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Flag of Brazil

Country Profile

Capital City: Brasilia (pop. 2.1 million)

Other Cities: Sao Paulo (17.9 million), Rio de Janeiro (10.7 million), Belo Horizonte (2.6 million), Salvador (2.6 million), Fortaleza (2.1 million), Recife (2.9 million), Porto Alegre (3 million), Curitiba (1.6 million).

Border countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela
related countries: Portugal

Local Time: Brazil lies within 4 different time zones.

Location: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Area: 8.5 million sq. km. (3 290 000 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than the USA
Terrain: Dense forests in northern regions including Amazon Basin; semiarid along northeast coast; mountains, hills, and rolling plains in the southwest, including Mato Grosso; and coastal lowland.

Climate: Mostly tropical or semitropical with temperate zone in the south.

Type: Federative Republic.
Independence: 7 September 1822 (from Portugal).

Nationality: Brazilian.
Population: 180 million.
GNI per capita PPP: $ 8 745 (year)
Ethnic groups: Brazil's population is derived from three main ethnic sources. To the original inhabitants (Indians) were added successive waves of Europeans (mainly Portuguese) and Africans (mostly from the sub-Saharan west coast, belonging to the Bantu and to the Sudanic (Yoruba) ethnic groups).
Religion: Roman Catholic (80%).
Language: Brazilian Portuguese.
Literacy: 81% of adult population.


Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL)

Natural resources: Iron ore, manganese, bauxite, nickel, uranium, gemstones, oil, wood, and aluminum. Brazil has 12% of the world's fresh water.

Agriculture products: Coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef.

Industries: Textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment.

Exports partners: USA 23%, Argentina 6.1%, China 6%, Netherlands 5.8%, Germany 4.2% (2003)

Imports partners: USA 20%, Argentina 9.8%, Germany 8.7%, Japan 5.2%, China 4.4% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Brazil
República Federativa do Brasil

Presidência da República

Ministério das Relações Exteriores

Diplomatic Missions
Missão do Brasil junto às Nações Unidas

Embassy of Brazil in the USA

Embassy of Brazil in the United Kingdom

Brazilian Missions Abroad

Foreign Missions in Brazil

Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística

Map of Brazil

Map of South America



Background:  Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal,
Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most
populous country in South America, Brazil has overcome more than half
a century of military intervention in the governance of the country to
pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of the interior.
Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, Brazil became
South America's leading economic power by the 1970s. Highly unequal
income distribution remains a pressing problem.

Geography Brazil

Location:  Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean

Geographic coordinates:  10 00 S, 55 00 W

Map references:  South America

Area:  total: 8,511,965 sq km land: 8,456,510 sq km note: includes
Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade,
Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo water: 55,455 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than the US

Land boundaries:  total: 14,691 km border countries: Argentina 1,224 km,
Bolivia 3,400 km, Colombia 1,643 km, French Guiana 673 km, Guyana 1,119
km, Paraguay 1,290 km, Peru 1,560 km, Suriname 597 km, Uruguay 985 km,
Venezuela 2,200 km

Coastline:  7,491 km

Maritime claims:  contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to edge of the continental margin exclusive
economic zone: 200 NM

Climate:  mostly tropical, but temperate in south

Terrain:  mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills,
mountains, and narrow coastal belt

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point:
Pico da Neblina 3,014 m

Natural resources:  bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel,
phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber

Land use:  arable land: 6% permanent crops: 2% other: 92% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  26,560 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional
frost in south

Environment - current issues:  deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the
habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous
to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water
pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities;
land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities;
wetland degradation; severe oil spills

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Antarctic-Environmental
Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic
Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered
Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea,
Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but
not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note:  largest country in South America; shares common
boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador

People Brazil

Population:  176,029,560 note: Brazil took an intercensal count in
August 1996 which reported a population of 157,079,573; that figure
was about 5% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, which
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 2002 est.)

Age structure:   28% (male 25,140,954; female 24,199,276) 15-64 years:
(male 3,992,017; female 5,863,234) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.87% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  18.08 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  9.32 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -0.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.68 male(s)/female total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  35.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   67.91 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.05 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.57% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  540,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  18,000 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Brazilian(s) adjective: Brazilian

Ethnic groups:  white (includes Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish,
Polish) 55%, mixed white and black 38%, black 6%, other (includes
Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 1%

Religions:  Roman Catholic (nominal) 80%

Languages:  Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 83.3% male: 83.3% female: 83.2% (1995 est.)

Government Brazil

Country name:  conventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazil local short form: Brasil local long form:
Republica Federativa do Brasil

Government type:  federative republic

Capital:  Brasilia

Administrative divisions:  26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1
federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas,
Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao,
Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana,
Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul,
Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins

Independence:  7 September 1822 (from Portugal)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 7 September (1822)

Constitution:  5 October 1988

Legal system:  based on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ

Suffrage:  voluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70;
compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Fernando Henrique CARDOSO
(since 1 January 1995); Vice President Marco MACIEL (since 1 January
1995); note - the president is both the chief of state and head
of government election results: Fernando Henrique CARDOSO reelected
president; percent of vote - 53% elections: president and vice president
elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election
last held 4 October 1998 (next to be held 6 October 2002) cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the president head of government: President Fernando
Henrique CARDOSO (since 1 January 1995); Vice President Marco MACIEL
(since 1 January 1995); note - the president is both the chief of state
and head of government

Legislative branch:  bicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional
consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal (81 seats; three
members from each state or federal district elected according to the
principle of majority to serve eight-year terms; one-third elected after
a four-year period, two-thirds elected after the next four-year period)
and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara dos Deputados (513 seats; members
are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
election results:  PFL 20, PSDB 16, PT 7, PPB 5, PSB 3, PDT 2, PPS 1;
Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party -
PFL 106, PSDB 99, PMDB 82, PPB 60, PT 58, PTB 31, PDT 25, PSB 19, PL
12, PCdoB 7, other 14 note:  PSDB 13, PT 7, PDT 5, PSB 4, PTB 4, PPB 2,
PPS 2, PL 1, independent 1; Chamber of Deputies - seats by party (as of
January 2002) - PFL 96, PSDB 93, PMDB 90, PT 59, PPB 49, PTB 33, PL 24,
PDT 17, PSB 16, PPS 13, PCdoB 10, other 13 elections: Federal Senate -
last held 4 October 1998 for one-third of the Senate (next to be held
6 October 2002 for two-thirds of the Senate); Chamber of Deputies -
last held 4 October 1998 (next to be held 6 October 2002)

Judicial branch:  Supreme Federal Tribunal (11 ministers are appointed by
the president and confirmed by the Senate); Higher Tribunal of Justice;
Regional Federal Tribunals (judges are appointed for life)

Political parties and leaders:  Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
or PMDB [Michel TEMER, president]; Brazilian Labor Party or PTB [Jose
Carlos MARTINEZ, president]; Brazilian Social Democracy Party or PSDB
[Senator Jose ANIBAL, president]; Brazilian Socialist Party or PSB [Miguel
ARRAES, president]; Brazilian Progressive Party or PPB [Paulo Salim
MALUF]; Communist Party of Brazil or PCdoB [Renato RABELLO, chairman];
Democratic Labor Party or PDT [Leonel BRIZOLA, president]; Liberal Front
Party or PFL [Jorge BORNHAUSEN, president]; Liberal Party or PL [Deputy
Valdemar COSTA Neto, president]; Popular Socialist Party or PPS [Senator
Roberto FREIRE, president]; Worker's Party or PT [Jose DIRCEU, president]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  left wing of the Catholic Church,
Landless Worker's Movement, and labor unions allied to leftist Worker's
Party are critical of government's social and economic policies

International organization participation:  AfDB, BIS, CCC, ECLAC, FAO,
G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA,
IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO,
ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Rubens Antonio BARBOSA FAX: [1] (202) 238-2827 consulate(s) general:
Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco
chancery: 3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 telephone:
[1] (202) 238-2700

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Donna J. HRINAK embassy: Avenida das Nacoes, Quadra 801, Lote 3, Distrito
Federal Cep 70403-900, Brasilia mailing
 [55] (061) 321-7272 FAX:  consulate(s): Recife

Flag description:  green with a large yellow diamond in the center
bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one
for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern
as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with
the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress)

Economy Brazil

Economy - overview:  Possessing large and well-developed agricultural,
mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs
that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence
in world markets.  The maintenance of large current account deficits via
capital account surpluses became problematic as investors became more risk
averse to emerging market exposure as a consequence of the Asian financial
crisis in 1997 and the Russian bond default in August 1998. After crafting
a fiscal adjustment program and pledging progress on structural reform,
Brazil received a $41.5 billion IMF-led international support program in
November 1998. In January 1999, the Brazilian Central Bank announced that
the real would no longer be pegged to the US dollar. This devaluation
helped moderate the downturn in economic growth in 1999 that investors
had expressed concerns about over the summer of 1998, and the country
posted moderate GDP growth. Economic growth slowed considerably in 2001
- to less than 2% - because of a slowdown in major markets and the
hiking of interest rates by the Central Bank to combat inflationary
pressures. Investor confidence was strong at yearend 2001, in part
because of the strong recovery in the trade balance.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $1.34 trillion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1.9% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $7,400 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 9% industry: 32% services: 59%
(2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  22% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 46.7% (1997)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  59.1 (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  7.7% (2001)

Labor force:  79 million (1999 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  services 53%, agriculture 23%, industry 24%

Unemployment rate:  6.4% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $100.6 billion expenditures: $91.6 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2000)

Industries:  textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin,
steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment

Industrial production growth rate:  1% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  342.302 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 5.85% other: 3.74%
(2000) hydro: 88.97% nuclear: 1.44%

Electricity - consumption:  360.641 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  42.3 billion kWh note: supplied by Paraguay (2000)

Agriculture - products:  coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane,
cocoa, citrus; beef

Exports:  $57.8 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  manufactures, iron ore, soybeans, footwear,
coffee, autos

Exports - partners:  US 24.4%, Argentina 11.2%, Germany 8.7%, Japan 5.5%,
Italy 3.9%, Netherlands (2001)

Imports:  $57.7 billion (f.o.b., 2001)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and equipment, chemical products, oil,
electricity, autos and auto parts

Imports - partners:  US 23.2%, Argentina 11.2%, Germany 8.7%, Japan 5.5%,
Italy 3.9% (2001)

Debt - external:  $251 billion (2001)

Economic aid - recipient:  NA

Currency:  real (BRL)

Currency code:  BRL

Exchange rates:  reals per US dollar - 2.378 (January 2002), 2.358
(2001), 1.830 (2000), 1.815 (1999), 1.161 (1998), 1.078 (1997) note: from
October 1994 through 14 January 1999, the official rate was determined
by a managed float; since 15 January 1999, the official rate floats
independently with respect to the US dollar

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Brazil

Telephones - main lines in use:  17.039 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  4.4 million (1997)

Telephone system:  general assessment: good working system domestic:
extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system
with 64 earth stations international: 3 coaxial submarine cables;
satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat
(Atlantic Ocean region east), connected by microwave relay system to
Mercosur Brazilsat B3 satellite earth station

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1,365, FM 296, shortwave 161 (of which 91
are collocated with AM stations) (1999)

Radios:  71 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  138 (1997)

Televisions:  36.5 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .br

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  50 (2000)

Internet users:  11.94 million (2001)

Transportation Brazil

Railways:  total: broad gauge: 5,679 km 1.600-m gauge (1,199 km
electrified) narrow gauge: 24,666 km 1.000-m gauge (930 km electrified)
dual gauge: 336 km 1.000-m and 1.600-m gauges (three rails) standard
gauge: 194 km 1.440-m gauge note: in addition to the interurban routes
itemized above, Brazil has 247.8 km of suburban railway consisting of
170.8 km of 1.600-m gauge (75 km electrified) and 77 km of 1.000-m gauge
(1999 est.)

Highways:  total: 1.98 million km paved: 184,140 km unpaved: 1,795,860 km

Waterways:  50,000 km

Pipelines:  crude oil 2,980 km; petroleum products 4,762 km; natural
gas 4,246 km (1998)

Ports and harbors:  Belem, Fortaleza, Ilheus, Imbituba, Manaus,
Paranagua, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande, Salvador,
Santos, Vitoria

Merchant marine:  total: 165 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,662,570
GRT/5,875,933 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here
as a flag of convenience: Chile 2, Germany 6, Greece 1, Monaco 1 (2002
est.)  ships by type: bulk 32, cargo 25, chemical tanker 5, combination
ore/oil 9, container 12, liquefied gas 11, multi-functional large-load
carrier 1, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 54, roll on/roll off 10,
short-sea passenger 1

Airports:  3,365 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 627 over 3,047 m: 6 2,438 to 3,047
m: 21 1,524 to 2,437 m: 153 914 to 1,523 m: 407 under 914 m: 40 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:   1,316 under 914 m: Military Brazil

Military branches:  Brazilian Army, Brazilian Navy (includes naval air
and marines), Brazilian Air Force, Federal Police (paramilitary)

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 48,859,610 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 32,743,504
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 1,762,740
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $13.408 billion (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.9% (FY99)

Transnational Issues Brazil

Disputes - international:  uncontested dispute with Uruguay over islands
in the Rio Quarai (Rio Cuareim) and the Arroio Invernada (Arroyo de
la Invernada)

Illicit drugs:  illicit producer of cannabis; minor coca cultivation
in the Amazon region, used for domestic consumption; government
has a large-scale eradication program to control cannabis; important
transshipment country for Colombian and Peruvian cocaine headed for the
US and Europe; also used by traffickers as a way station for narcotics
air transshipments between Peru and Colombia; upsurge in drug-related
violence and weapons smuggling; important market for Colombian, Bolivian,
and Peruvian cocaine

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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