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Elderly citizens could swing Brazil’s election

. May 21, 2018
Elderly citizens could swing Brazil’s election Older voters could decide Brazil’s election. Photo: PxHere
Elderly citizens could swing Brazil’s election

Older voters could decide Brazil’s election. Photo: PxHere

Brazil is no longer a country of young people. Latin America’s largest economy is undergoing a profound and rapid demographic transition. In January, The Brazilian Report discussed the economic challenges to Brazil presented by this change – especially when considering the pension system deficit. Now, we’re taking a look at the electoral repercussions.

Elderly citizens (defined as 60 years or above) already account for 18.6 percent of the voting poll. That represents 27.3 million votes, and could swing a race as thigh as this year’s. Meanwhile, youths between 16 and 24 now represent 15.3 percent of voter – that is, 22.4 million people.

</p> <p>According to estimates by José Eustáquio Alves of the National Statistics School, which operates under the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, Brazil will officially be an “old country” by 2031, when the amount of elderly citizens surpasses that of children up to 14 years old.</p> <p>The electorate has rapidly changed since the 1998 election, when elderly citizens accounted for 13.2 percent of the total. In 20 years, that rate went up by 3.8 percentage points. In 12 years, elderly citizens will be twice as numerous as those up to 24 years old.</p> <p>[CHART]</p> <h3>What impact will the elderly have in Brazil’s election?</h3> <p>According to the University of Campinas’ Public Opinion Center, voters over 55 years old tend to oppose same-sex marriage and the legalization of abortions and drugs more than other age groups. However, they appreciate democratic institutions more than their younger counterparts. Elderly voters also tend to be drawn to more centrist figures.</p> <p>In scenarios where Lula is present, extreme-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, for instance, is polling at 19 percent among voters up to 24 years old. His numbers are cut in half among voters of 60 or more.</p> <p>The exact opposite happens to centrist figures as Geraldo Alckmin, on the right, and Ciro Gomes, on the left. Alckmin is polling at 4 percent among the youngsters – but hikes to 8 percent among older voters. Ciro jumps from 3 to 6 percent.</p> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="ef8e8373-b54b-48f7-9287-500d6290d5d2" data-type="interactive"></div><script>!function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?"http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement("script");a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","//e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js");</script> <p>Some pundits and researchers attribute that to the <a href="https://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2014/12/08/opinion/1418042130_286849.html">memory</a> of the dictatorship. Young voters have always lived under democracy – albeit a problematic one. Older voters, however, have witnessed the <a href="https://brazilian.report/2018/05/11/cia-document-brazil/">era of the generals</a>, and are thus less attracted to radicals on either end of the political spectrum.</p> <p>But the impact of older voters on Brazil’s election is unknown. Abstention among this age group – which is not obligated to vote – is higher than other age groups. In some states, abstention rates among the elderly climbed to 70 percent during the 2016 municipal elections.</p> <p>In presidential elections, however, these voters are more prone to showing up. In both 2010 and 2014, nearly 70 percent of elderly voters cast their ballots.</p> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="55cb0910-27a9-4add-8529-49177dbe9022" data-type="interactive"></div><script>!function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?"http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement("script");a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","//e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js");</script> <h3>A rapid aging process</h3> <p>Marcos Lisboa, President of São Paulo’s Insper Business School, <a href="https://www.nexojornal.com.br/colunistas/2016/Ficamos-velhos-antes-de-nos-tornarmos-ricos">has recently stated</a> that the number of people over 65 years old has grown by a rate of 3.5 percent each year.</p> <p>And those predictions are backed by data from the U.S. National Institute on Aging. Brazil’s population is aging at a rate six times faster than that of France. In about 20 years, Brazilians over 65 will represent 14 percent of the population. In 2010, meanwhile, there were 10 active workers for each senior citizen.</p> <p><div class="infogram-embed" data-id="a5e999fb-d637-418c-95d7-fce7c9c3aad9" data-type="interactive"></div><script>!function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?"http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement("script");a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","//e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js");</script> 

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Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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