Brazilian poor take up to nine generations to reach average income

The data were released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation

Published in 18/06/2018 - 14:44 By Agência Brasil - Brasília

A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that it may take up to nine generations for children born into low-income families in Brazil (the 10% poorest portion of the population) to reach the country’s average income. The average among countries as reported by OECD is five generations. The data can be found in a study entitled A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility, released recently.

“In Brazil, circumstances facing the country play an important role in people’s lives. Economic and social status is transmitted from generation to generation,” the report says.

On the ranking with 30 countries scrutinized by the organization, a worse scenario is only to be found in Colombia, where social mobility among descendants of poor families could take 11 generations. Brazil shares the second-to-last position with South Africa—the country that managed to bring apartheid to an end as late as 1994.

Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden lead the social mobility list. In these countries, only two or three generations are necessary for the children of poor families to reach the average income.

“In general, if compared to other countries, Brazil does relatively little in terms of inequality and income mobility between generations. The same holds true for other countries in Latin America and emerging economies, which face high inequality side by side with low income mobility,” the document says.

Despite the social progress observed in Brazil as 25 million Brazilians have climbed out of poverty since 2003, OECD argues, inequality is still alarming, and the education system is among the reasons behind it. “Despite the improvement, the achievements and the quality of education in Brazil are still low considering international standards,” the report states.

In order to promote social mobility, the organization recommends that Brazil should improve the efficiency of public spending in education and health care. The study also argues for an increase in the access to, and the quality of, vocational education, as well as better income distribution by means of reforms that boost social expenditure in programs aimed at vulnerable portions of the population.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Davi Oliveira / Augusto Queiroz

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