Published On: February 18, 2015

Living Longer in Brazil

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The average life expectancy in Brazil rose by nearly four months in 2014 alone. Life expectancy in Brazil now stands at 74.9 years, according to the National Statistical Institute. Back in 1980, a Brazilian could expect to live only 62.5 years, but that has since risen to 78.6 for women and 71.3 for men.

Additionally, infant mortality for children under 12 months fell to 15 per 1,000 live births in 2013 from 17.2 in 2012. By comparison, the 1980 figure stood at 69.1. The Statistics Institute says the improvements in infant mortality and longevity primarily are due to better medical care, sanitation, and infant nutrition, as well as better education.

The mortality rate for men is higher than women across all age ranges in Brazil, notably between the ages of 20 and 25, when it surpasses the female equivalent by a factor of 4.5. “External causes,” notably violence but also traffic accidents, are blamed for the sharp difference.

smokersOne factor that is certainly contributing to better health and longevity among Brazilians is the decrease in cigarette smoking. The number of smokers in Brazil fell 20.5 percent between 2008 and 2013, the Health Ministry said in a wide-ranging report on tobacco use released in December.

Some 14.7 percent of adults said in a survey that they were smokers, down from the 18.5 percent who described themselves as smokers in 2008, the ministry said. More than 50 percent of smokers said they tried to quit in the past 12 months, the report, which was prepared by the Health Ministry and the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, or IBGE, said.

The highest smoking rates were found among men, at 18.9 percent, and those in the 40-59 age group, at 19.4 percent, as well as those who did not complete their basic education, at 20.2 percent. Only 8.8 percent of people who completed a university education smoke.

Smoking causes about 200,000 deaths annually in Brazil, the world’s second-largest tobacco producer, the Health Ministry said. The report, the broadest ever conducted on tobacco use in Brazil, is based on a survey of nearly 63,000 people over the age of 18.

 unhappy retiree

Unfortunately, there is one element of bad news to this story of living longer. Retirees in Brazil will now have their government social security benefits reduced by an average of 0.65%. The new rule comes into effect for all those who retire in 2015. The percentage is measured by the time of individual contribution.

The Mortality Table calculated by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) serves as a parameter for the Ministry of Social Security (INSS) in estimating the social security factor, which determines how much pensions can be reduced in order to prevent early retirement.

The calculation considers the age of retirement, the length of contribution, and the remaining life expectancy; in other words, how long the worker will live considering their age at the time they claim the benefit.

To retire through length of contribution, men must prove that they have contributed to social security for 35 years. For women, the minimum period required is 30 years. To retire through age, men must be at least 65, while women must be at least 60. In this case, the social security factor is only applied if it is of benefit to the worker.

[This article comes from the AFP news agency, EFE news agency, and Folha de São Paulo. It was edited by CIE.]

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