26 million Brazilians left poverty between 2004 and 2009
The inequality in income distribution in Brazil decreased 5.6% and the real average income increased 28% between 2004 and 2009. The new figures were released on 15 October by the renowned Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) in the report “Recent Changes in Brazilian Poverty”.
The report states that the percentage of people with a monthly income equal or greater than the per capita minimum wage – considered non-poor – increased from 29% to 42% . That means that the number of people in this range went from 51.3 million to 77.9 million during the period. In the period data was collected, minimum wage was R$465.
The tier of the population considered poor – families with per capita income between R$67 and R$134 at the time – decreased from 28 million to 18 million people during the period. The number of people living in the extremely poor quintile, with a per capita income of less that R$67, fell from 15 million to 9 million.
“Income growth and the reduction of inequality had very significant rates” says Rafael Guerreiro Osório, researcher at the Department of Social Studies and Policies of Ipea and former researcher at the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG). He adds that “the stratum with the largest growth is the non-poor one. It’s a difference of 26 million people”.
One of the conclusions highlighted by the researcher is that even though the Bolsa Familia programme is quite comprehensive, it doesn’t guarantee the upwards social mobility of its beneficiaries. “Although its coverage is quite comprehensive the amounts transferred to the extremely poor or poor families by the programme are very low. None of the families leaves these strata because of the transfers. In order for that to happen, it is crucial that they have another source of income, even if it’s from precarious work”, says Osório.
He also adds that a study from Ipea shows that by doubling the Bolsa Familia budget aimed at the people already on the programme “it would be possible to decrease extreme poverty in the country to very low levels”, and could also achieve the goal of eradicating poverty in Brazil. “In numbers, this corresponds to increasing the programme’s budget from R$12 billion to R$26 billion.”
“Less and less poverty is being determined by low-paid work, and increasingly being determined by being disconnected from work”, concludes the researcher. According to him, 29% of families that are extremely poor have no connection to the labour market.
Among the poor, this percentage is 10%, the same rate identified in the part of the population considered vulnerable. In the non-poor stratum, the rate drops to 6%. “This can be explained by the Social Security” explained Osório, when citing benefits such as retirement.
Translated from source: Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea)
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