Six Brazilians have the same wealth as the poorest 100 million Brazilians; richest 5% have the same share of income as the other 95% of the population



Note from BW of Brazil: So tell me, are we still all equal? I often poke fun at this ridiculous statement that so many Brazilians utter when someone shares an experience or opinion that demonstrates that we are clearly NOT all equal. I mean, the title alone of today’s article should show you beyond any doubt that Brazil is one of the most unequal countries on the planet. I don’t know which figure is more shocking. The one that reveals that six Brazilians have the same wealth as the poorest 100 million or the fact that the richest 5% have the same share of income as the other 95% of the population. The population of Brazil right now is about 207 million people, a little more than double the 100 million figure from the first phrase. This means that about 2.17 million people have more combined income than the other 205 million. So, for that 205 million or the 100 million poorest, how is that equality working out for you?

Cena do Complexo da Maré, no Rio de Janeiro, em 2014.
Scene from the Complexo da Maré in Rio de Janeiro in 2014. Poverty has declined, but inequality is still terrifying.

Six Brazilians have the same wealth as the poorest 100 million

Courtesy of Carta Capital

Oxfam report also showed that the richest 5% share the same share of income as the other 95% of the population

By Fernando Frazão

A new report by the British NGO Oxfam on social inequality in Brazil shows that the six richest Brazilians have the same wealth as the 100 million poorest Brazilians. The data are in the report “A Distance Que Nos Une”, released on Monday, September 25th by Oxfam Brazil.

The conclusion comes from a calculation made by the NGO itself, which compares the data from the Global Wealth Databook 2016 by the Swiss bank Credit Suisse and the list of the richest people in the world produced by Forbes magazine.

According to Forbes, Jorge Paulo Lemann (AB Inbev), Joseph Safra (Safra Bank), Marcel Hermmann Telles (AB Inbev), Carlos Alberto Sicupira (AB Inbev), Eduardo Saverin (Facebook) and Ermirio Pereira de Moraes (Votorantim Group) have, together, an accumulated fortune of 88.8 billion dollars, equivalent to 277 billion Brazilian reais today.

Oxfam recalled in its report that, over the last few decades, Brazil has been able to raise the base of the social pyramid, taking millions out of poverty, but that levels of inequality are still alarming. “Despite advances, our country has not been able to get off the list of the most unequal countries in the world. The pace has been very slow and more than 16 million Brazilians still live below the poverty line,” explains Katia Maia, executive director of the NGO.

The Big Six: Jorge Paulo Lemann, Joseph Safra, Marcel Hermmann Telles, Carlos Alberto Sicupira, Eduardo Saverin and Ermirio Pereira de Moraes

According to the NGO study, between 2000 and 2016, the number of Brazilian billionaires increased from approximately 10 to 31. Together, they have a wealth of more than 135 billion dollars. More than half of the billionaires (52%) inherited family patrimony, which reveals the Brazilian state’s inability to deconcentrate wealth – something that more progressive tax systems, as seen in countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), can help do.

At the other end, estimates for the coming years are bad for Brazil about poverty. According to the World Bank, in just 2017 up to 3.6 million people are expected to fall back into poverty.

For the director of Oxfam Brazil, this situation is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by everyone so that it can be truly solved. “There is an absurd distance between the majority of the Brazilian population and the richest 1%, not only in relation to income and wealth, but also in relation to access to basic services such as health and education. Attacking this issue is everyone’s responsibility,” she says.

According to the NGO, a person who receives a monthly minimum wage would take four years working to earn the same as the richest 1% earns on average in a month, and 19 years to match a month of average income of 0.1% more rich.

The report also estimates that women will have equal income with men only in 2047 and blacks will earn the same as whites only in 2089, with the trend of the last 20 years maintaining itself. At the current pace, Brazil will take 35 years to reach the current level of income inequality in Uruguay and 75 years to reach the current level of the United Kingdom, if we maintain the average annual rate of reduction of income inequalities observed since 1988.

Also, according to Oxfam, the richest 5% share the same share of income as the other 95% of the population.

Source: Carta Capital

About Marques Travae 3273 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. Not at all surprising, but I’m glad Oxfam is documenting this and that you covered it. I imagine the ICIJ’s reports about the Panama and Paradise Papers both include even more information about Brazil’s and the rest of the globe’s superrich and their strategies for increasing their wealth and power at the expense of everyone else.

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