Brazilian Social Issues


Brazil is a beautiful country; rich in cultures, colours, flavours, languages and customs. But, as with any country in the world, Brazil has its fair share of social issues, which its people and government no doubt work hard to resolve. These issues include:

• Poverty
The richest 10% of people in Brazil have access to over 40% of the country’s income. On the other hand, the poorest 10% receive about 1% of the income. This paints a grim picture for those with little or no financial stability, and visitors to the country will likely attest to the fact that the poverty is visible and tangible, even to onlookers. The stark contrast between the rich and the poor is made even clearer by the fact that these ones live alongside one another. The slums in the metropolitan, known as favelas, are common, while the remote areas upcountry are also clearly financially strained. There are several programmes and community initiatives in place to assist the hungry and the homeless, as well as to ensure that children from all areas of the communities have access to education because, although the education itself is free, there are many factors affecting whether or not children can actually access and attend these schools.

Favela the slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

• Crime
Although all major cities and countries in the world experience some form of crime, Brazil is particularly susceptible to this major social issue. The most common forms of crime in this country include mugging, robbing, kidnapping and gang violence. In addition to the crime within the community, there is also a problem within the law enforcement divisions, with corruption and violence being inflicted by the police themselves. This discourages the community to report incidents of violence, as they have little fear of or respect for the police. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice created the National Public Security Force to handle major emergencies and crises instead of the local police force.


• Lack of Education
Brazil children have access to free public education at all levels. Education at a Primary level is compulsory, and most of the Primary schools are maintained by the municipalities or the states that they occupy. This means that wealthier cities or states have better schools than their poorer counterparts, and the children suffer because of a lack of adequate amenities and resources. This, in turn, means that poorer children receive a lower level of education.

Many children do not attend school because of malnutrition, as this makes them unable to develop intellectually and to adjust to the social environment of a school. Child labour amongst poorer children is also an enormous problem, despite its being technically illegal to employ a child less than 16 years of age.

Poor families generally prefer for their children to start working as soon as possible, so that they may bring in an income. This has resulted in labourers as young as 10 years old, missing school in a desperate attempt to earn money.

The high examination failure rate is another factor that influences non-attendance at schools, despite their being free.

• Infant Mortality
The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of Brazil is another social issue that is crucial to address; which it has been in recent years. Infant mortality rates are directly proportional to sanitation, education and the financial income of the family. As these factors improve over time, so the IMR has been decreasing.

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