Official name
Federative Republic of Brazil

Capital
Brasília, located in the Federal District, in the Midwestern region and officially inaugurated in 1960

Official language
Portuguese

National Flag
The national flag of Brazil was created in 1889 by Raimundo Teixeira Mendes and Miguel Lemos, with design by Décio Vilares. Inspired by the Empire flag designed by the French painter Jean Baptiste Debret, Brazil’s national flag displays the blue circle and the motto "Order and Progress" replacing the imperial crown.

Area
8,515,767 square km. Brazil is the world's fifth largest country in terms of land area.

Number of bordering countries
10Population: 196.9 million. Brazil is the fifth most populous country in the world.
[IBGE – Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics - PNAD 2012]

Economically active population
100.1 million (PNAD 2012)

Urban population
84.4 percent (IBGE - Census 2010)

Age distribution
0-4 years – men (7,1%), women (6,4%)
5-9 years – men (8,1%), women (7,2%)
10-14 years – men (8,9%), women (8,1%)
15-19 years – men (9,1%), women (8,3%)
20-24 years – men (8,3%), women (7,8%)
25-39 years – men (23,5%), women (23,6%)
40-59 years – men (23,6%), women (24,9%)
60 years - more – men (11,5%), women (13,7%)
(PNAD 2012)

Life expectancy
74.1 years (overall population); 70.6 years (men) and 77.7 years (women) (IBGE Mortality Tables, 2011)

Ethnic groups
White - 46.2 percent
Mulatto - 45 percent
Black - 7.9 percent
Asian and Indigenous - 0.8 percent
(PNAD 2012)

Religion
Catholic - 64.99 percent;
Evangelical - 22.16 percent;
Spiritist - 2.02 percent;
Umbandists and Candomblecists - 0.31 percent;
No religion - 8.04 percent;
Other - 2.47 percent (IBGE Census 2010)

Human Development Index (HDI)
In 2012, Brazil was ranked 85thout of 187 countries listed by the Human Development Index by the UN Development Program, having calculated an average national index of 0.730. (UNDP – United Nations Development Program)

Key facts

Brazil is celebrating important achievements in the economic and social fields: 37 million Brazilians have risen to the middle class between 2002 and 2012 and the country has become the seventh largest economy in the world. Brazil’s development model, based on growth with stability, fiscal balance, social inclusion and competitiveness, has been the engine of these transformations. Now, Brazil is facing a new challenge: to grow more and grow better. The goal is to improve infrastructure, advance technological development and improve the quality of education, in its various levels.

To make this leap in quality and raise the competitiveness of the economy, in 2012 the federal government introduced a series of measures to lower production costs and enhance the country's investment capacity. In the energy sector, residential consumers had their electricity bills reduced by 18 percent and 25.94 percent. For consumers of high-voltage power, price reductions reached up to 32 percent. In the area of infrastructure, Brazil’s Logistics Investment Program will invest US$ 101 billion in transportation. These resources are aimed at the construction and modernization of highways (US$ 23 billion), railways (US$ 49.8 billion), ports (US$ 23.7 billion) and airports (US$ 4.6 billion). Additionally, the Planning and Logistics Company (Empresa de Planejamento e Logística - EPL) has been established to lead the integrated planning of infrastructure projects as well as to design a transportation system that is both efficient and compatible with sustainable development.

Meanwhile, Brazil has established - and improved - conditions to lower interest rates, reduce taxes, keep inflation under control and balance the exchange rate. Taxes on companies’ payrolls, capital goods and durable goods such as cars and furniture have also been significantly reduced. These changes have a common goal: to ensure both continued growth with social inclusion and employment and income generation.

Brazil’s social development model is one of the most recognized in the world. It combines, among its main strategies, the conditional cash transfer program (Bolsa Família) – which was created in 2003 and currently benefits about 13.8 million families – with a set of social protection and promotion programs. Among these are initiatives aimed to include family agriculture in the production chain and to ensure the supply of electricity in remote areas, in addition to full access to water by all Brazilians. Sixteen social programs involving thirteen ministries are systematically organized around the Brazil Without Extreme Poverty plan.

Committed to sustainable development, one of Brazil’s priorities is the implementation of policies that combine environmental protection, social inclusion and economic growth. The country has also succeeded in reducing deforestation in the Amazon region between 2004 and 2012 by 84 percent, having reached the lowest all time rate, based on a strategy that combines satellite monitoring and tougher inspections. Reducing deforestation is also at the core of Brazil's strategy to tackle climate change.

In 2009, Brazil was one of the first developing countries to have voluntary targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases provided for in its legislation, including specific plans so that key sectors of the economy such as energy, industry and transport can move towards an inclusive green economy. The country's growth is driven by one of the cleanest energy matrices on the planet, which uses 42.4 percent of renewable sources including hydropower, biofuels like ethanol, and the growing presence of wind energy.

Biodiversity

Brazil houses at least 103,870 species of animals and between 43,000 and 49,000 species of plants – in addition to microorganisms, algae and species not yet studied. About 20 percent of the planet's biodiversity is native to Brazil.

Decline in deforestation
Brazil reduced deforestation by 84 percent between 2004 and 2012, having reached the lowest rate ever in 2012. (INPE – 2012)

Protected areas
Brazil has 313 Protected Areas (PAs), which cover 9 percent of the national territory, and 621 Private Natural Heritage Reserves (481,746.17ha). The Amazon region holds the largest protected area, with 14.3 percent of its total area in PAs, of which 8 percent are full protection areas. (ICMBio 2012)

Political and administrative system

Executive
Head of State and Government: President Dilma Rousseff
Vice President: Michel Temer
Elections: The president and vice president are elected by popular vote for a 4-year term and may run for reelection once.

Legislature
The National Congress consists of the Federal Senate (81 members elected by majority vote for an 8-year term) and the Chamber of Deputies (513 members elected by proportional vote for a 4-year term).

Judiciary
The following are bodies of the Judiciary: Supreme Court (Constitutional Court); Superior Court of Justice; Federal Regional Courts and Federal Judges; Labor Courts and Judges; Electoral Courts and Judges; Military Courts and Judges; and Courts and Judges of the States and of the Federal District and Territories.

Administrative division
26 states and the Federal District: Acre, Alagoas, Amapá, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceará, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Sergipe and Tocantins.