Brazil Demographics

What is the population of Brazil?

Population 211,715,973
Population Growth Rate 0.83%
Urban Population 84.6%
Population in Major Urban Areas Sao Paulo 19.924 million; Rio de Janeiro 11.96 million; Belo Horizonte 5.487 million; Porto Alegre 3.933 million; Recife 3.733 million; BRASILIA (capital) 3.813 million
Nationality Noun Brazilian(s)
Nationality Adjective Brazilian
Ethnic Groups white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7%
Languages Spoken Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language)

note: less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages
Language Note Portuguese is Brazil's official language. English, German, and French are popular second languages. Although Spanish is also understood by Portuguese speakers, some Brazilians may be offended when deliberately spoken in Spanish.

Brazil Health Information

What are the health conditions in Brazil?

Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 15-49 80.3%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 6.51
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 85.3%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 2.5%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 99.7%
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 8.9%
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 2.3
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 16.34
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 23.16
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 19.83
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 56
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 18.8%
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 1.76
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 18.7%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 87%
Sanitation Facitlity Access - percent of rural population improved 49.2%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 1.81
Underweight - percent of children under five years 2.2%

Brazil Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Brazil?

Life Expectancy at Birth 73 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 76 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 69 Years
Median Age 30 Years
Median Age - female 31 Years
Median Age - male 29 Years

Brazil Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Brazil median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 15
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 6.51
Median Age 30 Years
Median Age - female 31 Years
Median Age - male 29 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -0.17
Population Growth Rate 0.83%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .98
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .97
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .98
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .74

Brazil Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Brazil?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care is generally good but it varies in quality, particularly in remote areas, and it may not meet U.S. standards outside the major cities. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines are widely available. Emergency services are responsive. Travelers may call a private ambulance company or call 192 and request an ambulance for a public hospital. Callers must stay on the line to provide the location as there is no automatic tracking of phone calls. Other important phone numbers include, Emergency 199, Police 190 and Fire Department 193.

Sao Paulo: Expatriates regularly use the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo. It is inspected and certified by the Joint Commission International and offers international service assistance. The hospital phone number is 011-55-11-3747-1233.

Rio de Janeiro: In Rio, many expatriates go to Hospital Samaritano (Rua Bambina 98, Botafogo; tel. 2537-9722; ambulance tel. 2535 4000); or Pro-Cardi­aco, which specializes in cardiac care but also offers other specialty services (Rua Dona Mariana 219, Botafogo; tel. 2131-1400 or 2528-1442, ambulance tel. 2527-6060).

Information on vaccinations and other health issues in Brazil, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) and their " Yellow Book ". For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad and for general and country specific health information for travelers, consult the World Health Organization (WHO).

General Vaccinations: All travelers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks before departure, as some vaccines and malaria prophylaxis must be given a few weeks before travel. All travelers to Brazil, and those transiting the country, should have prior vaccinations for Hepatitis A, typhoid, and Hepatitis B. Routine immunizations including MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), and varicella should be up to date. Neither cholera nor polio vaccines are recommended except under specific circumstances. Consult the Yellow Book for more information.

Insect-borne Illnesses: Insect-borne illnesses are common in Brazil, principally yellow fever, malaria, leishmaniasis, and dengue. Vaccination is available to prevent yellow fever, and prophylactic medication can be used to lower the risk of malaria. Chagas disease (a/k/a American trypanosomiasis ) transmission has been eliminated in every state except Bahia and Tocantins through an aggressive program of insecticide spraying.

The first-line of protection against all insect bites is the use of insect repellents (less than or equal to 30% DEET content for children above two months of age), but mosquito nets, mosquito coils, aerosol sprays, protective clothing, use of screens, or staying in air-conditioned environment when available are also alternatives.

Dengue: There is no vaccine for dengue. Dengue usually presents fever, rash, and body aches, or there are no symptoms and clears relatively quickly; however, it can be rapidly fatal in a minority of severe cases. Consult CDC Yellow Book for the signs and symptoms of severe dengue.

Malaria: Malaria is present throughout the year in forested areas of the Amazon region, but it tends to be seasonal (southern summer) elsewhere in the country; mostly on the periphery of cities and towns in the Amazon region. There is little to no risk of malaria in other areas of Brazil.

Yellow Fever: The yellow fever vaccine is recommended for travelers over nine months of age to the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazones, Distrito Federal (including the capital city of Brasília), Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins, and designated areas of the following states: Piauí, Bahia, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. The vaccine is also recommended for travelers visiting Iguaçu Falls. Daytime insect precautions are essential for unvaccinated travelers.

Yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for itineraries limited to the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Recife, or Fortaleza, or any other areas not listed above. Travelers over age 65 should consult with their physician prior to receiving yellow fever vaccination.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is recommended for prolonged stays, with a priority for children and those planning rural travel. For shorter stays, rabies vaccination is recommended for adventure travelers, those with occupational exposure to animals, and those staying in locations more than 24 hours from access to rabies immune globulin.

Travelers' Diarrhea (TD): Travelers' diarrhea is the most common travel-related ailment. The cornerstone of prevention is food and water precautions: (1) do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected and (2) do not drink unbottled beverages or drinks with ice. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish, including ceviche. The most important treatment measure for TD is rehydration, best performed with oral rehydration solution available in almost all pharmacies in Brazil.

Tuberculosis: Brazil is a high-burden country for tuberculosis, but short-term travelers are not considered at high risk for infection unless visiting crowded environments such as hospitals, prisons, or homeless shelters. If you are at risk, consult with your health care provider or travel health clinic for possible use of tuberculin skin testing before and after returning from Brazil.

Elective Surgery: Plastic and other elective/cosmetic surgery is a major medical industry in Brazil. While Brazil has many plastic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you are planning to undergo plastic surgery in Brazil, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available. Some "boutique" plastic surgery operations offer luxurious facilities but are not hospitals and are therefore unable to deal with emergencies.

Non-traditional Medicine: Several U.S. citizens have died while visiting non-traditional healers outside of urban areas. While this is not surprising given that this type of treatment often attracts the terminally ill, U.S. citizens are advised to ensure they have access to proper medical care when visiting such sites.

Brazil Education

What is school like in Brazil?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 5.8%
Literacy - female 88.8%
Literacy - male 88.4%
Literacy - total population 88.6%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write

Brazil Literacy

Can people in Brazil read?

Literacy - female 88.8%
Literacy - male 88.4%
Literacy - total population 88.6%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language)

note: less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages

Brazil Learning

What is school like in Brazil?

Classroom

Primary schools are run by the cities, secondary schools are under the control of Brazilian states, and the national government operates the universities. At all levels, there is not enough money in the public school system to properly educate students. There are not enough books and other materials, and teachers are paid poorly. The buildings themselves are usually made of brick, but may not have windows, and the only teaching materials are usually a blackboard and chalk. Schools are often run down and not well maintained; however, they usually do have electricity, running water, and a bathroom.

A related problem is the lack of properly trained teachers. As many as a quarter of a million teaching positions remain unfilled each year, which means that many people are hired to teach without any training besides their desire to help where they can. Too often, that is not enough.


Most students in both public and private schools are required to wear a school uniform, which usually includes a simple T-shirt with the school’s name printed on it.


Interestingly, part of the reason for the overcrowding is that the government has been working to increase the number of children who attend school. In 2000, 94 percent of primary-aged children attended school, as opposed to only 84 percent nearly a decade earlier and 50 percent in 1960. More children, fewer funds—the result is educational failure for hundreds of thousands of children. It is not surprising that there is a very high drop out rate as the children get older.

Education Culture

The public school system in Brazil is free. Children from ages 7 to 14 are required to attend primary school and from ages 15 to 17 must attend secondary school, but the law is very difficult to enforce. Public high schools are also free, but most high schools are private, many of which are run by the Catholic Church.

School begins in Brazil in mid-February, right after the summer break, and goes until the end of November. Students then have the months of December, January, and part of February to enjoy a summer vacation. The school year has four quarters, with a four-week vacation in July.


School begins at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning and lasts only four hours, finishing at noon. Students return home to eat their midday meal, which is still the most important meal of the day in much of the country. Some schools are in session Monday through Saturday and just have Sunday off, although most hold classes only Monday through Friday. After the midday meal, students are expected to study at home.


But Brazilian schools are in trouble, especially the public schools. The government has not supplied enough funds to properly run the school system. Teachers are not properly trained, and children are not learning as they should. Fewer than 1 out of every 20 fourth graders is able to read very well at all, and less than 2 of every 20 have the math skills that they should have. Private and community groups recognize the terrible conditions of modern education and are trying to add classes and opportunities outside of the schools, but they have too few resources and there are far too many children to take care of.


One way of dealing with the social problems that the children face is by providing school fulltime instead of just in the mornings. This helps keep them off the streets and out of trouble. Also, by educating the children better, caring individuals hope to teach the children to get better jobs than their parents have and thus break the cycle of poverty in which these children are being raised. Approximately 60 percent of all Brazilian adults have four years of school or less. Similarly, because many older children must quit school to get a job, less than 40 percent of secondary-school aged children are in school. In poorer families, children quit school as early as ten years old to join their families at work.

Learning

There is a lot of variation in schools in Brazil, but basic classes include Portuguese, social studies, history, geography, science, and math. Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese as the national language instead of Spanish. English is the most popular second language for students in school. However, most of the children who learn a second language will do so through speaking to tourists and people living in Brazil who were born elsewhere. The school system usually does not do a very good job at educating the children, despite the efforts of some very dedicated teachers. There are simply not enough of them, nor do they have enough resources.

High school students take classes in Portuguese, literature, biology, chemistry, geography, physics, math, history, geometry, social studies, physical education, and a second language (typically English).


Most kids are able to write and read very basic Portuguese when they leave school for jobs, but many are not able to do so fluently with a very large vocabulary. In other words, most can get by in day to day living, but even simple reports would be challenging for most to write.


In some rural areas where teachers and schools just cannot meet the demands, the government broadcasts classes over the radio.


One study reported on the drop out rate of students from schools. To begin with, only 12.5% of all preschool age children actually attend preschool. Of every 100 students that begin first grade, half will quit during the first two years of school. Thirteen more will be gone by fourth grade, and another 20 will quit by 8th grade. Only 9 of the original 100 will finish high school, and only 6 will attend university. The study did not say how many would graduate from the university.

To School

Kids in rural schools will walk, ride their bikes, or even take a boat for half an hour to get to school. Many of these poorer students do not have electricity or running water in their homes. In the cities, electricity is much more common, but even then not every one will be guaranteed power in their homes 24 hours a day. In the cities, poorer children will walk to school, but wealthier families will often drive their children to school (usually private school!). School begins at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning and is finished at noon. Students return home to eat their midday meal, which is still the most important meal of the day in much of the country.

Brazil Crime

Is Brazil a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Brazilian police and media report that the crime rate remains high in most urban centers, including the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and is also growing in rural areas within those states. Brazil's murder rate is more than four times higher than that of the United States, and rates for other crimes are similarly high.

Street crime remains a problem for visitors and local residents alike. Foreign tourists, including U.S. citizens, are often targets, especially in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Recife. While the risk is greater during the evening and at night, street crime also occurs during the day, and safer areas of cities are not immune. Incidents of theft on city buses are frequent. You should keep a copy of your passport with you while in public and keep your passport in a hotel safe or other secure place. You should also carry proof of your health insurance with you.

The incidence of crime against tourists is greater in areas surrounding beaches, hotels, discotheques, bars, nightclubs, and other tourist destinations. It is especially prevalent prior to and during Carnival (Brazilian Mardi Gras), but also occurs throughout the year. Several Brazilian cities have established specialized tourist police units to patrol areas frequented by tourists.

Use caution when traveling through rural areas and satellite cities due to reported incidents of roadside robberies that randomly target passing vehicles. Robberies and "quicknappings" outside of banks and ATMs occur regularly. In a "quicknapping," criminals abduct victims for a short time in order to receive a quick payoff from the family, business, or the victim's ATM card. Some victims have been beaten and/or raped. You should also take precautions to avoid being carjacked, especially in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and other cities.

In airports, hotel lobbies, bus stations, and other public places, pick pocketing and the theft of hand-carried luggage and laptop computers is common. You should "dress down" when in public and avoid carrying valuables or wearing jewelry or expensive watches. "Good Samaritan" scams are common. If a tourist looks lost or seems to be having trouble communicating, a seemingly innocent bystander offering help may actually be a participant in a scam. Take care at and around banks and ATMs which accept U.S. credit or debit cards. Travelers using personal ATM or credit cards sometimes receive billing statements with unauthorized charges after returning from a visit to Brazil, or discover that their cards were cloned or duplicated without their knowledge. If you use such payment methods, carefully monitor your bank records for the duration of your visit.

While the ability of Brazilian police to help recover stolen property is limited, we strongly advise you to obtain a "boletim de ocorrencia" (police report) at a "delegacia" (police station) if any of your possessions are lost or stolen. This will facilitate your exit from Brazil and assist with insurance claims. Be aware, however, that the police in tourist areas are on the lookout for false reports of theft for purposes of insurance fraud.

Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. These goods are illegal in the United States, and if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Brasilia: Brasilia has significant crime problems. Reports of residential burglaries continue to occur in the generally affluent residential sections of the city. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report the highest crime rates, but statistics show that these incidents can happen anywhere and at anytime. The "satellite cities" that surround Brasilia have per-capita crime rates comparable to much larger cities. Police reports indicate that rates of all types of crime, including "quicknappings," have risen dramatically in Brasilia in the last two years. Brasilia's Central Bus Station or "Rodoviaria" is a particularly dangerous area, especially at night. This location is known to have a large concentration of drug dealers and users. Illegal drugs such as crack cocaine and "oxi" (a derivative of cocaine base produced with cheaper chemicals) have become very common in the "Plano Piloto" area and satellite cities.

Rio de Janeiro: The city continues to experience high incidences of crime. Tourists are particularly vulnerable to street thefts and robberies in the evening and at night especially in areas adjacent to major tourist attractions. There have been attacks, including shootings, along trails leading to the famous Corcovado Mountain and in other parts of the Tijuca Forest. If robbed, do not attempt to resist or fight back, but rather relinquish your personal belongings. At all times, pay close attention to your surroundings and the behavior of those nearby. There have been reports of thieves and rapists slipping incapacitating drugs into drinks at bars, hotel rooms, and street parties. While crime occurs throughout the year, it is more frequent during Carnival and the weeks prior.

Choose lodging carefully considering location, security, and the availability of a safe to store valuables. Do not answer your hotel room door until you positively confirm who is on the other side. Look out the peephole or call the front desk to confirm the visitor. There have been several recent incidents where mass holdups of guests have occurred at hotels and hostels in the city.

Rio de Janeiro's favelas are a subject of curiosity for many U.S. travelers. A favela pacification program, instituted in 2008, installed police stations in some favelas, primarily in the Zona Sul area. However, most favelas exist outside the control of city officials and police. Travelers are urged to exercise caution when entering any "pacified" favelas and should not go into favelas that are not "pacified" by the state government. Even in some "pacified" favelas, the ability of police to provide assistance, especially at night, may be limited. Several local companies offer "favela jeep tours" targeted at foreign tourists. Be aware that neither the tour company nor the city police can guarantee your safety when entering favelas.

Be vigilant while on the roads, especially at night. There have been shootings and carjackings on the Linha Vermelha that links the airport to the Southern Zone of the city. In Rio de Janeiro, motorists should be especially vigilant at stoplights and when stuck in traffic. Carjackings and holdups can occur at intersections, especially at night. Incidents of crime on public transportation are frequent, and at times have involved violent crimes. When traveling by yellow taxi, tourists are recommended only to use taxis openly displaying company information and phone numbers as well as red license plates. Tourists are also advised not to use public vans.

Visitors should also remain alert to the possibility of manhole cover explosions. There have been multiple manhole cover explosions in Rio de Janeiro in the past few years, with a higher incidence in the Centro and Copacabana neighborhoods.

Report all incidents to Rio's tourist police (DEAT) at (21) 2332-2924. The tourist police have been very responsive to victims and cooperative with the U.S. Consulate General.

Sao Paulo: All areas of Greater Sao Paulo have a high rate of armed robbery of pedestrians and drivers at stoplights and during rush hour traffic. The "red light districts" of Sao Paulo, located on Rua Augusta north of Avenida Paulista and the Estacao de Luz metro area, are especially dangerous. There are regular reports of young women slipping various drugs into men's drinks and robbing them of all their belongings while they are unconscious. Armed holdups of pedestrians and motorists by young men on motorcycles ("motoboys") are a common occurrence in Sao Paulo. Criminals have also begun targeting restaurants throughout the city, frequently between the hours of 10:00 pm and 4:00 am, at establishments in the upscale neighborhoods of Jardins, Itaim Bibi, Campo Belo, Morumbi and Moema. Victims who resist run the risk of violent attack. Laptop computers, other electronics, and luxury watches are the targets of choice for criminals in Sao Paulo.

Efforts of incarcerated drug lords to exert their power outside of their jail cells have resulted in sporadic disruptions in the city, violence directed at the authorities, bus burnings, and vandalism at ATM machines, including the use of explosives. Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution at all times. Respect police roadblocks and be aware that some municipal services may be disrupted.

As in Rio de Janeiro, favela tours have recently become popular among foreign tourists in Sao Paulo. We advise you to avoid Sao Paulo's favelas as neither the tour company nor the city police can guarantee your safety when entering favelas.

Recife: As in Rio de Janeiro, tourists in Recife should take special care while on the beaches, as robberies may occur in broad daylight. In the upscale Boa Viagem neighborhood, carjackings can occur at any time of the day or night.

Individuals with ties to criminal entities and traffickers operate along all the Brazilian borders. These organizations are involved in the trafficking of illicit goods and drugs. U.S. citizens crossing into bordering countries should consult the Country Specific Information on the relevant nation.

Colombian terrorist groups have been known to operate in the border areas of neighboring countries. Although there have been reports of isolated small-scale armed incursions from Colombia into Brazil in the past, we know of no specific threat directed against U.S. citizens across the border in Brazil at this time.

Colombian groups have kidnapped residents and tourists along the Colombian border. If you are traveling or residing in this area we urge you to exercise caution when visiting remote parts of the Amazon basin, and respect local laws and customs. You should ensure that your outfitter/guide is familiar with the Amazon region.

Brazil Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

U.S. citizens are subject to the laws and regulations of any foreign country they are visiting or residing in. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Brazilian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Brazil are especially severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The Brazilian judicial process can be slow and cumbersome.

There are also some things that might be legal in Brazil, but illegal in the United States. For instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods in Brazil. In addition, engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. In November 2008, Brazil passed a series of laws designed to strengthen protection of children against sexual exploitation. Brazilian police in tourist areas such as Rio de Janeiro are on the lookout for foreigners inappropriately touching or photographing minors. If you break local laws in Brazil, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.

According to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Brazil, you have the option to request that the authorities alert the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. We recommend that you carry the contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate with you when traveling.

Brazil Population Comparison

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