Brazil Society

By | March 22, 2021

Brazil Society

Brazil Society

Alphabetized adults: 93.4% (2019, IBGE)

Major religions: Catholic 54%, Evangelical 24%, Other 22%

Urban population: 86.8% (2019, IBGE)

Life expectancy (female / male): 79.9 / 72.8 years (2019, IBGE)

Gender Inequality Index (GII): Rank 89 (2018)

Number of births: 1.77 children / woman (2019, IBGE)

Population growth rate: 0.71% (2018, IBGE)

Ethnic groups: discrimination against black and indigenous peoples

Jean Baptiste Debret

Jean Baptiste Debret

Various groups are particularly disadvantaged in Brazil, a country located in South America according to commit4fitness. The blacks and indigenous peoples in particular are among the most socially disadvantaged. Regions with particular problems with regard to sustainable development are the northeast and the Amazon region.

The disadvantage of blacks has deep roots in Brazilian history. Today, however, it hardly shows up in an open form of segregation or discrimination. The mixing between black and white is so strong today that it is hardly possible to clearly assign people by skin color. According to official statistics, which are based on citizens’ self-assessment of their own skin color, the proportion of mestizos is constantly increasing. The black legacy is viewed as an eyesore and denied in many families. The blacks and the dark skinned are found mainly in the lower class of Brazilian society. Their income is lower, their level of education is lower, and their chances of advancement are worse. The discrimination on the basis of skin color and disadvantage on the basis of belonging to the lower class are often difficult to separate in everyday life. Nevertheless, the political and cultural movement of blacks to demand more equal opportunities is rather weak. A conscious state policy of the Lula government tried to curb this discrimination through the higher education reform of 2006: through quota regulationat the federal universities (Universidades Federais) for Afro-Brazilians, Indians and for students who have attended a state school. In addition, the “Secretaria de Estado Especial para Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial” (State Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality Politics) was founded.

Other groups in Brazil also suffer from prejudice or disadvantage. This also includes the indigenous population, who are often brutally displaced by settlers, loggers or gold prospectors at the new settlement borders in the interior. The idea that Brazil emerged from a mixture of native American Indians and Portuguese settlers has always played an important role in Brazilian culture. In literature and art there is still a tendency towards romantic transfiguration of the Indians. In practice, however, the livelihoods of the former indigenous population were gradually destroyed, so that only a fraction has survived to this day.

The demarcation of protected Indian areas is an important step on the way to protecting the special livelihoods of the scattered Indian tribes. However, it often encounters resistance from large landowners, the timber industry or mining companies, who put the government and the Indian authority FUNAI (Fundação Nacional do índio) under pressure. The approximately 896,900 Indians (in 1500 they were about 5 million) naturally have no numerical weight in the country with over 100 million voters, even under democratic conditions. But since the symbolic value of the preservation of these cultures is large, the national and international public plays a central role for threatened peoples such as the Xukuru in the state of Pernambuco. Today around 900,000 indigenous peoples live in Brazil in around 240 ethnic groups and various initiatives from science, civil society and the church are involved in solidarity with these threatened peoples. One of the most important institutions is the Indian Mission Council CIMI, which is subordinate to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Health and welfare

State and private health care

An important area for assessing the social situation in Brazil is the health and pension system. Although employers and employees collectively pay around 20% of wages and salaries to the state welfare fund, pension and health care are in a financial crisis. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that public health care was available been extended to the whole population. Previously, the employees were insured through individual professional insurances, the medical care of which was strongly dependent on income. Those who were not involved in the formal labor market remained dependent on charitable health organizations. With the reorganization, in principle, the entire population had access to health care regardless of employment and insurance status.

Since the 1980’s, the quality of the state health system has dropped dramatically. Many public hospitals no longer have the materials necessary to care for patients. Some even had to close due to a lack of funds. Declining investments are responsible for these abuses, but also mismanagement and corruption. Scandals were exposed in many hospitals because services that were not performed were billed on a large scale. A comprehensive decentralization program is slowly filling these dark holes in the health system.

In practice, the public health system is increasingly only responsible for the poorest of the poor. The middle and upper classes are turning to private health insurances, which have expanded their market share significantly in recent years. Many companies also take out insurance packages with private insurance for their employees.

For the protection of employees: The German-Brazilian social security agreement came into force on May 1, 2013.