Brazilians are still better off now than they were four years ago, despite a slowing economy, it has been revealed. A recent study released last week by the government’s Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE), showed that despite the economic drop Brazilian’s are still living a better quality of life.
The study follows an interview of 363,000 people and compiles economic and social inclusion stats from 2013 which (along with other factors) highlighted the highest increase in real wages since 2006 – an impressive 3.4%. This is symbolic as the commodity boom of 2006 saw a turning point for Brazil’s agricultural economy producing middle class agribusiness districts out of interior farm towns meaning farmers could now buy land rovers!
The survey also showed the rate of formal employment hitting a record high with child labour producing a record low. The data showed improvements in all indicators of education, a rallying cry for anti-government protests over the last year. Survey respondents also agreed that they had more access to goods and services, including internet access and other media.
The proportion of workers with formal jobs rose from 58.6% to 60.3%, and in 2013 more than half of workers had at least 11 years of schooling. Improvements to social security, public healthcare and improved worker rights has helped bring in more revenues to the government and reduced the tax burden on unregistered workers. Moreover, the number of working children aged 5 to 13 years old dropped 10.6%. Among children in this age group still working, 96.4% were attending school full-time in 2013.
“The data showed a significant improvement in the lives of all Brazilians, especially among the poorest. This is a reflection of the social policies of recent years,” said Minister of Social Development, Tereza Campello, during a press conference in Brasilia on Sept. 18.
IBGE’s survey comes during current president Dilma Rousseff’s re-election on October 5th where her economic policies will be challenged and she will be criticised for her abilities to manage the country as well as the corruption of the purchase of the Texas oil refinery by one of Petrobras’ former executives. (Petrobras, a state owned oil firm, is the most powerful company in Brazil. Its oil discoveries have led to job creation and impressive investments especially in some coastal state).
But all of this bodes well for Dilma. It is a reminder that life has improved under the Workers’ Party, even when the global economy was not cooperating. According to the latest Datafolha poll, Dilma leads by 37% followed by second place challenger Marina with 30%. Aécio Neves is no longer a contender and in a distant third with 17% of voter intentions.
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