Brazil has achieved in this decade what economists consider a key moment for the development of a country: there are already more people of working age than dependent (slice that includes young and old). This phenomenon, also known as the demographic dividend, is unique and does not last long – according to experts, the Brazilian bonds should extend at most for 20 years.
Having the portion of the population in full active overcoming the dependent population is usually beneficial to the development of a country. These people, as a rule, generate greater wealth and pay taxes. Then, when they retire, they will rest, but on the other hand, are overloading the system of social welfare – and that is why Brazil needs to take advantage of this momentary demographic advantage.
“The country is currently living the best moment of their demographic history and has at least another 15 good years,” says the Professor of Masters in Population Studies and Social Research of the National School of Statistical Sciences (ENCE) José Eustáquio Diniz Alves.
In 1980, there were about 70 million Brazilians in working age, between 15 and 64. This year, this total has already surpassed 130 million and may reach its peak around 2030, when Brazil will have about 150 million people in a working age, according to projections by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
In Brazil, the demographic bonus began nearly ten years ago, but the country only managed the advantages of this mark between 2004 and 2008, a period of accelerated economic growth and social inclusion, said Diniz Alves.
In the assessment of experts, for the window of the demographic dividend not be wasted it is required a strong investment in education. This phenomenon needs to ensure a good qualification for the abundant available labor and a labor market with large number of vacancies, able to absorb people of working age.
According to Diniz Alves, for an adequate use of good demographics conditions of Brazil, it is necessary to maintain a growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of at least 5% per year until 2025. And advances must occur with social inclusion, environmental sustainability and high investment in high quality education.
For Roberto Luiz do Carmo, a researcher from the Center for Population Studies (Nepo) of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil still lacks a long term planning perspective especially in education.
“We had significant gains in educational terms in recent decades,” said Carmo, noting, however, that more than half population in the age to attend school is out of school. “If young people are not prepared now, we’re postponing the issue.”
Planning for education and health
For Luiz Antonio de Oliveira, coordinator of population and social indicators of IBGE, a lower rate of fertility will allow better planning of educational policies and health in the country. “In the area of public health, for example, there must be a change in focus. Before, policies wera directed towards the eradication of child mortality, but will must be focused on meeting the needs of the elderly population, “he said.
With the increasing number of elderly, Brazil will be forced to change the rules of Social Security and public health policies aimed at the elderly population. In 1980, the country had 1.4 million people aged 75 years or more. According to projections by the IBGE, this number should jump to 23 million people in this age group in 2050, a period that the population should be stabilized and most of the workforce beginning to retire.
“If Brazil wastes the time of the demographic bonus, the aging may become a aggravating factor for the social situation and the relegation of the country’s prospects in the international community,” said Alves.