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cities & citizens series - bridging the urban divide

2006, the foundation found that under the current term of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the number of poor Brazilians dropped to about 42 million — or approximately 21.6 per cent of the country’s 192 million people.14 The foundation claims the rate was 28.1 per cent in 2003, when President Lula da Silva took office. The poverty rate is therefore at its lowest level in 25 years, when the foundation began measuring it. The survey also showed that the number of Brazilians considered to be living in extreme poverty — or those earning less than US$1 per day — dropped by 19.2 per cent between 2003 and 2005. That translates to improved conditions for approximately 10 million people. Since 2005, the trend has continued downward in relation to reduced poverty. Despite the overall decline in poverty over the last two and half decades, however, poverty dynamics have been marked by considerable shifts, which reflect macroeconomic instability. One study in 2006 attempted to define and explain the rise and fall of Brazilian inequalities in the 23-year period between 1981 and 2004, as part of a downward poverty trend.15 The study charts three main stages in the evolution of inequality, which

In 2005 84 per cent of Brazil’s population was urban, and by 2015, that proportion is anticipated to exceed 88 per cent. are directly mirrored by the trends in poverty. It refers to inequalities within a trend of poverty reduction. From 1981 to 1989, there was both a steady rise of poverty (measured by headcount poverty and the poverty gap) and income inequality. But between 1989 and 1993, there was a highly volatile peak period with dramatic levels of increase in both inequality and poverty. This was followed by a steady decline nationally (with São Paulo experiencing slight variations) in both inequality and poverty. This decline continues today, for Brazil as a whole as well as São Paulo, which acts as the core economic powerhouse of the Brazilian economy.

In terms of hunger poverty, the government of Brazil has declared food insufficiency to be unacceptable and has committed to completely eradicating food hunger by 2015. This ambitious objective goes beyond the first Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of people suffering from hunger.

The urbanization of poverty in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo In recent years, Brazil developed a new poverty profile, located predominantly in urban areas. In 2005, 84 per cent of Brazil’s population was urban, and by 2015, that proportion is anticipated to exceed 88 per cent. With such a high level of urbanization, Brazil’s subsequent urbanization of poverty is unsurprising. Population growth data from the Federal State of São Paulo and its capital city shows the following numbers16: • The population of the Federal State of São Paulo is 41.1 million inhabitants, which represents over 25 per cent of the country’s urban population. • The population of the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo (MRSP) is 19,7 million inhabitants. • The population of the municipality of São Paulo itself (MSP) is 10.9 million. • Approximately 50 per cent of the population of the State of São Paulo lives in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, while approximately 50 per cent of the population of the MRSP lives in the municipality of São Paulo. Approximately 25 per cent of the population of the Federal State of São Paulo lives in the municipality of São Paulo. In the State of São Paulo, approximately 88 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements. Poverty increased in the big cities of the Federal State of São Paulo between the 1980s and 1990s, owing to changes in their productive systems and employment markets, which are largely determined by trends in economic restructuring. Evidence suggests that economic changes resulted in a loss of jobs for workers, especially those with low qualifica-

Profile for UN-Habitat

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Profile for unhabitat
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