Form of Government: Federal republic
Area: 8 510 346 sq km
Population: 211 755 692 inhab. (estimate 2020)
Density: 24.88 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 5° N - 34° S; long. 74° - 35° W
Capital: Brasília (capital) 3 055 149 inhab. (2020); Brasília 4 469 761 inhab. (2020), urban agglomeration
Currency: real (100 centavos)
Human development index: 0.765 (rank: 84)
President and head of government: Jair Bolsonaro (Alliance for Brazil), elected 28 October 2018, in office since 1 January 2019
Chamber of Deputies: seats based on the elections of 7 October 2018: PT ( Workers’ Party, democratic socialist), 56; PSL (Social Liberal Party, nationalist right), 52; PP (Progressistas, liberal conservative), 37; PSD (Social Democratic Party, liberal conservative), 34; MDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement, centrist), 34; PL (Liberal Party, conservative), 33; PSB (Brazilian Socialist Party), 32; PRB (Brazilian Republican Party, conservative), 30; PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party), 29; DEM (Democrats, liberal conservative), 29; PDT (Democratic Labour Party, social democratic), 28; others, 119
Internet: www.ibge.gov.br (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística)
Member of Mercosur, OAS, PROSUR, UN, WTO
International license plate code BR
International dialling code 0055
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (recommended for some areas); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 110/240
Driving side rigth
Internet code .br
GMT Brasília -3; Rio de Janeiro -3; Manaus -4; Porto Acre -5; Fernando de Noronha Archipelago -2
DST Brasília -2; Rio de Janeiro -2; Manaus not applied; Porto Acre not applied; Fernando de Noronha Archipelago not applied
DST duration (start-end) mid October (Sunday 19)-mid February
Annual average temperature (°C) Brasília 21.3; Belém 26.7; Manaus 27.5; Porto Alegre 20.1; Rio de Janeiro 23.9
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Brasília 22/19; Belém 26.5/27; Manaus 27/27.5; Porto Alegre 25/15.5; Rio de Janeiro 26/21.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Brasília 8.5/4.5; Belém 7.5/6; Manaus 6/4; Porto Alegre 4.5/8; Rio de Janeiro 5.5/5.5
Annual average precipitation (mm) Brasília 1554; Belém 2880; Manaus 2285; Porto Alegre 1330; Rio de Janeiro 1170
Days of rainfall (annual average) Brasília 128; Belém 240; Manaus 157; Porto Alegre 112; Rio de Janeiro 124
Politics and current affairs
The terrible management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continued to impact the country gravely in 2021, reflected negatively on President J. Bolsonaro, whose popularity had grown at the end of 2020 due to policies supporting the poor. The quashed convictions of “Lula” I. Da Silva, confirmed by the Supreme Court on 15 April 2021, also weigh heavily on the country’s political life; the former president could therefore run again in the 2022 elections.
Brazil is bordered by almost all of the states of South America (starting in the north and working anti-clockwise: French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay). The Atlantic Ocean lies off its east coast and it has 7491 km of coastline. The country is formed by a high plateau that slopes down towards the plains of the River Paraná and the River Paraguay in the west and the River Amazon in the north. The edges of the eastern plateau (the Brazilian Highlands or Brazilian Plateau) are mountainous (here the mountain ranges are known as serras), with some of Brazil’s highest peaks (Pico da Bandeira, 2897 m and Pico das Agulhas Negras, 2787 m). In the centre of the plateau, the Mato Grosso Plateau slopes down towards the Amazonian basin, a vast basin measuring 5 million km², covered with rainforest. In the north stand the Guiana Highlands, culminating in Pico da Neblina (3014 m). The largest river is the River Amazon which flows into the Atlantic Ocean through a vast estuary. It has a tropical climate. The Fernando de Noronha archipelago (state of Pernambuco), the Rocas Atoll (state of Rio Grande do Norte), the Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo (in the state of Pernambuco), the island of Trindade and the uninhabited islands of Martim Vaz (in the state of Espírito Santo) also belong to Brazil.
Brazil became independent from Portugal on 7 September 1822 (as the “Empire of Brazil”), and became a republic in 1889, following a military takeover. In the 1891 Constitution it adopted presidential rule and became a federal republic. In 1964, after ten years of rule by left-wing populist parties, a military coup installed a dictatorship which lasted until 1988, when power was restored to civilians. After that, political power remained firmly in the hands of the conservatives until the elections of 2002 when a broad centre-left coalition established itself, led by Inácio “Lula” Da Silva until 2010, who was succeeded by Dilma Rousseff until 2016, then dismissed with the accusation of falsifying the budget. The 2018 elections, on the other hand, were won by the populist right led by Jair Bolsonaro. With an electoral system that encourages party fragmentation, majorities in Parliament are difficult to achieve. Corruption results. According to the 1988 Constitution and the referendum of 1993, Brazil is a presidential federal republic. The country is composed of 26 states plus the federal district of Brasilia, the capital. Each state has its own administrative, legislative and judicial institutions. The President of the Republic, who is also the head of the government, is elected by direct suffrage. The right to vote is acquired at the age of 16. Legislative power lies in the hands of Parliament (the National Congress), comprising a Chamber of Deputies (513 members elected for four years) and the Senate (81 members elected for eight years, one-third and two-thirds of whom are alternatively renewed every four years). There is also a Council of the Republic which is summoned in times of national emergency.
In addition to the armed forces, each state has its own paramilitary corps, placed under the control of the army. Military service, which is compulsory, lasts for 12 months.
The judicial system is based on European Law. The highest law court is the Supreme Federal Tribunal, made of 11 judges appointed by the President. There is no life-sentence.
|São Paulo||12 325 232||inhab.||2020|
|Rio de Janeiro||6 747 815||inhab.||2020|
|São Paulo||21 893 842||inhab.||2020|
|Rio de Janeiro||12 705 036||inhab.||2020|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
Despite economic growth, the distribution of income is extremely unequal and large sections of the population still live in poverty. Indigenous communities have been reduced to a few hundred thousand, concentrated along the River Amazon, in the Mato Grosso, in the states of Pará, Roraima and Maranhão and in the Indigenous Park of the Xingu (on the central plateau). In 2004 Brazil adopted the ILO Convention 169 regarding the rights of indigenous peoples, which guarantees protection for indigenous tribes, their culture and traditions. There are many blacks, especially in the northern coastal regions, between Salvador and Recife. There are large numbers of Italians, Portuguese, Spaniards and Germans.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected an economy that had already been sluggish for several years due to falling oil prices, low productivity and a lack of investments. The rise in unemployment has aggravated the already precarious living conditions of large sections of the population, which was partially alleviated by a vast fiscal stimulus package that shored up the recession. The burden on the already afflicted public finances limited the intervention over time and in 2021 the average living conditions worsened even more.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||135.75||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||110.38||index||2019|
|Active population||99 843 099||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||43.6||%||2019|
|Unemployment rate, Females||52.5||%||2020|
|Expenses||2 262 677.1||M LCU||2020|
|Revenues||1 592 038.7||M LCU||2020|
|Currency in circulation||370.441||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||355 614.251||M US$||2020|
Agriculture and forests.
Brazil is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of agricultural produce: especially soya and maize (grown in the states of Mato Grosso, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul), sugar cane (São Paulo), coffee (São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo), citrus fruits (São Paulo), cotton (Mato Grosso, Bahia), cocoa (Bahia, Pará). Also important are rice, cassava, dried beans and potatoes, which, along with maize, constitute the staple diet of many Brazilians. Brazil has the largest expanses of rainforest anywhere in the world. They provide a vast range of prized timber, rubber, palm oil (such as the Attalea speciosa which produces babassu nuts, and the Bertholletia excelsa which produces Brazil nuts) and the Carnauba palm (which produces wax). Unrestricted deforestation continues at the pace of thousands of square kilometres per year. The rainforest is cut down to make room for large intensive farms (soya) and cattle farming. Biotechnology (GMOs) is widely used by farmers to increase yields.
Livestock and fishing.
Livestock farming, mostly of cattle, and conducted on a commercial basis, is practised mainly in the southern prairies, the central plateau and the north-east. The country is the world’s leading exporter of beef and chicken meat. The fishing industry is very important indeed (Cynoscion spp., sardines, tuna, catfish, prawns, lobsters), and conducted mainly in the states of São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Maranhão, Santa Catarina, Pará, Rio de Janeiro and Amazonas (fishing on the River Amazon and its tributaries); aquaculture is also relevant (tilapia and carp).
|cereals, total||121 222.813||1000 t||2019|
|cassava||17 497.115||1000 t||2019|
|potatoes||3 696.93||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||2 906.508||1000 t||2019|
|broad beans, dry||11.449||1000 t||2019|
|grapes||1 485.292||1000 t||2019|
|castor oil seed||16.349||1000 t||2019|
|oil palm fruits||2 583.293||1000 t||2019|
|tung nuts||0.272||1000 t||2019|
|coconuts||2 330.949||1000 t||2019|
|coffee||3 009.402||1000 t||2019|
|sugar cane||752 895.389||1000 t||2019|
|seed cotton||6 893.34||1000 t||2019|
|apples||1 222.979||1000 t||2019|
|cashew nuts||138.754||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits||19 652.788||1000 t||2019|
|bananas||6 812.708||1000 t||2019|
|maize||17 518.054||1000 ha||2019|
|cassava||1 190.121||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, dry||2 610.585||1000 ha||2019|
|broad beans, dry||32.45||1000 ha||2019|
|castor oil seed||50.567||1000 ha||2019|
|oil palm fruit||177.475||1000 ha||2019|
|tung nuts||0.067||1000 ha||2019|
|coffee||1 823.403||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar cane||10 081.17||1000 ha||2019|
|seed cotton||1 627.163||1000 ha||2019|
|cashew nuts||426.417||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits||703.337||1000 ha||2019|
|natural rubber||217 387||t||2019|
|timber||266 288 000||m³||2019|
|cattle||214 659.84||1000 heads||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||216 093.981||1000 heads||2019|
|buffaloes||1 434.141||1000 heads||2019|
|pigs||40 556.892||1000 heads||2019|
|sheep||19 715.587||1000 heads||2019|
|goats||11 301.481||1000 heads||2019|
|asses and mules||2 041.798||1000 heads||2019|
|birds||1 504 613||1000 heads||2019|
|silk, raw||0.489||1000 t||2018|
|crustaceans and molluscs||137 536.5||t||2019|
|freshwater fishes||746 523.453||t||2019|
Brazil has large reserves of oil on the mainland (in the states of Bahia, Alagoas, Sergipe, Espírito Santo, Paraná and Amazonas), offshore on the continental shelf (the field of Campos, in the state of Rio de Janeiro) and in the ocean. The state-owned oil company Petrobras operates at home and abroad. The main oil pipelines include: Rio-Belo Horizonte (365 km), São Sebastião-Cubatão (120 km) and Tramandaí-Canoas (99 km). It also has reserves of natural gas (in the states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Sergipe, Alagoas and Rio Grande) and coal. Moreover, the southern states are connected to Bolivian reserves by a gas pipeline.
Brazil’s mineral deposits contain bauxite (in Minas Gerais and Pará), manganese (in Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará), iron (in Amapá, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará), niobium (in Goiás and Minas Gerais), gold (in Amapá, Bahia, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais and Pará) and diamonds (in Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais). It also has plentiful reserves of zinc, tin, nickel, tungsten, vanadium, chromite and rare earths.
A great deal of the country’s electrical energy comes from hydropower with major plants located at Itaipú (a joint project with Paraguay on the River Paraná), Tucuruí, on the River Tocantins, and Belo Monte, which is being built on the River Xingu. At Angra dos Reis there is a nuclear power plant with two reactors which are already operational, while the construction of a third is currently suspended.
Brazil is one of the world’s top ten industrialized nations. Basic industry is well represented: iron and steel (at Volta Redonda, in the state of Rio de Janeiro; Usiminas, in Minas Gerais; Cosipa, near São Paulo), metalworking (at Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo, São Caetano do Sul and São Paulo); oil-refining and chemicals, with refineries at Araucária (Paraná), Betim (Minas Gerais), Canoas (Rio Grande do Sul), Cubatão, Mauá, Paulínia, São José dos Campos (São Paulo), Duque de Caxias (Rio de Janeiro), Fortaleza (Ceará), Guamaré (Rio Grande do Norte), Ipojuca (Pernambuco), Itaboraí (Rio de Janeiro), Manaus (Amazonas), São Francisco do Conde (Bahia) and chemical plants at Recife, Cabo Frio, Salvador, Aracajú, Curitiba, Niterói, São Paulo and Porto Alegre.
Some engineering segments are very advanced, especially in the aeronautical industry (Embraer is the world’s third-largest aircraft company), in the state of São Paulo, and the automotive industry (in which the largest multi-national companies in the sector operate). Car production is concentrated in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, São Bernardo do Campo, Betim, Camacari, Taubaté, Pinhais, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Salvador. There are top-level industrial parks in the south-east, like the São José dos Campos space centre and the technopolis of Campinas; other important parks are located in the states of Bahia, Pernambuco and Ceará. The tax-free zone of Manaus is host to electronics and engineering companies. There are hi-tech companies in Brasília, Porto Alegre, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Other important industries include rubber (Campinas, Duque de Caxias and Cabo), paper (São Paulo, Campinas, and the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina), cement (in the states of Bahia, Ceará, Goiás, Maranhao, Minas Gerais, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), and shipbuilding (Niterói, Angra dos Reis and Porto Alegre). The textile industry is highly developed in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, São José dos Campos, São Caetano do Sul, Santo André and Agua Branca. The agro-food industry is represented in the states of São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná.
|coal||3 788||1000 t||2019|
|coal, total||6 184.9||1000 t||2020|
|bauxite||35 000||1000 t||2020|
|kaolin||1 700||1000 t||2020|
|limestone||8 300||1000 t||2016|
|diamonds, industrial - ct||600||1000 ct||2011|
|- hydro||393 898||M kWh||2019|
|- other renew.||117 155||M kWh||2019|
|- hydro||109 058||1000 kW||2019|
|- other renew.||32 841.1||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||615 353.28||M kWh||2019|
|total installed capacity||163 010.08||1000 kW||2018|
|alumina||9 600||1000 t||2020|
|bikes||4 175 000||no.||2019|
|cars||1 608 870||no.||2020|
|watches and clocks||8 603 000||no.||2019|
|air conditioners||6 644 993||no.||2019|
|bitumen||1 722||1000 t||2019|
|petrol||31 850.4||1000 t||2014|
|artificial tow||0.121||1000 t||2019|
|carpets||34 391.1||1000 m²||2019|
|cotton fabrics - t||459.5||1000 t||2019|
|footwear||899 167 023||pairs||2019|
|beer of barley||15 319.532||1000 t||2018|
|coconut oil||11.886||1000 t||2018|
|cigarettes||67 914||M units||2019|
|chemical pulp||19 202||1000 t||2019|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||19 692||1000 t||2019|
|cement||57 000||1000 t||2020|
|sheet glass||479.8||1000 m²||2015|
|chemicals production||27 816.519||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||46 539.942||M US$||2018|
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) soya beans 25 718, iron ores 19 199, crude oil and petroleum products 18 626, vehicles and parts thereof 14 724, meat 13 953, machinery 13 848, iron and steel 12 255, sugar and derived products 11 566, ships and boats 7 796, chemicals 7 125, wood pulp 6 355, residues and wastes of food industry 5 395, maize 4 631, coffee 4 613, aircraft and parts thereof 4 045, plastics 3 656
Finance and banking.
The monetary policy of Brazil is controlled by the Banco Central do Brasil. The main stock exchange is in São Paulo (B3).
|food products||33.874||% of goods exports||2019|
|manufactures||31.508||% of goods exports||2019|
|China||67 788||M US$||2020|
|United States||21 618||M US$||2020|
|China||36 737||M US$||2020|
|United States||29 722||M US$||2020|
Tourism. The tourist industry is experiencing growth.
|Expenditures||21 178||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||6 353 000||units||2019|
Highways are developed especially in the south-east. There are two main land routes running east-west across the country (the Trans-Amazon Highway and the Sudeste-Rondônia Highway). The waterway network is very extensive. Air services connect the main cities; there are also many small airports.
|Civil aviation, km flown||667 000 000||km flown||2009|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||102 917.5||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||155.956||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||161.2||per 1000 pop.||2005|
Social and welfare
Education and research.
Primary education is compulsory between the age of 7 and 14, also secondary education between 15 and 17, but many children leave school before they have completed their education. The most prestigious universities are in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.
Social security and health.
The Instituto Nacional do Seguro Social (INSS) provides the social welfare. The social security system for Amerindian communities is managed by the Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI).
|Expected years of schooling||15.703||years||2018|
|Students, primary level||15 951 913||units||2018|
|Students, secondary level||22 863 908||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||42.8||% of total expenses||2019|
|Hospital beds||2.09||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Physicians||2.16||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|HIV||0.5||% of adults||2019|
|Research and development spending||1.16||% of GDP||2018|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||95.9||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||99.8||%||2019|