Brazil’s population, which today stands at 208 million people, will continue to grow over the next 30 years, when it will peak in 2047 at 233.2 million. From that point on, however, the country will see a gradual decline of its population until 2060, when it will have 228.3 million. The projections were published by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
Population growth is already shrinking in Brazil. Between 2016 and 2017, the country gained 1.6 million people – the double of what has been registered between last year and now.
A few factors explain the trend, none of which being more important than the reduction in the number of children per woman, which has been on a downward trend since the 1970s. Today at 1.77 kids per woman, the fertility rate of Brazil’s population should drop to 1.72 by 2030, according to IBGE.
In the Northeast, the zika virus outbreak helped push the number of births down by 5.1 percent in 2016. That was, however, a specific event, with little impact on statistical projections.
As in other countries, Brazilian women are having fewer children due to their increasing participation in the workplace. According to demographer Tadeu Oliveira, they have increasingly put their careers first, postponing motherhood until later in life. In 2010, pregnant Brazilians were, on average, 26.5 years old. Eight years later, the average age is at 28.8.
Rapid aging process
The study confirms the fast-paced aging process of Brazil’s population. In 20 years, Brazil will have more elderly citizens than it has children. And, in 2060, one of every four people in the country will be 65 years old or more.
Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, will be the first to experience an elderly population. For the state, the process will happen in 10 years, half of the time it will take the rest of Brazil.
Life expectancy in the country has reached 72.7 years for men and 79.8 for women. These numbers should jump to 77.9 and 84.2, respectively, by 2060. Just 110 years ago, life expectancy in Brazil was of just 33.4 years for men – nearly half of the 62.3 years in 1990. That rise is a result of increasing access to education, an enhanced public healthcare system, and improvements to public sanitation – even if there remains a lot to be desired in all of those areas.
Those stats, however, are highly dependent on socioeconomic development levels. For the northern part of Brazil, for instance, life expectancy in 2060 should reach only 77.4 years – lower than the current life expectancy for the South and Southeast, which are by far Brazil’s wealthiest regions.