Rio de Janeiro Culture and Population
Basic Demographics (2007)
Population: 11,714,000 in the metropolitan region of Rio.
% racial breakdown:
Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
definition: age 15 and over who can read and write
total population in Brazil: 88.6%
female: 88.8% (2004 est.)
in Rio: 95% (age 10 and above who can read write)
Ethnic Makeup and Issues
Pardo (Europeans, Blacks and Amerindians): 33.6%
Social Class Structure and Discrimination
There are enormous disparities between rich and poor in Rio de Janeiro. Although the city clearly ranks among the world's major metropolises, a significant proportion of the city's 6.1 million inhabitants live in poverty. The worst of the areas are the slums and shanty towns known as 'favelas'; often crowded onto the hillsides, where sturdy buildings are difficult to build and accidents from heavy rainfall are frequent. A unique aspect of Rio's favelas is their close proximity to the city's wealthiest districts. Upper-class neighbourhoods such as Ipanema and Copacabana are squeezed in between the beach and the hills, the latter of which are covered with poor neighbourhoods. Bad public education, a poor health system combined with the saturation of the penitentiary system contribute to the overall poverty and social injustice of the favelas. But the East Zone, the poorest area of Rio that tourists rarely see, gathers the vast majority of Rio's famished and impoverished masses. This social contrast creates a clash between rich and poor. •
Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. But English and Spanish are part of the...
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