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Subject #334: Why it is difficult to change social class in Brazil

Published by G1 in 27/11/2020

Subject #334: Why it is difficult to change social classes in Brazil

An OECD survey placed Brazil in the second-to-the-last-position among the countries with the greatest possibility of social ascension. Here, for a person born in a poor family to reach the average income of all Brazilians, nine generations are needed – equivalent to 160 years.

What are the chances that a person born in a poor family will be able to attain average Brazilian income? How long will that take? The answer: nine generations. “If you consider an average citizen from the 10% poorest strata, for one of his offspring to reach the average Brazilian income level would take about 160 years,” says Paulo Tafner, economist, and associate researcher at USP, invited by Renata Lo Prete in this episode.

CEO of the recently launched Institute for Mobility and Social Development, Tafner details the vicious circle that keeps Brazilians in poverty and extreme poverty, under the same conditions as their ancestors. In Brazil, “the history of the individual is determined in the mother’s womb,” exemplifies the economist. Tafner also gives details on what are the barriers to overcome in order to have mobility between classes in the country and compares the Brazilian situation with that of other countries.

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