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Survey Results: Brazil Stays Strong in the face of the Crisis

Ihssane Loudiyi's picture

(Thanks and Credits for this information go to the Brazilian Secretariat of Social Communication - SECOM)

Brazil is one of the world's fastest growing economies. An annual socioeconomic survey of over 150,000 households conducted by the Brazilian Government showed notable advances in housing, employment, education, access to services and a drop in income concentration among Brazilians for the year 2008 compared to the year 2007. The findings of this report, released on September 18, 2009, indicate that, thanks to major government investments in infrastructure, education, and local development, Brazil’s citizens have prospered alongside the booming economy.

According to the National Survey by Household Sampling (PNAD), conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), Brazil saw an increase in the home ownership rate, formal jobs and income for workers, and home access to sewerage, telephone and Internet systems.

In 2008, the number of employed workers in Brazil was 2.8% higher than that of 2007, and totaled 92.4 million people.  This increase came largely from the construction sector, with growth of 14.1% that generated 900,000 new jobs across the country.  34.5% of employed Brazilians in 2008 were under formal contract employment, receiving all rights and benefits granted by law. This is an increase of 2.1 million people, from a 33.1% rate in 2007.  This increase resulted in a 5.9% increase in the number of Social Security taxpayers in 2008 as compared to 2007.

The education level of workers also improved in 2008 over 2007. The number of  employed persons with 11 or more years of study rose from 39% in 2007 to 41.2% in 2008. Reflecting the movement in the labor market, the income of workers increased by 1.7% over the same time period. The monthly average income of households was R$ 1,968, a gain of 2.8% when compared to 2007 figures, when the average was R$ 1,915.

Highlights from the Survey

Some additonal highlights from the survey results include:

  • Unemployment: Brazil’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.1% in 2007 to 7.1% in 2008.
  • Home Ownership: In 2008, Brazil had 57.6 million permanently owned homes, 1.8 million more than in 2007. The home ownership rate grew from 74% in 2007 to 74.4% in 2008; and paid-off homes increased from 69.9% to 70.1% in the same time period.
  • Electric Energy: Power supply now reaches 98.6% of households in Brazil, a total of 56.7 million households, compared to 54.8 million households in 2007.
  • Telephone: An additional four million households had a telephone line in 2008 compared to 2007, a 5.3% growth.
  • Internet: Households with Internet access rose from 20% of the total sample surveyed in 2007 to 23.8% of the total sample surveyed in 2008. Households with microcomputers accounted for 31.2% in 2008, up from 26.5% in 2007.
  • School Attendance: School attendance of children ages 6-14 years increased from 97% in 2007 to 97.5% in 2008.


About the Survey

The National Survey by Household Sampling 2008 researched 391,868 people in 150,591 households across the country, and covered seven topics: general population data, migration, education, work, family, households and income. PNAD is held annually and portrays the socioeconomic situation in Brazil. The complete survey is available at the website

The results of the survey are presented by IBGE relative to the general characteristics of the population, migration, education, labor, families, households and income. The publication is divided into two parts: the first one presents the indicators for 2007 and 2008 and the income series from 2004 to 2008, with the complete geographic coverage of all the Federative Units, Major Regions and Brazil; the second part presents retrospective series of income indicators from 1998 to 2008, in order to reach comparability with results from previous years. It is worth mentioning that the information relative to the period 2004 – 2008 represents the geographic coverage of the survey until 2003, that is, without including the rural areas of Rondônia, Acre , Amazonas, Roraima, Pará and Amapá.

The survey also includes analytical commentaries about population composition and mobility, education, the labor market situation, child labor, social security coverage, union membership, status of incomes, housing conditions and possession of durable goods.  This group of data represents a valuable instrument to the evaluation of the socio economic and demographic reality in the country.

For more information about the Survey, please visit the following link.


Submitted by Sharon N on
Ihssane, I have to admit, it is nice to read a positive post. As a teacher of English as a Second Language, I have had several students from Brazil in their 20s and 30s who seemed to be jaded about the lack of emphasis on education in Brazil. However, from your post, it seems that the interest in education has increased substantially! I wonder if one of the pivotal factors that led to this change is a decrease in family size; if parents have only 2 or 3 children to send to school, are they more likely to do so? From speaking to my students, it seems that family planning education is stressed, and contraceptives are more widely-used than they were, even 10 or 15 years ago. What I was wondering about were two major things: 1) Has a decrease in the average family size actually contributed to an increase of students between 6 and 14 years old? 2) As home ownership has increased, are the homeowners buying the property as a lump sum, or are they taking out mortages? If they are taking out mortgages, are the mortgages through banks, the government, or even through international lending agencies? Also, is home ownership exclusively for Brazilian citizens, or are some of the homeowners nationals of other countries (which then increases the total percentage of homeowners in Brazil)? It is enlightening to read a very positive story about development, but the factors that lead to such development must also be addressed. Thanks.

Dear Sharon, I have contacted the organization that shared this information with us in order to possibly provide you with some direct answers. In the meanwhile, I think our new blog entry might be of interest for you as it addresses some steps the Brazilian government has undertaken to increase literacy rates: With Regards Ihssane

Submitted by smatthews on
Does this report signal a resounding call for the benefits of foreign direct investment? It seems as though one of the reasons that Brazil has been able to weather the storm as of late is because of increasing FDI. Even in the midst of the throes of the crisis, Brazil registered its highest amount of FDI to date (see At the same time, its apparent that the inflows of foreign investment have largely corresponded with the increase in a variety of development indicators; from life expectancy to educational attainment level. These high levels of FDI and their beneficial effects do not appear to be on the decline either as the Brazilians have diversified the sources of their investment; while the US has declined somewhat investment has increased from China and India.

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