The income distribution in Brazil is one of the most unequal in the world, and the country is characterized by deep social divisions. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of BRA and acronym for Brazil. The poorest regions are found in the north-eastern parts of the country, while the south-east, where the industry is concentrated, has a relatively higher standard of living. The migration from the countryside has given rise to slums, favelas, around the big cities that are grappling with major problems in the form of organized crime and violence.
During the country’s expansive industrialization period, the gaps in the country grew and until 2000 the Gini coefficient, which measures inequality in a country, increased every year. However, since the turn of the millennium, the trend has been reversed through political and economic reforms that have lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty. The inequality measured in Gini is at its lowest level since 1960 and more than half of the population is now considered middle class.
One of the most important measures to achieve this is the cash contribution Bolsa Família, which is distributed monthly to the country’s poorest families, as well as annual increases in the minimum wage, which also raises pensions. In 2011, President Dilma Rousseff launched the program “Brazil without misery” (Brazil sem misery) with the ambition to eliminate extreme poverty in the country. If the trend continues, Brazil will achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals on halved poverty between 1990 and 2015.
Brazil has a comprehensive social insurance system. Sickness, occupational injury and disability insurance exist, as well as old-age and widow’s pension, maternity allowance and family allowance as well as subsidized medicines. Health care has expanded greatly, but is of very varying quality. According to the constitution, all citizens are entitled to public care. The poorest groups, which have the greatest health problems, are referred to the overburdened state care while the upper and middle class goes to privately owned clinics and hospitals of high international standard.
There are over 1 million HIV-infected people, but the number of deaths has been halved through a program of free AIDS medicine. Brazil has fought with the United States over the right to circumvent drug patents in order to manufacture its own brake medicines.
In May 2015, several cases of zika fever were detected in Brazil. The outbreak probably started already at the end of 2014, and by the beginning of 2016, the disease had spread to the entire country with an estimated total of 500,000-1,500,000 cases of the sick. Since the disease usually produces mild, cold-like symptoms and cannot be confirmed without laboratory tests, individual cases have not been recorded. The link between zika fever and microcephaly in fetuses and newborns as well as Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults has also been reported from Brazil.
Like other Latin America, Brazil has a strong macho culture that values men higher than women. Women who work continue to have the main responsibility for the home. Divorce became legal only in 1977 and abortion is still prohibited, but widely practiced. Abortion is only allowed in case of rape or when the mother’s life is in danger. Sex offenders have recently been granted the right to emergency care in state hospitals and access to drugs that prevent unwanted pregnancies, which led to protests from the Catholic Church.
Preliminary figures for June showed that the clearing of rainforest in June had increased by 88.4% compared to the same month the year before. The preliminary figures indicated that 920 square miles of rainforest had been felled in June. Bolsonaro already declared during the 2018 election campaign that the timber, cattle and mining companies would have unrestricted access to the Amazon once he became president. However, the president is under pressure from the other side as well, since the concern for the rainforest and the reduction of CO 2 emissions have been entered into the new EU-Mercosur trade agreement of which Brazil is a member. France has previously declared that it will not sign the trade agreement if Brazil, like Bolsonaro, has threatened to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement.
Brazil’s largest – right-wing – magazine, Veja reported in July that Justice Sérgio Moro, as a judge in anti-corruption cases, had violated his powers. Instead of acting as an independent, he had worked closely with the prosecution to get members of the Labor Party PT convicted. It showed hundreds of thousands of leaked documents and messages. The revelations led to demands for the departure of the minister. The information was dug out by the Internet media Intercept, which the British journalist Glenn Greenwald had co-founded in 2014. It was he who helped cover Ed Snowden’s leak of the NSA’s global surveillance. The Brazilian authorities again responded to the charges against the minister by launching an investigation against Greenwald for “illegal financial transactions”. On July 7, Moro was sent on “leave”.