Thathiana Gurgel – The Growing Middle Class Of Brazil’s Slums


Ills.: May, 2014. Brazil’s burgeoning middle class have an important place in the country’s slums. This finding is part of a survey released by the newly created Instituto Data Favela which established that, in 2013, 65% of the country’s slum-dwellers belonged to the middle class. In 2003, this proportion was 33%.

Celso Athayde, creator of youth group Central Única de Favelas (CUFA) and Instituto Data Favela, explains that the National Department of Strategic Affairs considers a family to be middle class, or ‘class C’ when their monthly income is in the range of R$1,064 to R$4,591 (US$480 to $2,060). “But we are not only interested in the middle class,” he argues, “We want to benefit all community residents through sustainable and comprehensive development, achieved through economic avenues.”

Somewhat inevitably, this research also showed that the lower classes have decreased in Brazil’s slums. Class D (where income is between R$768 and R$1,064 ) and class E (income less than R$768) fell from 65% in 2003 to 32% in 2013. Athayde believes this was achieved by an overall reduction in extreme poverty driven by the economic growth experienced across the country in recent years, which in turn has resulted in an increase of employment and entrepreneurship among the population.

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