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By Entry Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Brazil
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Map of Brazil
IntroductionTop
Background:Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil overcame more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country when in 1985 the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.
GeographyTop
Location:Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
Geographic coordinates:10 00 S, 55 00 W
Map references:South America
Area:total: 8,511,965 sq km
land: 8,456,510 sq km
water: 55,455 sq km
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo

Area - comparative:slightly smaller than the US
Land boundaries:total: 14,691 km
border countries: Argentina 1,224 km, Bolivia 3,400 km, Colombia 1,643 km, French Guiana 673 km, Guyana 1,119 km, Paraguay 1,290 km, Peru 1,560 km, Suriname 597 km, Uruguay 985 km, Venezuela 2,200 km

Coastline:7,491 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin

Climate:mostly tropical, but temperate in south
Terrain:mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico da Neblina 3,014 m

Natural resources:bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber
Land use:arable land: 6.96%
permanent crops: 0.9%
other: 92.15% (2001)

Irrigated land:26,560 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
Environment - current issues:deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities; wetland degradation; severe oil spills
Environment - international agreements:party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador
PeopleTop
Population:186,112,794
note: Brazil took a count in August 2000, which reported a population of 169,799,170; that figure was about 3.3% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, and is close to the implied underenumeration of 4.6% for the 1991 census; estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:0-14 years: 26.1% (male 24,789,495/female 23,842,715)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 62,669,392/female 63,719,631)
65 years and over: 6% (male 4,549,552/female 6,542,009) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 27.81 years
male: 27.06 years
female: 28.57 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:1.06% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:16.83 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:6.15 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 29.61 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 33.37 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 71.69 years
male: 67.74 years
female: 75.85 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.93 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:660,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:15,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality:noun: Brazilian(s)
adjective: Brazilian

Ethnic groups:white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2000 census)
Religions:Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spriritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census)
Languages:Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 86.1%
female: 86.6% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazil
local long form: Republica Federativa do Brasil
local short form: Brasil

Government type:federative republic
Capital:Brasilia
Administrative divisions:26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins
Independence:7 September 1822 (from Portugal)
National holiday:Independence Day, 7 September (1822)
Constitution:5 October 1988
Legal system:based on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:voluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70; compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age; note - military conscripts do not vote
Executive branch:chief of state: President Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 6 October 2002 (next to be held 1 October 2006, with a runoff on 29 October 2006 if necessary); runoff election held 27 October 2002
election results: in runoff election 27 October 2002, Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA (PT) elected with 61.3% of the vote; Jose SERRA (PSDB) 38.7%

Legislative branch:bicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal (81 seats; three members from each state and federal district elected according to the principle of majority to serve eight-year terms; one-third elected after a four-year period, two-thirds elected after the next four-year period) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara dos Deputados (513 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Federal Senate - last held 6 October 2002 for two-thirds of the Senate (next to be held October 2006 for one-third of the Senate); Chamber of Deputies - last held 6 October 2002 (next to be held October 2006)
election results: Federal Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PMBD 19, PFL 19, PT 14, PSDB 11, PDT 5, PSB 4, PL 3, PTB 3, PPS 1, PSD 1, PP 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PT 91, PFL 84, PMDB 74, PSDB 71, PP 49, PL 26, PTB 26, PSB 22, PDT 21, PPS 15, PCdoB 12, PRONA 6, PV 5, other 11; note - many congressmen have changed party affiliation since the most recent election

Judicial branch:Supreme Federal Tribunal (11 ministers are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate); Higher Tribunal of Justice; Regional Federal Tribunals (judges are appointed for life); note - though appointed "for life," judges, like all federal employees, have a mandatory retirement age of 70
Political parties and leaders:Brazilian Democratic Movement Party or PMDB [Federal Deputy Michel TEMER]; Brazilian Labor Party or PTB [Federal Deputy Roberto JEFFERSON]; Brazilian Social Democracy Party or PSDB [Senator Eduardo AZAREDO]; Brazilian Socialist Party or PSB [Federal Deputy Miguel ARRAES]; Communist Party of Brazil or PCdoB [Renato RABELO]; Democratic Labor Party or PDT [Carlos LUPI]; Democratic Socialist Party or PSD [Pedro Miguel SANTANA LOPES]; Green Party or PV [Jose Luiz de Franca PENNA]; Liberal Front Party or PFL [Senator Jorge BORNHAUSEN]; Liberal Party or PL [Federal Deputy Valdemar COSTA Neto]; National Order Reconstruction Party or PRONA [Federal Deputy Dr. Eneas CARNEIRO]; Popular Socialist Party or PPS [Federal Deputy Roberto FREIRE]; Progressive Party or PP [Federal Deputy Pedro CORREA]; Social Christian Party or PSC [Vitor Jorge ABDALA NOSSEIS]; Worker's Party or PT [Jose GENOINO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:Landless Worker's Movement; labor unions and federations; large farmers' associations; religious groups including evangelical christian churches and the Catholic Church
International organization participation:AfDB, BIS, CSN, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINUSTAH, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNMISET, UNMOVIC, UNOCI, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Flag description:green with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress)
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:Possessing large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets. From 2001-03 real wages fell and Brazil's economy grew, on average, only 2.2% per year, as the country absorbed a series of domestic and international economic shocks. That Brazil absorbed these shocks without financial collapse is a tribute to the resiliency of the Brazilian economy and the economic program put in place by former President CARDOSO and strengthened by President LULA DA SILVA. In 2004, Brazil enjoyed more robust growth that yielded increases in employment and real wages. The three pillars of the economic program are a floating exchange rate, an inflation-targeting regime, and tight fiscal policy, all reinforced by a series of IMF programs. The currency depreciated sharply in 2001 and 2002, which contributed to a dramatic current account adjustment: in 2003 and 2004, Brazil ran record trade surpluses and recorded its first current account surpluses since 1992. Productivity gains - particularly in agriculture - also contributed to the surge in exports, and Brazil in 2004 surpassed the previous year's record export level and again posted a current account surplus. While economic management has been good, there remain important economic vulnerabilities. The most significant are debt-related: the government's largely domestic debt increased steadily from 1994 to 2003 - straining government finances - before falling as a percentage of GDP in 2004, while Brazil's foreign debt (a mix of private and public debt) is large in relation to Brazil's small (but growing) export base. Another challenge is maintaining economic growth over a period of time to generate employment and make the government debt burden more manageable.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $1.492 trillion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:5.1% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $8,100 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 10.1%
industry: 38.6%
services: 51.3% (2004 est.)

Labor force:89 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 20%, industry 14%, services 66% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:11.5% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:22% (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 48% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:60.7 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):7.6% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):19.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $140.6 billion
expenditures: $172.4 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004)

Public debt:52% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef
Industries:textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment
Industrial production growth rate:6% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:339 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 8.3%
hydro: 82.7%
nuclear: 4.4%
other: 4.6% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:351.9 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:7 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:36.58 billion kWh; note - supplied by Paraguay (2002)
Oil - production:1.788 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:2.199 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:13.9 billion bbl (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:5.95 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:9.59 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:3.64 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:221.7 billion cu m (2004)
Current account balance:$8 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$95 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee, autos
Exports - partners:US 21.2%, China 7.8%, Argentina 6%, Germany 5.1%, Netherlands 4.8% (2004)
Imports:$61 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil
Imports - partners:US 22.4%, Germany 9.2%, Argentina 8.1%, China 5.5% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$52.94 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$219.8 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):real (BRL)
Currency code:BRL
Exchange rates:reals per US dollar - 2.9251 (2004), 3.0771 (2003), 2.9208 (2002), 2.3577 (2001), 1.8301 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:38.81 million (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:46,373,300 (2003)
Telephone system:general assessment: good working system
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations
international: country code - 55; 3 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region east), connected by microwave relay system to Mercosur Brazilsat B3 satellite earth station

Radio broadcast stations:AM 1,365, FM 296, shortwave 161 (of which 91 are collocated with AM stations) (1999)
Radios:71 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:138 (1997)
Televisions:36.5 million (1997)
Internet country code:.br
Internet hosts:3,163,349 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):50 (2000)
Internet users:14.3 million (2002)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 29,412 km (1,567 km electrified)
broad gauge: 4,907 km 1.600-m gauge (908 km electrified)
standard gauge: 194 km 1.440-m gauge
narrow gauge: 23,915 km 1.000-m gauge (581 km electrified)
dual gauge: 396 km 1.000-m and 1.600-m gauges (three rails) (78 km electrified) (2004)

Highways:total: 1,724,929 km
paved: 94,871 km
unpaved: 1,630,058 km (2000)

Waterways:50,000 km (most in areas remote from industry and population) (2004)
Pipelines:condensate/gas 244 km; gas 10,739 km; liquid petroleum gas 341 km; oil 5,212 km; refined products 4,755 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Gebig, Itaqui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande, San Sebasttiao, Santos, Sepetiba Terminal, Tubarao, Vitoria
Merchant marine:total: 150 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,961,431 GRT/4,725,267 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 28, cargo 25, chemical tanker 7, combination ore/oil 2, container 7, liquefied gas 12, passenger/cargo 12, petroleum tanker 48, roll on/roll off 9
foreign-owned: 17 (Chile 2, Germany 7, Norway 1, Spain 7)
registered in other countries: 8 (2005)

Airports:4,136 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 698
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 23
1,524 to 2,437 m: 158
914 to 1,523 m: 461
under 914 m: 49 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 3,438
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 78
914 to 1,523 m: 1,579
under 914 m: 1,780 (2004 est.)

Heliports:417 (2004 est.)
MilitaryTop
Military branches:Brazilian Army, Brazilian Navy (includes Naval Air and Marines), Brazilian Air Force (FAB)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:19 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 17 years of age for voluntary service (2001)
Military manpower - availability:males age 19-49: 45,586,036 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 19-49: 33,119,098 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 1,785,930 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$11 billion (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.8% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations; uncontested dispute with Uruguay over certain islands in the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada boundary streams and the resulting tripoint with Argentina; in 2004 Brazil submitted its claims to UNCLOS to extend its maritime continental margin
Illicit drugs:illicit producer of cannabis; minor coca cultivation in the Amazon region, used for domestic consumption; government has a large-scale eradication program to control cannabis; important transshipment country for Bolivian, Colombian, and Peruvian cocaine headed for Europe and the US; also used by traffickers as a way station for narcotics air transshipments between Peru and Colombia; upsurge in drug-related violence and weapons smuggling; important market for Colombian, Bolivian, and Peruvian cocaine; illicit narcotics proceeds earned in Brazil are often laundered through the financial system; significant illicit financial activity in the Tri-Border Area

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