Gaping income inequalities; limited education for the masses; a long tradition of domestic service: Brazil at the turn of the 21st century bore striking similarities to 1880s Britain. But in the past decade Brazil’s professional classes have burgeoned and a lower-middle class—25m new consumers—has sprung into being. Most Brazilian children now go to secondary school and the country’s north-east, long its poorest region, has become its fastest-growing.
As a result, many maids from the north-east who migrated in past decades to the richer southern cities are downing dusters and heading home. Quite a few are mixing cement and driving forklift trucks on the big infrastructure projects peppered around the region. Research by IPEA, a government-funded think-tank, found that across Brazil the proportion of domestic staff aged over 30 rose from 57% to 73% of the total over the past decade. In the past four years the workforce in São Paulo’s metropolitan area rose by 11% and average wages by 8%. But the number of domestics fell by 4%—and their wages rose by 21%.
Fonte: The Economist, 17/12/2011 (Sugestão de Rafael H. M. Pereira)