Pandemic pushed 4.3 million to very low income in major Brazilian cities

Pandemic income major cities
Slum in Manaus. Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock

In the space of a year, the Covid-19 pandemic pushed 4.3 million people living in Brazil’s metropolitan regions to very low income brackets, according to the fourth edition of the Inequality in Metropolises bulletin, produced using data from the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD). 

The report showed that in the first quarter of 2020 — when Brazil was at the beginning of the pandemic crisis — metropolitan regions had a total of 20.2 million people in households with a per capita income lower than one-quarter of the minimum wage. In the same period of this year, however, this total rose to 24.5 million. One-quarter of the Brazilian minimum wage corresponds to BRL 275 (USD 52.50), while this figure was BRL 261.25 in 2020.

The study also showed that the poorest 40 percent of Brazilians living in metropolitan regions suffered the largest income loss. Comparing 2020’s first quarter to the same period of last year, this group’s income fell 33.4 percent (from BRL 233.94 to BRL 155.89), while the richest 10 percent of the population suffered income losses of only 4.8 percent (from BRL 6,921.41 to BRL 6,590.05 in 2021).