[Country map of Brazil]



Location: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean

Map references: South America

total area: 8,511,965 sq km
land area: 8,456,510 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than the US
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo

Land boundaries: total 14,691 km, Argentina 1,224 km, Bolivia 3,400 km, Colombia 1,643 km, French Guiana 673 km, Guyana 1,119 km, Paraguay 1,290 km, Peru 1,560 km, Suriname 597 km, Uruguay 985 km, Venezuela 2,200 km

Coastline: 7,491 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: short section of the boundary with Paraguay, just west of Salto das Sete Quedas (Guaira Falls) on the Rio Parana, is in dispute; two short sections of boundary with Uruguay are in dispute - Arroio Invernada (Arroyo de la Invernada) area of the Rio Quarai (Rio Cuareim) and the islands at the confluence of the Rio Quarai and the Uruguay River

Climate: mostly tropical, but temperate in south

Terrain: mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt

Natural resources: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber

Land use:
arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 19%
forest and woodland: 67%
other: 6%

Irrigated land: 27,000 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers the existence of a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities
natural hazards: recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
international agreements: party to - Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Desertification

Note: largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador


Population: 160,737,489 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 31% (female 24,641,868; male 25,515,775)
15-64 years: 64% (female 51,966,272; male 51,254,165)
65 years and over: 5% (female 4,393,530; male 2,965,879) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.22% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 21.16 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 8.98 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 57.2 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 61.82 years
male: 56.57 years
female: 67.32 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.39 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Brazilian(s)
adjective: Brazilian

Ethnic divisions: Caucasion (includes Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish) 55%, mixed Caucasion and African 38%, African 6%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic (nominal) 70%

Languages: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1991)
total population: 80%
male: 80%
female: 80%

Labor force: 57 million (1989 est.)
by occupation: services 42%, agriculture 31%, industry 27%


conventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazil
local long form: Republica Federativa do Brasil
local short form: Brasil

Digraph: BR

Type: federal republic

Capital: Brasilia

Administrative divisions: 26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins

Independence: 7 September 1822 (from Portugal)

National holiday: Independence Day, 7 September (1822)

Constitution: 5 October 1988

Legal system: based on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: voluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70; compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government: President Fernando Henrique CARDOSO (since 1 January 1995) election last held 3 October 1994; next to be held October 1998); results - Fernando Henrique CARDOSO 53%, Luis Inacio LULA da Silva 26%, Eneas CARNEIRO 7%, Orestes QUERCIA 4%, Leonel BRIZOLA 3%, Espiridiao AMIN 3%; note - second free, direct presidential election since 1960
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress (Congresso Nacional)
Federal Senate (Senado Federal): election last held 3 October 1994 for two-thirds of Senate (next to be held October 1996 for one-third of the Senate); results - PMBD 28%, PFL 22%, PSDB 12%, PPR 7%, PDT 7%, PT 6%, PTB 6%, other 12%
Chamber of Deputies (Camara dos Deputados): election last held 3 October 1994 (next to be held October 1998); results - PMDB 21%, PFL 18%, PDT 7%, PSDB 12%, PPR 10%, PTB 6%, PT 10%, other 16%

Judicial branch: Supreme Federal Tribunal

Political parties and leaders: National Reconstruction Party (PRN), Daniel TOURINHO, president; Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), Luiz HENRIQUE da Silveira, president; Liberal Front Party (PFL), Jorge BORNHAUSEN, president; Workers' Party (PT), Rui Goethe da Costa FALCAO, president; Brazilian Workers' Party (PTB), Jose Eduardo ANDRADE VIEIRA, president; Democratic Workers' Party (PDT), Anthony GAROTINHO, president; Progressive Renewal Party (PPR), Espiridiao AMIN, president; Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Artur DA TAVOLA, president; Popular Socialist Party (PPS), Roberto FREIRE, president; Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), Joao AMAZONAS, secretary general; Liberal Party (PL), Alvero VALLE, president

Other political or pressure groups: left wing of the Catholic Church and labor unions allied to leftist Workers' Party are critical of government's social and economic policies


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Paulo Tarso FLECHA de LIMA
chancery: 3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-2700
FAX: [1] (202) 745-2827
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and San Francisco
consulate(s): Houston

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Melvyn LEVITSKY
embassy: Avenida das Nacoes, Lote 3, Brasilia, Distrito Federal
mailing address: Unit 3500; APO AA 34030
telephone: [55] (61) 321-7272
FAX: [55] (61) 225-9136
consulate(s) general: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
consulate(s): Porto Alegre, Recife

Flag: green with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress)


Overview: The economy, with large agrarian, mining, and manufacturing sectors, entered the 1990s with declining real growth, runaway inflation, an unserviceable foreign debt of $122 billion, and a lack of policy direction. In addition, the economy remained highly regulated, inward-looking, and protected by substantial trade and investment barriers. Ownership of major industrial and mining facilities is divided among private interests - including several multinationals - and the government. Most large agricultural holdings are private, with the government channeling financing to this sector. Conflicts between large landholders and landless peasants have produced intermittent violence. The COLLOR government, which assumed office in March 1990, launched an ambitious reform program that sought to modernize and reinvigorate the economy by stabilizing prices, deregulating the economy, and opening it to increased foreign competition. Itamar FRANCO, who assumed the presidency following President COLLOR's resignation in December 1992, was out of step with COLLOR's reform agenda; initiatives to redress fiscal problems, privatize state enterprises, and liberalize trade and investment policies lost momentum. Galloping inflation - by June 1994 the monthly rate had risen to nearly 50% - had undermined economic stability. In response, the then finance minister, Fernando Henrique CARDOSO, launched the third phase of his stabilization plan, known as Plano Real, that called for a new currency, the real, which was introduced on 1 July 1994. Inflation subsequently dropped to under 3% per month through the end of 1994. The newly elected President CARDOSO has called for the implementation of sweeping market-oriented reform, including public sector and fiscal reform, privatization, deregulation, and elimination of barriers to increased foreign investment. Brazil's natural resources remain a major, long-term economic strength.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $886.3 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 5.3% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $5,580 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1,094% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 4.9% (1993)

revenues: $113 billion
expenditures: $109 billion, including capital expenditures of $23 billion (1992)

Exports: $43.6 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: iron ore, soybean bran, orange juice, footwear, coffee, motor vehicle parts
partners: EC 27.6%, Latin America 21.8%, US 17.4%, Japan 6.3% (1993)

Imports: $33.2 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: crude oil, capital goods, chemical products, foodstuffs, coal
partners: US 23.3%, EC 22.5%, Middle East 13.0%, Latin America 11.8%, Japan 6.5% (1993)

External debt: $134 billion (1994)

Industrial production: growth rate 9.5% (1993); accounts for 39% of GDP

capacity: 55,130,000 kW
production: 241.4 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 1,589 kWh (1993)

Industries: textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, mining (iron ore, tin), steel making, machine building - including aircraft, motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts and assemblies, and other machinery and equipment

Agriculture: accounts for 11% of GDP; world's largest producer and exporter of coffee and orange juice concentrate and second-largest exporter of soybeans; other products - rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, beef; self-sufficient in food, except for wheat

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis and coca, mostly for domestic consumption; government has a small-scale eradication program to control cannabis and coca cultivation; important transshipment country for Bolivian and Colombian cocaine headed for the US and Europe

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $2.5 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $10.2 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $284 million; former Communist countries (1970-89), $1.3 billion

Currency: 1 real (R$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: R$ per US$1 - 0.85 (January 1995); CR$ per US$1 - 390.845 (January 1994), 88.449 (1993), 4.513 (1992), 0.407 (1991), 0.068 (1990)
note: on 1 August 1993 the cruzeiro real (CR$), equal to 1,000 cruzeiros, was introduced; another new currency, the real, was introduced on 1 July 1994, equal to 2,750 cruzeiro reals

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 30,612 km (1992)
broad gauge: 5,369 km 1.600-m gauge (1,108 km electrified)
standard gauge: 194 km 1.440-m gauge
narrow gauge: 24,739 km 1.000-m gauge (112 km electrified); 13 km 0.760-m gauge
dual gauge: 310 km 1.600-m/1.000-m gauge (78 km electrified)

total: 1,670,148 km
paved: 161,503 km
unpaved: gravel/earth 1,508,645 km (1990)

Inland waterways: 50,000 km navigable

Pipelines: crude oil 2,000 km; petroleum products 3,804 km; natural gas 1,095 km

Ports: Belem, Fortaleza, Ilheus, Imbituba, Manaus, Paranagua, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande, Salvador, Santos, Vitoria

Merchant marine:
total: 215 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,128,654 GRT/8,664,776 DWT
ships by type: bulk 52, cargo 34, chemical tanker 13, combination ore/oil 12, container 12, liquefied gas tanker 11, oil tanker 64, passenger-cargo 5, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 11

total: 3,467
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 5
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 19
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 126
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 286
with paved runways under 914 m: 1,652
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 76
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1,303


Telephone system: 9.86 million telephones; telephone density - 61/1,000 persons; good working system
local: NA
intercity: extensive microwave radio relay systems and 64 domestic satellite earth stations
international: 3 coaxial submarine cables; 3 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth stations

broadcast stations: AM 1,223, FM 0, shortwave 151
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 112 (Brazil has the world's fourth largest television broadcasting system)
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Brazilian Army, Brazilian Navy (includes Marines), Brazilian Air Force, Federal Police (paramilitary)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 44,301,765; males fit for military service 29,815,576; males reach military age (18) annually 1,703,438 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $5.0 billion, 0.9% of GDP (1994)