The term ‘Third World’ is used when referring to developing countries. The countries are mostly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Third world countries were neutral during the Cold War. Even though the concept is now outdated, third world countries are associated with poor economy and non-industrialization.
Is Brazil a third world country? Yes, it is. Even though it has a few characteristics of developed countries, the country has a low per capita income, high rates of poverty, and limited access to education.
Even though Brazil is now industrialized, it is still considered a third-world country. The main factor that distinguishes developing countries from developed countries is their GDP. With a per capita GDP of $8,727, Brazil is considered a developing country. Keep reading to learn more about the country and why it is considered a third-world country.
Is Brazil a Third World Country?
Brazil is a developing country and it continues to face the challenges associated with third world countries. Some of them include; a high birth rate, high poverty rates, poor living standards, and low life expectancy.
Even though Brazil has the biggest economy in Central or South America, its GDP per capita is low. In 2016, Brazil has a population of 209.4 million. Its GDP was 1.775 trillion and the GDP per capita was $8,727. Its GDP is still below the $12, 000 threshold for developed countries.
In Brazil, the life expectancy is about 74 years. Even though it is higher than in most developing countries, it is still less than 80. The low life expectancy is caused by poor living conditions, lack of clean drinking water in some parts of the country, substandard diets, and low-quality health care.
Most primary schools in Brazil are maintained understates or municipalities. They apply a percentage of their budgets in funding education. Because of the huge disparity between the rich and poor, some parts of the country have very good schools while others have sub-standard schools. Unfortunately, many children miss school due to malnutrition. The cases of child labour are high especially in rural areas.
Housing is a problem in most cities. Because of the country’s rapid urbanization, there aren’t enough resources to accommodate the growing population. There are lots of migrants who live in temporary houses.
The houses don’t have the necessary utilities. In Brazil, the housing deficit is about seven million units. 84% of the housing deficit is focused on families that earn less than $1080 per month.
- High Poverty Levels
The poverty in Brazil is visible in the slums also known as favelas. In 2017, about 55 million Brazilians lived in poverty. In the recent past, extreme poverty has been increasing so much that it is a tourist attraction. About 40, 000 people visit Brazil every year to see the levels of poverty.
Crime is one of the country’s biggest problems. There are about 23.8 homicides per 100,000 Brazilian citizens. Other problems include; gang violence, police brutality, kidnapping, corruption, and mugging. In 2018, there were about 63,880 murders.
Even though Brazil has some social indicators of a developed country, it is not. The country has high levels of poverty, crime, and income inequality.
What Are the Main Attractions in Brazil?
Brazil is the biggest country in South America. It covers about half of the continent and is filled with unique wildlife, exotic plants, beautiful beaches, and mineral sources. The architecture is colonial and there are plenty of cultural attractions. Some of its main attractions include;
- Iguacu Falls
The Iguacu Falls are some of the country’s biggest attractions. The falls form at the point where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet. The Iguacu River drops to form 247 waterfalls. Some of the spectacular falls go as high as 100 meters. They cover such a wide area that they can’t all be seen at once.
There are lots of spectacular views and you can move to the Argentinian side for better views. The Iguacu National Park protects the falls. It is home to a diverse eco-system including over 1000 bird species, ocelots, deer, and more.
- Amazon Rainforests
The country has a wide stretch of Amazon Rainforests. The forests have a rich network of lakes, rivers, and streams. There are lots of things to do in the Amazon Rainforests. They include; jungle cruises, visiting the Rubber Plantation Museum, and exploring the jungle.
- Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro
This gem in Rio de Janeiro is hard to miss. It is a rounded rock peak that rises 394 meters. It towers over the city. Its summit is one of the major attractions. It is a great place to get a view of the city and the harbour.
- Pernambuco Beaches
Pernambuco has some of the most spectacular beaches in Brazil. It is a remote and exotic state in the northeast of the country. The towering palm trees and beautiful silver sand make Porto de Galinhas the most popular beach in Brazil.
The towns surrounding Pernambuco beaches are fun and laid-back. The must-go beaches in Pernambuco are; Porto de Galinhas, Carneiros, Itamaracá, and Baía do Sancho.
What are some interesting facts about Brazil?
- Spanish is not Widely Spoken
Many tourists in Brazil assume that Spanish is the most widely spoken language. However, that isn’t true. If you plan on visiting the country, I suggest that you learn Portuguese.
It is the country’s official language. However, many Brazilians learn English and Spanish for business purposes. English is not spoken as widely as Spanish. However, it may be possible to meet a few English-speaking in most tourist destinations.
- There are Women-Only Carriages
In Brazil’s main cities, there are women-only carriages. The rule applies during peak hours. Men are not allowed to enter those carriages. If they do, they have to pay a fine.
- The Country Makes Good Wine
Brazil makes some surprisingly good wine. Its Brut Champenoise from the south is one of the country’s best wines. If you are visiting Brazil, I suggest that you visit Canastra in Rio de Janeiro. It offers some of the best wines in Brazil.
- A Green Man Crossing Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe to Cross
If you are in Brazil, do not rely on the green man crossing. Instead, you should wait until all the cars stop. Skipping red lights is a common problem in the country.
- A Brazilian Island Has Snakes As its Largest Population
The Brazilian island, Snake Island, is too dangerous for humans. Its biggest population is the Golden lancehead snakes. There is at least one snake per square meter. Snakes on the island are venomous.
- It is Home to 60% of the Amazon Rainforest
A big part of the Amazon Rainforest is in Brazil. The country has more plant and animal species than every other country. Brazil is one of the most biodiverse countries.
Is Brazil Safe for Tourists?
Brazil is a lot safer than portrayed by the media. However, some parts of the country can be unsafe. The crime and murder rate is four times higher than that of the United States. There are many cases of robbery and nap. Salvador and Sao Paulo are some of the most dangerous places. The areas are marred by gang violence, poverty, and drug trafficking. Rio de Janeiro is one of the country’s top tourist destinations. However, it has lots of criminal activities.
In Brazil, the gap between the rich and the poor is huge. Unfortunately, it continues to grow wider. The poor half of the population earns $203 monthly. Their earnings are below minimum wage. However, the top ten percent earns an average of $2,642 monthly. The number of poor people is constantly increasing.
Even though the country has a machismo culture, it is fairly safe for female tourists to travel. However, cases of groping and catcalling are common. If you are caught in such cases, I recommend that you express your displeasure calmly. I don’t recommend approaching the culprit aggressively. According to Brazil’s president, Bolsonaro, ‘Brazil is not a country of gay tourism or the gay world.’ LGBTQ travellers may experience violence.
If you are a digital nomad or photographer, travelling in Brazil can be a challenge. You must be very vigilant and modest. Avoid flashing expensive equipment and use modest bags. Getting travel insurance may be necessary.
When travelling alone, you must stay away from secluded areas. Dress to fit in and exercise normal precautions. Most of the major cities are safe. Do your research and avoid unsafe cities. 14 out of the top 50 most unsafe cities are in Brazil. Some of them include; Fortaleza, Teresina, Manaus, Recife, Salvador, and Belem.
If you are a victim of any crimes in Brazil, report to the police as soon as possible. Even though the Brazilian police aren’t the most reliable, they may be able to help you.
To conclude, Brazil is a third-world country. It faces the same challenges as many developing countries. During the cold war, Brazil remained neutral. Even though Brazil struggles with challenges such as high poverty rates, a poor economy, and poor housing, it is a great country. It has pleasant weather, beautiful beaches, and lots of ecological landscapes.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.