The number of Brazilians categorized as middle class has risen rapidly in recent years, climbing from 34% of the population in 2004 to 54% in 2011, according to a study released by consumer finance firm Cetelem BGN and the Ipsos research institute.
Just last year, an additional 2.7 million people were added to level C of the Brazilian Association of Market Research Companies’ classification, lifting the number of Brazilians considered middle class to 103 million. According to the latest census the Brazilian population is estimated in 190 million.
That rapid upward social mobility reduced the number of people belonging to low-income sectors (levels D and E) to 45.2 million, or 24% of the population, in 2011. The year before, 47.9 million people, or 25% of the population, fell into those two categories.
Last year, 230,000 Brazilians rose from level C to the highest-income classes (A and B), which now represent 22% of the population.
According to the study, a total of 63.7 million Brazilians have enjoyed upward social mobility since 2005.
The report’s authors say the expansion of the middle class and poverty reduction are due to economic growth and increased job creation, as well as subsidy programs for poor Brazilians that Lula da Silva implemented during his 2003-2011 tenure as president.
Cetelem BGN, a unit of Paris-based banking group BNP Paribas, and Ipsos Public Affairs have jointly prepared an annual report on social mobility in Brazil since 2005.