Published On: September 5, 2018

Brazil’s Population Problem is the Decrease

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Brazil’s population reached the level of 208.4 million inhabitants this year, according to IBGE (Brazilian Economic & Geographical Institute). The population total was calculated by IBGE as of August 2018. The number is a projection based on the population survey of the 2010 Census.

The 2018 population increased by 0.38 percent (or 800 thousand people) over 2017’s population of 207.6 million people. The most recent data reveals that Brazil’s population growth is slowing. That means that each year the population increases less.

The Brazilian population is also aging. Projections indicate that by 2060, the segment of the population greater than 60 years of age will more than double and correspond to 32 percent of the total country. Today, Brazilians over 60 represent only 13 percent of the population.

World populationAs Brazil’s people age, and corresponding to the drop in fertility rates, there will be less young people who are working and contributing taxes to the economy. Today children under 14 years old represent 21 percent of the country, but by 2060, children will be only 15 percent. The disparity between these two numbers illustrates the aging of the population in general. As a consequence, by 2060, there will be more than twice the number of older citizens as children.

This aging of the population in Brazil, as in all wealthy nations like the US and Japan, has a devastating effect on the economy. With fewer people working and more people retired, the government has less tax revenue and therefore must face either increasing federal debt or must shrink its operating budget.

In countries like the US and Germany, lower fertility rates and the aging of the population are being balanced by an influx of foreign immigrants who provide new, young workers. However, in Japan or Brazil, the number of foreigners who are becoming permanent residents in their new country to work and pay taxes is still very low.

Aging population of Japan

Aging population of Japan

IBGE estimates that the population in Brazil will continue to grow for the next three decades, until 2047, when the population is expected to reach 233.2 million people. This will be Brazil’s peak population. In subsequent years, the population will stop growing and actually begin to fall. By 2060, the population will have decreased from its peak of 233 to 228 million.

Last year, the increase in absolute numbers was 1.6 million, twice the growth that was registered for this year. There are several reasons for this slowing increase. The primary reason is a reduction in the fertility rate. Brazilian women on average are having fewer children than in the past. Additionally, women are getting pregnant later, and relationships between older men and younger women are decreasing.

[The research for this article comes from Folha de S. Paulo.]

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