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Number of Brazilians living below poverty line soars by two million

Country's worst recession on record means that 26.5% of population is now considered poor, IBGE reports.

Wednesday 5 December, 2018
A woman walks at a park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A woman walks at a park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Foto:CARL DE SOUZA / AFP

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The number of people living in poverty in Brazil grew by two million last year in the wake of the country's worst recession on record, according to the government statistics bureau.

The figure, going from 52.8 million poor in 2016 to 54.8 million in 2017, meant 26.5 percent of the country was below the poverty line, the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE) said in a statement.

Nearly half of the poor population – 44.8 percent – lives in Brazil's northeast region.

The data relies on the definition of poverty given by the World Bank, which is when a person lives with less than the equivalent of US$5.50 per day.

The number of Brazilians living in extreme poverty – calculated at less than US$1.90 per day – rose from 13.5 million in 2016 to 15.2 million in 2017, representing 7.7 percent of the population.

Brazil, Latin America's most populous country with 208 million inhabitants, suffered its worst-ever recession between 2014 and 2016. 

Last year it returned to growth, but only timidly.

The IBGE statement said unemployment rose from 6.9 percent to 12.5 percent between 2014 and 2016. The latest figures, dating from October this year, show it has declined to 11.7 percent.

- AFP

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