Brazilian population is growing slower. According to the latest Census, just published by IBGE, the federal statistics bureau, during the past decade, it grew at an annual rate of 1.17% – it was 1.64% in the previous nineties and 2.99% in the sixties. The country has today a little over 190 million people, an increase of 21 million since the beginning of the millennium. The reason is predictable: families are getting smaller and, in several states, the birth rate is inferior to the mortality rate. This is particularly clear in the Southern and Southeastern states. While the South’s population grew, as a whole, 0.87% per year, in the North it grew 2.09%. The rural population only grew in two regions – North and Center-West. Today, 84.4% of the population lives in cities (81,2% in 2000). Continue reading Brazil gets more urban, feminine and old→
When I travel I like to do a bit of reading before I leave to give me a little better insight into the country or countries I will be visiting. Not so much history texts or political primers, but rather rich novels written by native authors, since translated into English. Or maybe a sweeping historical novel that lays out a chunk of the country’s history in an interesting and provocative manner.
When it comes to Brazil I have been all over the map. I’ve read novels, histories, biographies and social anthropological texts. The country is so vast and diverse. It’s history is brief, but rich with fantastic tales of discovery, anguish, struggle and triumphs. The culture is an amazing amalgamation of immigrants, natives, slaves, gay, straight, rich and very poor. Brazil is a land of survivors, by hook or by crook.
What follows is a list of books worth considering, if you are looking to understand more about Brazil, it’s history, politics, people and culture. It is not an exhaustive list, of course, but it should serve to get you started. Suggestions for additional reading and why are welcome in the comments section – what would you recommend?
In no particular order:
Anything written by Brazil’s native son Jorge Amado. His novels, set in Bahia, are rich in texture, are written in a fun and lush voice and they always have a sexy hue. Consider: “Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon”, “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands”, “The War of the Saints”, or “Tent of Miracles”. There are others.Continue reading Getting to know Brazil – a reading tour→
People don’t live in countries or states – they live in cities. Ultimately, it’s the local government, infrastructure and cultural services that define one’s quality of life. And quality of life in Brazilian cities is changing quickly, according to a study just released by IBGE (the main national statistics bureau). For the first time in ten years, IBGE raised information from 5,565 local governments to draw the profile the country’s municipalities.
Overall, they seem to be offering more sports and cultural opportunities, but they still have to improve their policies concerning the environment, minorities and human rights.
The report’s main conclusions:
Bookstores can be found in only 28% of Brazilian cities (it was 35.5% in 1999). Apparently, book sales remain similar, because readers prefer to acquire them through the internet or in supermarkets. Also, the number of video rental stores is getting smaller, after many years of growth. Today, they can be found in almost 70% of Brazilian cities, but they are losing their costumers to cable TV and the internet.
Neither Giselle, nor destitute homeless. A new portrait of Brazilian women emerges from a series of studies released in the last few days. She studies and works hard, both at home and professionally, earns less than her male counterparts and has an increasing importance in the country’s economy.
Study more – 56.8% of 15 to 17-year-old girls were in school in 2008 (at the grades expected for their age), while only 44.4% of boys were studying. A similar proportion can be observed among young adults, according to Ipea : 15.7% of women and 11.8% men between 18 e 24 were in college two years ago.
Do most of the housework – Really, no surprise here. According to Ipea, women dedicate, in average, 23.9 weekly hours to cooking and cleaning their own houses, while men spend 9.7 hours on those chores.
A high percentage hasbad jobs – In 2008, 42.1% of working women are paid either low or no salaries, or have informal jobs (no vacations, no job stability, no paid retirement). In contrast, only 26.2% of men work under those conditions. In fact, these numbers hide some good news. Things are getting a little better. In 1998, 48.3% of women and 31.2% of men had jobs this insecure. Continue reading Brazilian women status today→
The Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology released today a study that outlines how the country and the planet will (probably) evolve in the next 20 years. Produced by the Centro de Gestão e Estudos Estratégicos, the document offers a time line based on several sources. It is meant to help government plan its future strategies.
Part of its content is easily predictable, considering recent tendencies. But there are some surprises.
Among its main forecasts:
In four years, Brazil will go back to its tradition of successive commercial balance deficits
Brazilian Gross Domestic Product will be 925 billion dollars in 2015 (which means, less than our present GDP, around 1.6 trillion dollars. It is not very clear how Goldman Sachs, the original source of this information, came up with this number)
Brazil, the brand, will increase its value. The demand for products associated to the country’s cultural diversity will grow