Brazil in numbers

February 4, 2010

From  useful to futile, numbers that help explaining the country.

  • 43% of adults that live in state capitals are overweight.
  • Those who have access to the internet spent 2.8 days connected in the month of September.
  • 9% of the kids born in 2008 were not registered.
  • 473 million reais ( 256.6 million dollars or 184.5 million euros) were collected by the government of the city of São Paulo thanks to driving and parking tickets. 99% of the Brazilian cities have budgets lower than that.
  • 57% of the inhabitants of the city of São Paulo would like to move away (Is this related to the previous number? Maybe).
  • Brazil is the 88th country in the education ranking produced by Unesco. Paraguay and Bolivia are in better shape.
  • 1 in 5 Brazilians that have a formal job works for the public service.
  • President Lula spent 87 days abroad in 2009 – a personal record.
  • 9 in 10 Brazilians have a cell phone.
  • 500 million reais (271.3 million dollars or 195 million euros) will be spent to fix up Maracanã stadium, in Rio, for the 2014 World Soccer Cup.
  • The Brazilian delegation to the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen last December had 743 members. It was three times bigger than the American delegation.
  • 1819 houses and buildings at Brazilian roadsides have been used for child prostitution. It’s one every 27 kilometers.

Source: recent editions of Veja magazine



  1. “1819 houses and buildings at Brazilian roadsides have been used for child prostitution. It’s one every 27 kilometers.”

    That sounds to me like a misreading of the Polícia Rodoviaria’s latest research which states that 1819 establishments are vulnerable to child prostituion.

    A completely different thing when one considers the fact that the police consider “vulnerable to child prostitution” to mean pretty much any place where kids circulate among adults without the direct supervision of their parents.

    This, of course, means that every little roadside venda in interior Brazil is considered to be “vulnerable to child prostitution”.

    Now, I could be wrong on this one, but the only stats I’ve heard regarding this thing come from that PR study.

    So this looks to be an interesting case of how a social panic is being created out of nothing.

    • Thaddeus, I didn’t see the document you mention – would love to -, so I went back to my secondary source, Veja, to check if I mistranslated their note. Veja says: “1819 endereços localizados às margens de estradas federais brasileiras já foram palco de casos de prostituição infantil”. So, I think my translation was reasonably faithful. Now, how faithful was Veja reproducing the Polícia Rodoviária report? Apparently, not that faithful. It wouldn’t be the first time.

  2. Yeah, I didn’t figure it was your fault, Regina. Veja and Globo have a long history of “mistakenly” distorting this sort of info.

    The PR report came out in 2008. If you can, please shoot me the Veja article reference because I’m documenting this sort of thing.

    The PR obviously did not have the resources to confirm whether or not these places were actually being USED as prostitution connections. They simply mentioned that they COULD be.

    Now, I could be wrong. Maybe the PR did come out with something else. I very much doubt it, however.

    Note the slightly different language used here to describe the same report:

    “No total, foram identificados 1.819 pontos considerados “vulneráveis” para a exploração sexual de menores. Os principais pontos de prostituição são postos de combustíveis, bares, boates, restaurantes ou mesmo o acostamento das rodovias. Esta é a quarta edição do estudo, feito pela PRF em parceria com a OIT (Organização Internacional do Trabalho).”

    Now, I’ve looked at several of these federal studies, including the infamous PESTRAF, and usually the methodology is quite week. I’d lay dollars to donuts that this study, reported here, uses the same methodology as the one I saw in 2007: “vulnerable” is defined as any place were kids interact with adults w/o their guardians’ direct supervision. That’s very different from 1819 points where child prostitution occurs.

    Unless I’m VERY mistaken, there aren’t even 1819 individual documented cases of child prostitution in Brazil. This is the police shipping the media into a moral panic, not a pondered study of the sexual exploitation of children in brazil.

    • The note appeared in the November 11th edition – page 79. You know, I remember seeing some other source reproducing this info in the same way as Veja – I thought it was Repórter Social news agency, but their website seems to be off.
      In the past I had to monitor cases of child labor (not specifically prostitution), and it is true there is virtually no documentation about that either.

  3. The 1819 number has been bandied about the media a lot, but it all comes from the same source – a source, I should add, whose methodology and results have yet to be made accessible to the public.

    This is all very remaniscent of the old street chidren panic. Remember when Brazil had hundreds – no, thousands – nay, millions – of street kids?

    Turns out the RdJ has less than 2000 after all is said and done. But hel,, for years people were making hey while the sun shined by screaming about the scandal of it all.

    • I just got a new list – it is amazing, they are so many. “É mole, mas é meu” (It’s bland, but it’s mine), “Cachorro Cansado” (Tired Dog), “Vem que sou Facinha” (Come, I am easy). Cariocas can be low in a tender way. I love it.

  4. “É mole mas é meu” would perhaps be better translated as “It’s soft, but it’s mine”.

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