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In Booming Brazil, Census Shows Income Gap Persists

Brazil’s richest 10% earn in one month what the poorest 10% make in more than three years. To find out how much the richest 1% earn, multiply that figure by three, according to the South American giant’s latest census numbers.

Article illustrative image Partner logo Brazil's poorest 10% earns on average $76 per month

SAO PAOLO –  Brazil is a nation on the rise, with a fast-growing economy and preparations under way to host both the World Cup and Olympic Games. But its just published 2010 census also shows a country that still struggles with serious income disparity, with the country’s wealthiest 10% earn 39 times more than the poorest 10%.

According to the Brazilian daily Estadao, a worker on the bottom end of Brazil’s pay scale earns roughly $77.40 per month, meaning it would take him or her three years and three months to earn what an average person at the top end of the spectrum makes in just one month: $3,019.

Brazil’s Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) – the research organization responsible for the census – estimates that together, the poorest 10% of the population bring in just 1.1% of the country’s total earnings. The richest 10%, in contrast, take home 44.5% of the overall income pie. Last year’s census also revealed that Brazil’s richest 1% earn an average of $9,359.39 per month – or roughly $112,000 per year.

The statistics take into account 101.8 million Brazilians over the age of 10. The country’s overall average monthly salary is $678.90. Brazil’s official minimum wage in 2010 was $288 per month – less than $10 per day. Incomes tend to be higher in the south and southeast areas of the country. The coastal city of Florianápolis boasted the country’s highest average income: $888.5 per month.

For the first time, the 2010 census complied information about Brazilians living abroad. Researchers asked residents whether they have family members living in foreign countries and if so, where. The IBGE found that United States to be the most popular destination for Brazilian emigrants (23.8%), followed by Portugal (13.4%), Spain (9.4%) and Japan (7.4%).

Read the original article in Spanish

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America Economi­a is Latin America's leading business magazine, founded in 1986 by Elias Selman and Nils Strandberg. Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, it features a region-wide monthly edition and regularly updated articles online, as well as country-specific editions in Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.

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