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Demographics, Values and Beliefs of the Brazilian Population

What are the demographics of Brazil(e.g., total population, age and gender distribution, rate of population growth, urban vs. rural population, etc.)?

How many people are there per square mile?

What was the population 20 years ago? 40 years ago?

Summarize the culture of Brazil. What are the typical values and beliefs shared by the population?

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you have asked for the basic demographics of the country of Brazil and what cultural beliefs and values are shared by the Brazilian people. Actual demographic numbers below have been either taken from or estimated by the CIA World Factbook, 2005 edition.

1. Current total population is estimated at 186,112,794 (July 2005)

Brazil last took an official 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.). However, there is also a dramatic decrease in fertility rates since the 70's

2. Age and Gender distribution:

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.)

3. Population growth rate

1.06% (2005 est.)

4. Urban population in 2003 (last count) 148,090,000
Rural population in 2003 (last count) 30,380,000

5. Population in 1985: 135,260,000
Population in 1965: 72,500,000 (est. since the only counts were made in 1955 and 1975)

6. Cultural values and beliefs

To gain a complete understanding of Brazilian cultural values and beliefs, please read the article below 'FAMILY AND SOCIALIZATION FACTORS IN BRAZIL: AN OVERVIEW' written by Maria Auxiliadora Dessen and Clà¡udio V. Torres, University of Brasà­lia, Brazil, 2002


This chapter examines social factors and their impact on the socialization process within Brazilian families. It is divided in to four sections. The first includes a brief description of Brazilian culture and its diversity, focusing on the five sub-cultures and their various characteristics. The second section presents an overview about families in Brazil, emphasizing their origins from a historical and sociological perspective and attempting to depict the changes in their roles during the 20th century. Thirdly, we review studies conducted with working and middle class families discussing parent-child relationships and presenting a picture of the socialization process concerning the work, school, and home environments in very poor families. Finally, it is highlighted the necessity of increasing studies on the family socialization process in Brazil, bearing in mind the country's cultural diversity.

Brazilian Culture and its Diversity

Brazil can be considered as a "big family", with few formal rules, but with its members emphasizing conformity and adaptation to social rules (CÆ'ndido, 1972; Strohschneider & Gà¼ss, 1998). In other words, Brazilians have a tendency to accept situations as given, without inquiring about their causes, although they try to solve problems and difficult situations through improvisation. According to Pearson and Stephan (1998), Brazilians are significantly more collectivist than Americans and prefer a vertical cultural pattern, a term based upon the concepts defined by Triandis (1995) and Triandis and Gelfand (1998). Torres and Dessen (2002, p. 8) argue for "the fact that Brazilians see themselves as members of an in-group, that they accept inequality and differences in status (i.e., social hierarchy), and that they have high-income stratification (i.e., ratio of high and low income)".

Despite cultural homogeneity on one level, Brazil has huge cultural diversity. Its wide territorial area (8,547,403.5 square kilometer), its big population (176.1 million inhabitants, in 2000) formed by both European immigration and the African slave trade, and its extensive variety of climate and vegetation, are major contributors to the division of Brazilian culture into five sub-cultures, as proposed by Ribeiro (1997). The first sub-culture is denominated "crioula". It is observed in the Northeast region of the country whose history was constructed by African slaves who worked under the orders of the Portuguese colonizers. The second one is called "cabloca", in the North region, located in the Brazilian Amazon rain forest. Natives and non-voluntary immigrants like the African slaves are the remaining inhabitants of this sub-culture. Both sub-cultures, "cabloca" and "crioula", are characterized by an authoritarian and patriarchal social system emphasizing group norms and group loyalty. Torres and Dessen (2002) suggested that these regions have a preference for the vertical-collectivist cultural pattern, with people accepting inequality, rather than seeing each other as equals.

The third and fourth sub-cultures described by Ribeiro (1997) are labeled "caipira" and "ga£cha", concentrated, respectively, in the Southeast, particularly in the state of Sà£o Paulo, and South region of the country. Both of them are distinct social groups composed of descendents of the large European immigration of the 17th and 18th centuries, especially Italians and Germans. The first sub-culture, "caipira", was devoted to coffee farms in the 18th century and, has subsequently become industrialized, while the second, "ga£cha", continues to be devoted to cattle production and sugar cane. Despite industrialization in these two regions, they still retain some European cultural characteristics. Torres and Dessen (2002) proposed that both regions would tend to prefer a vertical-individualist cultural pattern, with individuals who do not sanction the establishment of social norms that perpetuate inequality, but they recognize and accept the existence of it.

The last sub-culture is described as "sertaneja", including people from the inland part of the Northeast and, particularly, from the savannas of the central area of Brazil. The development of this region has been remarkable since the country's administrative capital was transferred from Rio de Janeiro to Brasà­lia, in 1960. Although this region was quite empty until that time, Torres and Dessen (2002) point out that the very emergence of a new city endorsed autonomy and social status differences. On the other hand, there are large rural sections in this area, with small populations devoted to subsistence. Thus, this region can be characterized by a preference for both vertical-individualism and vertical-collectivism patterns.

Is the Brazilian family affected by this cultural diversity? Is the family important for Brazilians? Has its roles changed drastically in recent decades? What is the socialization factors in Brazil and their implications for Brazilian children's development? Next, we will try briefly to answer these questions emphasizing the history of the organization of the Brazilian family.

Brazilian Families: A Historical and Sociological Overview

Models of family organization

There is not a single model of family organization in Brazilian society (Neder, 1998). The first one described here is that from the family of African origin. The Africans who were taken to Brazil from 1500 to 1850 (i.e., from its discovery until the end of the slave trade) came from several African cultural groups representing various types of family organizations - matriarchal, patriarchal, polygamous etc. Moreover, these had large differences in religion, language and tradition. Living and working in Brazil, the "slave family" was more affected by political-institutional forces than cultural factors. For example, the sale of slaves from their "owners" caused the separation of couples, parents, and their offspring. Today, this pattern of loose family bonds can be seen in the low-income classes of African origin, mainly in families from the states of the Northeast of the country.

The second model of family, the traditional family, was characterized by a patriarchal system formed by people of Iberian origin. These families, whose differentiation depended on the regional idiosyncrasies (South-North), lived alongside those of African origin. In 1889, the proclamation of the Republic initiated a reorganization of the family. The ensuing Republican military project set up norms for the "new family". This was to legitimize only the white family of European origin and, as depicted by the Catholic Church, a patriarchal unit, with a clear presence of morality and social control (Neder, 1998).

In the Republican project did not have a specific policy towards the family and education in low class families of African origin. This policy continues in today's democratic Brazil - 20 years after democracy was established. However, over the last two decades, the family has gradually regained its place a political debate over service provision and social inclusion (Carvalho, 2000). It is also now agreed that families should play their role in the child's socialization, especially in terms of exerting authority and setting limits.

According to Romanelli (2000), the model of a Brazilian contemporary family includes a hierarchical structure, with husband/father exerting authority and power over the wife and children, a work division separating 'masculine' from 'feminine' tasks, and attribution and the bigger proximity between the mother and the children. Despite this overall structural similarity, the organization of the Brazilian family is also characterized by a diversity of forms of sociability, as described in this chapter.

The contemporary family has been influenced by deep demographic, economic, and social changes, particularly since the 1940s, as discussed below. These factors have resulted in changes in their structural relations and in the redefinition of the traditional model of the nuclear family. For example, in 1990, this model represented only 61% of homes in Brazil and the average number of persons per family was 4.1, both in urban and rural areas. It is important to stress that differences between regions are noticeable. For instance, families from the North and Northeast regions have the largest families in the country (4.5) with 2.5 children per family whereas the figures from the Southeast region are 3.9 and 1.9, respectively.

Social factors and changes in the role of the Brazilian ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes the basic demographics of the country of Brazil and what cultural beliefs and values are shared by the Brazilian people.