SAO PAULO – The gap between Brazil’s rich and poor keeps increasing in a country with 14.8 million people living in extreme poverty.
Such is the case of Daiane a mother of three who lives on less than $85 a month in government assistance in north Sao Paulo’s Tribo community, known to locals as the “shantytown within the shantytown.”
This 31-year-old unemployed single mother lives with her kids in a 12-square-meter (129-square-foot) dirt-floor shack located a few steps away from an open sewer.
Some 14.8 million Brazilians lived on just 136 reais ($38) a month in 2017, according to a study by LCA Consultores published this year by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
Despite the fact that the Brazilian economy grew by one percent last year following two years of sharp reductions that plunged the country into its worst recession since the 1930s, the number of people in extreme poverty rose by 11.2 percent between 2016 and 2017 – a situation directly related to the increase in informal employment, LCA economist Cosmo Donato told EFE.
“Unemployment has dropped,” he said. “But there has been a sharp increase in informality. The recovery has not been consistent enough to consolidate the job market.”
Donato added that another important contributing factor has been the fiscal crisis afflicting Brazilian states, which has resulted in a decrease in funding for regional social programs.
But as Brazil’s extreme poverty grows, so do the fortunes of the country’s super-rich, rising 13 percent, or 549 billion reais ($1.5 billion), and adding 12 new members to the list of Brazilian multi-millionaires, according to a report by the NGO Oxfam.