released yesterday by the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil (SAE/PR).
Speaking at the release of the second issue, the head of the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs, Minister Wellington Moreira Franco, said that the increased participation of the middle class in the economy is a key factor of Brazil’s growth and development.
"It’s essential to have an environment that promotes the participation of the middle class in economic growth. For this to occur, we need productive, well-paid and low turnover jobs. We must also ensure equality in opportunities, openness to dialogue and appropriate conditions for health and safety," said the Minister.
Minister Franco also highlighted the importance of having robust statistical data to develop public policies that enable the middle class to continue rising, saying: "We need to know exactly who the object of our public policies is. To meet expectations in a positive way that makes a tangible impact we need adequate policies for this segment of the Brazilian population, not on policies based on something ideological.”
Diversity: The New Faces of the Brazilian Middle Class
The new issue of “Voices of the Middle Class” highlights inequality, heterogeneity and diversity in the middle class. This is done through a detailed analysis of the population that composes this class within groups, such as race, educational level of the household leader, situation of the working age population, employed population, and sector of activities. The data shows that several new faces of the Brazilian middle class have emerged.
One of the most significant findings within the study is that Brazil has a favorable distribution of income levels compared to global standards, with over half (52 percent) of Brazilian families belonging to the middle class (defined as those with a monthly per capita income from R$ 291.00 up to R$ 1,019.00), while 28 percent are in the lower class (defined as families with a per capita income below R$ 291.00 per month), and 20 percent in the upper class. If the same cut-off points per class (R$ 291.00 to R$ 1,019.00) are applied to households worldwide, only 18 percent of the population is in the upper class, while 54 percent is in the lower class.
The study also indicates that Brazil’s middle class is widening rapidly. Of the population that currently comprises the Brazilian middle class, 35 percent, or 36 million people have entered the segment in the past 10 years, increasing the share of Brazil’s middle class from 38 percent in 2002 to 52 percent of the total population in 2012. Among these 36 million new entrants, 75 percent have declared themselves as Black and 25 percent have declared themselves of another race.
This massive inflow of citizens of Afro-descent has increased the group’s total share of the Brazilian middle class from 38 percent in 2002 to 51 percent in 2012.
Regional Growth: Middle Class Expansion in Northeast Brazil
The study conducted by the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs also details the growth of the Brazilian middle class over these 10 years by region and state. One of the results indicates that the Southeast region had the largest number of entrees among regions in the past 10 years, accounting for 36 percent of entrants, followed by the Northeast with 34 percent. However, this does not mean that the segment’s growth was more significant in these regions. Much of the weight among entrants is due simply to the fact that these regions are home to the largest demographic concentration in Brazil.
The largest regional expansion of the middle class occurred in Northeast Brazil, where the middle class jumped from 22 percent in 2002 to 42 percent in 2012 - a difference of 20 percentage points. The middle class in Brazil’s Southeast region grew by 11 percentage points over the same period (from 46 percent in 2002 to 57 percent in 2012).
The following regions according to expansion size in the middle class from 2002 to 2012 were North (which experienced an expansion in the middle class from 31 percent to 48 percent), and Central-West (where the social segment grew from 40 percent to 57 percent). Both of the regions presented a net increase of 17 percentage points. The lowest growth was recorded in the South (from 49 percent to 58 percent, 9 percentage points).
The study also points out that the number of middle class employees has increased across most economic activities, but decreased in sectors such as public administration, education, health and social services. The decline in these sectors appears to be a result of the growing share of high income employees in these sectors. For instance, there was an increase in upper class employees in public administration of 13 percentage points (from 33 percent in 2002 to 46 percent in 2012), and in the sectors of education, health and social services (from 35 percent in 2002 to 48 percent in 2012).
The Secretariat for Social Communication (SECOM) of the Presidency of Brazil is responsible for coordinating the public relations activities for the government of Brazil. For more information on the Federative Republic of Brazil, please visit www.brasil.gov.br. The official social media accounts for the Brazilian State are on Facebook and Twitter and can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/BrazilGovNews/ and twitter.com/BrazilGovNews.
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