Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world in both area and population; it borders every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Located in eastern South America, Brazil has an Atlantic coastline of more than 4,600 miles.

  • Population: 198,656,000
  • Life Expectancy: 74 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 97%
  • School Enrollment: 95%
  • Land Mass: 3,287,612 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 90%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 14/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 11,630

Facts about Brazil

Economic Development

Income distribution among Brazilians is extremely uneven; as of 2010, the country has the 10th highest income inequality in the world.


While Brazil has a universal healthcare system, corruption and poor management continue to prevent many Brazilians — especially those struggling with poverty — from receiving adequate care.


There is free primary-level education, but it is often of low quality and needs to be better evaluated and revised.

Child Protection

In rural areas, families often lack safe water, sanitation, and health services. In more urban areas, the issues of street children, child prostitution, violence, and drug abuse are widespread.

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Progress in Brazil

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2014.

  • Children and adolescents participated in workshops to learn about children rights and are now able to protect themselves from abuse.

  • To produce more family income, entrepreneurs, including women and youth, attended workshops about finding jobs and managing small businesses.

  • We organized workshops and educational activities to encourage children's reading skills and support their academic improvement.

  • Together with local youth committees, we empowered children and adolescents to participate in discussions about public policies that affect their lives.

  • Women took part in hairdressing and arts and crafts workshops that helped them increase their income and provide the basic necessities for their children.

  • Parents learned about the importance of quality education, and supported their children in attending the arts, sports, and spiritual nourishment activities we offered at schools.

  • Demonstrating Christ's love through our actions, we worked among the children and families of the community to promote peace and justice and encourage understanding.

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    World Vision in Brazil Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Brazil to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 35,000 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Brazil. Highlights include:

    • Improving healthcare access for women, children, and their surrounding communities.
    • Providing health services to children and their families along the Amazon River regions, with partners such as local churches and the ministry of health.
    • Working against child labor by creating programs to support children from 5 to 11 years old.
    • Training teachers to provide better quality education for children.
    • Helping young mothers living on the street gain access to medical care, social services, health education, and vocational training.
    • Educating youth on self-protection by setting up workshops on security-related topics.

    World Vision History in Brazil

    In 1961, World Vision began working in Brazil through child sponsorship at the Nosso Lar children’s boarding home in São Paulo. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

    • Funding orphanages during the 1960s.
    • Providing food and medical care to children and expectant mothers, offering healthcare classes, and helping families affected by drought to resettle in the 1970s.
    • Distributing supplementary water and food to families affected by drought during the early 1980s.
    • Improving a shelter for people living with HIV and AIDS and offering skills training for illiterate and unemployed women during the late 1980s.
    • Providing relief supplies to people affected by natural disasters since the 1990s.
    • Encouraging economic growth in communities through microloans and business training since the 1990s and into the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world in both area and population; it borders every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Located in eastern South America, Brazil has an Atlantic coastline of more than 4,600 miles.

    The diverse climate includes hot rainforests, arid plateaus, and temperate mountains with snowfall. Water flows through tributaries to the Amazon River, which carries one-fifth of the world’s volume of fresh water.

    Natural resources include gold, iron ore, nickel, platinum, tin, petroleum, hydropower, and timber. Brazil is a major producer of coffee and soybeans.

    The people of Brazil are culturally and racially diverse, tracing their roots to Portuguese colonists, African slaves, and indigenous tribes. More than half of Brazilians are of European descent, while nearly 40 percent are a mixture of white, black, and Amerindian. The official language is Portuguese, but Brazilians may also speak Italian, German, Japanese, and English.

    Brazilians value their diverse culture, as well as their ability to find inventive solutions to problems.


    Brazil is the only Latin American country that derives its language and culture from Portugal, which began colonization of the area in 1532. After Brazil declared independence in 1822, an empire governed the region until 1889 when an era of military rule began.

    A succession of civilian presidents ruled in the 20th century until another military administration took over. In 1985, the military government stepped down amid several protests. A new constitution went into effect in 1988, reestablishing democracy and providing for a directly elected president.

    Recent presidents have focused on industrial and agricultural development. Brazil’s wide range of natural resources and a large workforce continue to encourage economic growth in the 21st century.

    Prayer Requests for Brazil

    • Please pray for the millions of people dealing with Brazil’s worst drought in history.
    • Pray also for child protection committees that educate communities about reducing abuse.