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The new working class


Learn more about Brazil’s new C Class

The social rise of millions of Brazilians has brought to light the prejudices of minority sectors of society that are uncomfortable sharing space, once held exclusively by certain elitist groups, with Brazil’s working people: doormen, manicurists, construction workers, couriers, mechanics, shop workers, retired people. People who work hard to earn their money and have every right to consume, travel and go to places where they had no access before Lula’s and Dilma’s governments.

The airport is an emblematic public space of this new moment. In December 2004, the total number of paying passengers on domestic flights was 2.6 million. This number tripled by December 2013, reaching 8.2 million passengers. Certainly many of them made the first-ever airplane trip of their lives, but not the last. In the words of economist João Sicsú: "People who migrated to the Southeast by bus now return to the Northeast by airplane to visit their relatives."

The voices of the Middle Class
Employment and access to consumption

Reduction of inequalities

More job opportunities and higher wages have benefited segments of Brazilian society that were historically marginalized: blacks, people in the North and Northeast, rural workers. Of every 100 people who joined the C class between 2002 and 2012, 75 were black or mixed race - that is, three out of four people. In the Northeast, the C class has grown from 22% to 42% of total population, according to the Secretariat for Strategic Affairs of the Presidency, in a study entitled Middle Voices of the Middle Class.

In rural areas, gains were also impressive: C class doubled from 21% to 42% of the population. The economic and social policies of Lula and Dilma, thus, also contributed to a reduction of inequalities between the countryside and the city.

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68% of C Class youths studied more than their parents

A path of opportunity opened up for millions of young people during the Lula and Dilma governments, with more spaces in primary and middle schools, public and private universities and technical schools. (See here). And young people are taking advantage of the open doors to qualify and be better positioned for the labor market. The Data Popular research institute indicates that 68% of youths in C class studied more than their parents, while this is true for only 10% of A class.

According to Renato Meireles, managing partner of Data Popular: "While the predominant parental occupations consisted of menial, domestic and construction jobs, their children found employment in professions mostly focused on sales, which requires more education, gained through the entry of young people in universities. Young people are better prepared for the scenario emerging classes."

For every R$ 100.00 that the parents in the C Class earn, the child earns another R$ 53.00. This is reflected in the purchasing power of these young people (between 18 and 35), which reached R$ 129.9 billion, according to data collected by Data Popular. This amount is more than the sum of young people from high and low classes together, which is, respectively, R$ 80 billion and R$ 19.9 billion. The finding was published the study: The rolezinho and middle class youth.

C class youths spend more than those of the other social classes
C Class doubled in size in the Brazilian favelas

Another survey by Data Popular Institute, in partnership with the Central Unica das Favelas (CUFA), of 2,000 residents of 63 Brazilian favelas shows that the C class has doubled in size in these communities over the last decade, similar to the growth seen in the country as a whole. The average salary is R$ 910.00. Improved employment and higher income boosted consumption: half of households has plasma or LCD TVs, computers and microwaves. Some 99% of residents have refrigerators, 91% have an iron, 20% own a car and 13% a bike.

The annual income of the 11.7 million Brazilians that live in favelas – a population greater than that of Rio Grande do Sul, the fifth most populous state in the country – is estimated to total R$63.2 billion (the equivalent to the total consumption of families in Paraguay and Bolivia.)

The data show that 59% of the residents of favelas do not yet have a bank account and that 65% do not have a credit card.  Informal practices, such as securitized payments continue.  The survey shows that from 203 to 2013, the percentage of favela residents over ten years of age in the labor market increased from 49% to 54%

Learn more: here and here.