Quality of life in Brazil: Personal Safety and Inclusiveness worsening, improvements seen in Nutrition and Basic Medical Care

In the 2018 global Index, Brazil holds the title of the largest decline in Personal Safety and Inclusiveness. Between 1930 and 1980, Brazil was one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Five years ago, Brazil announced its arrival on the world stage after rising to heights off the global commodity boom and hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. Despite this progress, today only 17 percent of Brazilians have confidence in their national government, a severe decline from 51 percent ten years ago. Using the Social Progress Index change over time data from 2014-2018, Brazil declined by 0.61 points. The country currently ranks as tier 3, and has a Social Progress score of 72.73 points. In the Personal Safety component, Brazil scored a mere 47.26 points. These numbers are severely concerning, as the country is regressing in quality of life. Brazil’s newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro has stated that he plans to end corruption, defeat crime and chaos, among many other reforms. In the past five years, there have been strides in the components of Health and Wellness, Environmental Quality, and Nutrition and Basic Medical Care. In regards to Personal Safety, Access to Advanced Education and Inclusiveness, a large scope for improvement still remains.

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In the Personal Safety component, Brazil scored 47.26 points in the 2018 global Index, ranking 124th in the world. Seven cities in Brazil are among the world’s 20 most violent, and in 2017, the country had a record of 63,880 homicides. The homicide rate is presently declining, but still remains one of the highest in the world. Combating this severe issue is one of Bolsonaro’s top priorities.

In the Opportunity dimension, there has been a significant decrease of 3.82 points in the five year change over time score. In the Inclusiveness change over time data, there has been a 12.16 point decrease. The lowest indicator in the Inclusiveness component is equality of political power by gender. In addition, even though Brazil is a diverse country, discrimination remains prevalent. In 2017, there were more than 400 LGBTQ deaths, a 30 percent increase from 2016. As seen in the time series data, discrimination against minorities has declined. Brazil was once a “racial democracy, that other countries strived to emulate” however many rifts and tensions between diverse ethnicities are still seen today. As stated in the Washington Post, “young black males are nine times as likely to be killed in Brazil as their white counterparts.”

In the component of Health and Wellness, Brazil scored 61.23 points, which shows an increase of 1.22 points over the past five years. However, the lowest-performing indicator, access to quality healthcare, ranks 97th in the world. There have been improvements over five years in life expectancy at 60 and premature deaths from non-communicable diseases. Again, access to quality healthcare and essential services still ranks low when compared to other indicators in the Health and Wellness component. The rising middle class over the years, directly relates to increase in Health and Wellness scores. The Family Health Programme, Brazil’s main primary health care strategy, has helped improve quality health care for families at homes, clinics and hospitals.

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Environmental Quality is another component on which Brazil scored highly in the 2018 global Index. Brazil achieved 85.89 points, and is currently ranked 34th in the world. Biome protection is the highest ranked indicator when compared to other countries, however more improvements are necessary. Wastewater treatment scored 81.08 points in the 2018 global Index, and greenhouse gas emissions have decreased over the years. Even with these positive environmental changes, there are still huge bodies of water within the city of Rio de Janeiro that are extremely polluted. Environmental quality must still be invested in and improved, especially in the areas such as: Lagoa, Ipanema, Copacabana beaches, and Guanabara Bay. The Amazon, and Cerrado are two biomes that have experienced a large deal of deforestation. With more reforms targeting Personal Safety, the Environmental Quality of the country should not be forgotten about.

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Brazil received its highest scores in the Basic Human Needs dimension. Nutrition and Basic Medical Care scores have seen an improvement over the past five years. In the Water and Sanitation component of the Basic Human Needs dimension, Brazil is also a strong performer. However, in 2018, the country faced a severe water crisis. While access to safe Water and Sanitation has increased since 2010, there are still deep inequalities in access among the country’s diverse geographical regions, rural and urban communities, and households.

Another aspect of Brazilian society that has improved over this five year period, is the component of Access to Information and Communications. This falls under the dimension of Foundations of Wellbeing. Over 50% of Brazilians are now active internet users, and Brazilian financial institutions were early adopters of online services. The score for Access to Information and Communications in 2018 was 81.91 points, and the country currently has 117.536 mobile phone subscriptions for every 100 people. In change over time data, Brazil has increased the population’s access to independent media (now 90.57% of population), and a high participation in online governance.

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According to the data from the 2018 Social Progress Index, Personal Safety, Inclusiveness, and Access to Advanced Education are among the most pressing and critical issues for Brazil to improve. Across a diverse range of components and indicators, improvements are seen across a 5 year period. However, many issues still remain for the new administration to tackle. “Bolsonaro vows to end years of corruption and fight against violent criminals. He also pledges to “lower bureaucracy in Brazil, which many view as the region behind the country’s stuttering economy.” To see if Brazil can improve in Personal Safety, Inclusion and other significant indicators of quality of life, follow us for updates on our blog and social media channels where we will announce the upcoming 2019 global Index.
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