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Extreme Poverty in Brazil Higher This January Than at Start of 2011

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The rate of extreme poverty in Brazil begins 2021 on a rise with the end of emergency aid in December. The country currently registers more people living in poverty than before the pandemic and compared to the beginning of the last decade, in 2011.

The country currently registers more people living in poverty than before the pandemic and compared to the beginning of the last decade, in 2011.
The country currently registers more people living in poverty than before the pandemic and compared to the beginning of the last decade, in 2011. (Photo internet reproduction)

In January, 12.8% of Brazilians began to live on less than R$246 per month (R$8.20 per day), the line of extreme poverty as measured by FGV Social based on data from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNADS) and Covid-19. In total, almost 27 million people are under this condition at the start of the year – more than the population of Australia. The rate at the start of this decade is higher than in the preceding one (12.4%) and in 2019 (11%).

This is a significant increase compared to the second half of 2020, when the emergency aid paid to some 55 million Brazilians pushed extreme poverty down to 4.5% (9.4 million people) in August – its lowest level since official records began.

The negative impact of the pandemic on the income of the poorest was expected to continue, considering the difficult rebound Brazil is facing (with virtually no room in the public budget for new rounds of emergency aid), the surge in deaths from Covid-19 and the delay in planning vaccination.

The payment of emergency aid cost some R$322 billion, the largest expense in the war budget against Covid-19. With this and other emergency measures, public debt hiked 15 points in 2020, to 89.3% of GDP and R$6.6 trillion – both records that led to a deterioration of refinancing.

But in addition to the current rise in poverty, the pandemic should lead to future income losses for the youngest, particularly the poor, who ultimately lost much of the school year in 2020.

Overall, youths, the unschooled, northeasterners, and blacks lost the most income from work in the pandemic. Nowadays, approximately 35% of young Brazilians neither work nor study – this rate stood at 25% by the end of 2014.

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