Comparing the Population of Brazil and the USA

The population of Brazil in 1957 was 52 million. That was approximately a third of the population of The United Sates at that time, whose population was around 151 million. Estimates of the population of Brazil vary between 160 million and 171 million. The most recent census in 1996 gave a total of 157 million, which was believed to be about 5% short of the total. (IBGE Website). Other online sources stated the population for Brazil in July 2001 to be 174 million, compared to the United States Population of 278 million.

The information displayed above clearly shows that The USA population is larger than that of Brazils, but not as much so as 50 years ago. There are many factors which have affected the population of both countries and I will underline these in the essay.

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Brief look into life in Brazil and the USA

Given the colonial history of Brazil, there is a rich ethnic mix of white (mainly of European, mostly Portuguese origin) 55%, mixed white and black, or mulattos 38%, black 6% and the remaining 1% Amerindian (Indian), South East Asian or Arab in origin.

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Whereas the majority of the population is white with around twelve and a half per cent black and just over three per cent Asian. The Native American makes up less than one per cent of the population. With the exception of the Indian population, Brazilians consider themselves as one people with a single culture. The country has seemed to absorb the culture of many different ethnic groups, this being a great attribute to Brazil’s colonial and immediate post-colonial history.

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The Brazilian culture seemed unique with its distinctive mixture of music and dance, religion and sport (football and Formula 1 motor racing).

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Despite its huge land area, it is estimated that at the time of the 1996 census, 80% of the population lived in cities. Fourteen Brazilian cities have populations of over 1 million, and S�o Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are two of the world’s largest cities with populations of more than 20 million and 12 million respectively. Much larger than even the largest cities in the USA, Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas), 3,725,000 and Houston (Texas), 3,626,000.


The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. English, French and Spanish are also spoken, but English is Brazil’s second language. Brazil is South America’s only non-Spanish speaking country. Whereas in the USA Spanish is spoken by a number of the population, but English is the official language of the USA.


The 20th century has seen predominantly fundamentalist Protestant missionaries gaining converts, the “Crente”, as the Brazilian Protestant is known. In 1960, 90% of Brazilians gave Roman Catholicism as their religion. By the early 1990s this had dropped to just over 70% with only an estimated 10 million attending Mass regularly, although Brazil is the world’s largest Roman Catholic country. Whereas only twenty-eight percent of the USA population are Roman Catholic; over eighty per cent of the population Christian and fifty-six per cent are Protestant. There are minorities of people of other religions, for example, Jewish, Amish, Mormon. The United States has produced a number of evangelists, such as Billy Graham.

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To choice to follow a religion or certain religions can adversely affect the birth rate, with regards to particular religious rules and restrictions. For example an orthodox Roman Catholic would not allow himself to use contraception. Also how a religion views a women’s role in society is important, because that can affect the opportunities she is offered. Other example of religion adversely affecting birth rate is the rule in Islam, that men can have up to four wives and also the early marriages.


Agriculture in Brazil is currently thriving and has been for many years, producing a wide range of agricultural produce, for export and domestic use. The domestically used produce heavily influences Brazilian cuisine. Meals are very much social occasions and part of the culture in Brazil, rather than a process of fuelling the body.

Native American food includes various breads, soups and wild green salads.

The cultural diversity evident in USA brought with it much culinary traditions.

The Spanish influence is particularly evident in parts of the country colonised by Spain.

Given that one of Brazil’s major exports is still coffee, it is no surprise that coffee is the most popular beverage, called Cafezinho. The huge range of tropical fruits also results in a large range of fruit juices being available at roadside juice bars. Brazil also has a wine industry mainly in the south where the climate is better suited to growing grapes, although there is some wine production in the west.

The American food industry has become internationally known for its fast-food chains such as McDonald’s. American ice cream is available in many varieties and ice cream retail chains have opened outside the United States. American-style cookies, muffins and bagels are also making an impact in the international snack-food market.

The way people eat obviously has a large effect on their health. Unhealthy populations have a shorter life expectancy than a healthier population.


Sport is important in the US and is part of American school and college life. Baseball, basketball, American football, hockey and lacrosse are among the team sports played.

Sportsmen and women from the USA consistently do well at the Olympics, but the traditional outdoor activities are fishing and hunting. Brazil is the best known on international sporting stage for football and motor racing. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, I consider to be one of the greatest football players of all time and he led the Brazilian national team to 3 world cup victories and inspired a nation in desperate need of heroes. Ayrton Senna became one of the most exciting Formula 1 motor racing drivers to watch and was the world’s leading driver. Unfortunately he died tragically in 1994. In my opinion Sport boosts a countries moral and gives many of the young ambition. Also the taking part in recreational activities such as sport improves health, therefore boosting life expectancy and level of population.

Brazils shanty houses

Rio de Janeiro with its enormous population is surrounded by hills, which prevents any more growth. ‘Shanty’ houses have been built on the hills surrounding the city by people who can no longer live in the main city, either because of lack of money or because of the lack of room. The ever-growing collection of shanty houses reflects the poor side of Brazil’s population. In this region of shanty houses I know that there are many diseases which surface and spread, due to the hygiene level.

Birth rate/Death rate – Factors why the populations are how they are.

Surprisingly the population growth rate at present for both countries is about 0.9%, Brazil actually being fractionally ahead at 0.91%, though the birth rate differs much so. USA had a birth rate of 14.2 births/1000 in 2001 and Brazil 18.45 births/1000. The difference in birth rate could be because of the lack of birth control in Brazil, family planning or education on the subject. Other factors that could have affected the birth rate of Brazil more so than USA may be the difference in:

* The ability to use contraception

* Opportunities for women

* Income levels and distribution of income

* Literacy rate (education)

The government of a county is very important in providing public services. The amount that a government can provide depends on the financial/economic sate of the country.

The death rate recorded in 2001 for USA was 8.7 deaths/1000, whereas in 2001 for Brazil it was 9.34 deaths /1000. It is clear that from my sources in 2001 Brazil had a higher death rate. Death rate is a different matter all together, with many factors affecting it, such as the presence of AIDS (diseases in general) and standard of health services. Other factors that affect the death rate of a place/country are:

* War

* Famine

* Natural Disasters

* Hygiene

* Life expectancy

The AIDS problem for Brazil in 2001 seems to be getting worse than for the USA. In the USA there were around 80 thousand people living with AIDS, but in Brazil there were 500 thousand. In both countries about 20 thousand died of AIDS.

The infant mortality rate is a valuable piece of information, which can give you a clear indication into the state of the country’s health service. The infant mortality rate for the USA in 2001 was 6.76 deaths/1000 births, far better compared to Brazil’s in 2001, with an infant mortality rate of 36.96 deaths/1000 births. This shows that the health service in the USA is more superior to Brazil’s, with having more doctors per 1000 people and definitely more hospitals. The hygiene in these hospitals in the USA is probably also better than that of Brazil’s.

The USA has a many earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault and also tornadoes and hurricanes elsewhere. Recently, flooding and mudslides due to deforestation on hills, are natural disasters that have struck Brazil. The buildings in the USA are built with earthquake resistance in mind. The country also has defences against natural disasters and rescue teams in place when disasters hit.

The life expectancy at birth in Brazil was lower in 2001 than that of the USA and definitely still is. The difference between the life expectancy for men and women in Brazil was much different to that of USA. In USA the difference was about 5 years, with the men at 74.55 and the women at 80.05, whereas in Brazil the difference was nearly ten years, with the mean 58.95 at and the women at.67.85. There could be higher difference between men and women in Brazil because the men do more industrial jobs than men in the USA, which could prove a strain on health. In USA most men are in the service sector. The average life expectancy at birth in the USA is 80, more than 10 of that in Brazil. This could be because of the better quality of life in the USA.


The state of the health service is a key factor in the growth of the population. Usually, the better the economy, the better the public services. As shown with the USA, who are economically very stable. But that statement might not always be true, the strategy and attitude of the government is a very important factor. It is the government who governs and controls the economy (budget) and the people. If it is a right-wing government then generally speaking it will out money into military, etc. Whereas if the government is left-wing, more socialist it will be more likely to invest in public services, such as the health service.

On the “FactMonster” web site I found out how Brazil and the USA are governed. The government of the United States is that of a federal republic set up by the Constitution of the United States, adopted by the Constitutional Convention of 1787. There is a division of powers between the federal government and the state governments. The executive power is vested in the President and, in the event of the President’s incapacity, the Vice President. The executive conducts the administrative business of the nation with the aid of a cabinet composed of the Attorney General and the Secretaries of the Departments of State. The members of the Congress are elected by universal suffrage, as are the members of the Electoral College, which formally chooses the President and the Vice President. It was clear from the research I did and from my common knowledge that the USA was politically stable, but I was keen to find out about Brazil…

Brazil is governed by the 1988 constitution. Under its terms, authority is vested in the president, who is elected for four years by universal suffrage. Under a 1997 amendment, the president may be re-elected once. There is a bicameral legislature consisting of an upper federal senate and a lower chamber of deputies. The 81 senators are elected for eight years and the 513 deputies are elected for four years. The president may unilaterally intervene in state affairs. Each state has its own governor and legislature. The main political parties are the Brazilian Democratic Movement party, the Liberal Front party, the Democratic Labour party, the Brazilian Social Democracy party, and the Workers party. From the information I found about Brazil, it was clear that it was also politically stable


Brazil has one of the world’s largest economies, with well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors (IBGE Web site). There are many between remain, however, in the country’s distribution of land and wealth. Roughly one third of the workforce is involved in agriculture. Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of coffee, its major commercial crop. Its other commercial crops include citrus fruit (especially juice oranges), soybeans, sugarcane, rice, corn, cocoa, cotton, tobacco, and bananas. Cattle, pigs, and sheep are the most common livestock in Brazil, and timber, in the form of logging is also important to the economy.

Brazil has an enormous mineral wealth, including iron ore, quartz, chrome ore, manganese, industrial diamonds, gem stones, gold, nickel, tin, bauxite, uranium, and platinum. Brazil is the world’s largest iron ore producer. I found out that Brazil has been the major producer since at least 1957, and back then there was only one known source of iron ore in the whole country. The leading manufacturing industries produce textiles, chemicals, shoes, food products, steel, motor vehicles, ships, and machinery.

From the information above it seems that Brazil is economically stable.

The mineral and agricultural resources of the United States are tremendous. It leads all nations in the production of electrical and nuclear energy and also liquid natural gas, aluminium, sulfur, phosphates, and salt. It is also a leading producer of copper, gold, coal, crude oil, nitrogen, iron ore, silver, uranium, lead, zinc, mica, molybdenum, and magnesium. Although its output has declined, the United States is among the world leaders in the production of pig iron and ferroalloys, steel, motor vehicles, and synthetic rubber. Also agriculturally, the United States leads the way in production. Major U.S. exports include motor vehicles, aircraft, food, iron and steel products, electric and electronic equipment, industrial and power-generating machinery, chemicals, and consumer goods. The major U.S. trading partner is Canada, it being the world’s largest bilateral relationship. The volume of trade has been steadily increasing.

The gross domestic product has continued to rise, and in 1998 it was easily the largest in the world at about $8.5 trillion. The development of the economy has been spurred by the growth of a complex network of communications, not only by roads, but also the telecommunications boom. This infrastructure, its roads and modern communication links have helped towards the not only agricultural and manufacturing growth but has also contributed to holding a large amount of world tourism revenues. The USA is more becoming a service-based economy, with a staggering 74% of Americans working in the service industries. It is clear from the above information the economic might of the USA. This helps the USA to provide more for its people, though while doing research for this essay I learned that even the USA does not have a free health service in place. The country’s occupants have to take out health insurance to have a chance of higher life expectancy. There are hospitals scattered around the country for poor people to receive treatment when needed. I expect the health care in Brazil is not free either and that there is less care available anyway.

Immigration/ Emigration

The net migration rate was 3.5migrant(s)/1000 population for the USA and for Brazil -0.03migrant(s)/1000 population. There are many factors to why people emigrate and immigrate

Push factors

* Lack of work

* War

* Lack of social life

* Poor education

* Lack of freedom

* Disease

* Famine

* Natural disasters

Pull Factors

* Promise of work (or more jobs available)

* Education (or superior education system)

* Freedom

* Urban Life

* Superior health services (Superior public services in general)

Reasons to emigrate to USA rather than Brazil

* Superior health care

* Superior education system/service

* Less disease

* More jobs

* More opportunity for an individual to create wealth

* Very dynamic lifestyle

* Earn more – wealthier country

~ Conclusion ~

The USA has got a bigger population mainly because of its history of immigration to the country. Another important factor is that their economy is far more stable, which means that their government can invest more into the service sector to help the population have a better quality of life. The more stable the country is in general (stable financially, politically, etc), and the better the public services are (especially the health service), the more likely the population are to thrive and to live to an older age. This is all seems relatively true for the USA.

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Comparing the Population of Brazil and the USA. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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