Brazil’s most recent numbers on violence are staggering: every three weeks, there are more killings in Brazil than in terror attacks everywhere else in the world in 2017.
Per week 1,136 people are murdered in Brazil, according to a report released on Monday 6th. The figures are called a “daily tragedy” by the authors, which compared the stats with the 3,314 deaths by all terror attacks worldwide until May this year.
The soaring levels of violence places Brazil as one of the most violent countries in the world – the nation’s murder rate is five times higher than the global average . In some states, the rate is ten times above that.
Who suffer the most?
The victims are the poorest: young black men with few years of education, living in a poverty trap that condemns them to have no better prospects than their parents did.
According to the report, almost half of the 59,080 killings in Brazil in 2015 were against those aged between 15-29.
When split by colour, the figures show how race impact the probability of you living or dying in Brazil: while the murder rate among non-black youths decreased over time (-12.2%), killings among black youths soared (+18.2%).
“The typical kind of victims remains the same: men, young, black and with low levels of education. However, in the last decade, the bias of violence against black youths has increased further,” noted in the report Daniel Ricardo de Castro Cerqueira, a researcher at the think-tank Ipea, which compiled the numbers.
The race bias is also an unfavorable element for black women: while killings of non-black females decreased 7.4% between 2005 and 2015, murders against black women jumped by over a fifth.
“There are racial differences,” said Cerqueira about the findings.
Why such violence?
There is a strong correlation between violence and low levels of education and social equality, the report says.
While Brazil’s most peaceful city, Jaraguá do Sul, has a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0,803 – similar to Portugal’s 0.830 – the country’s most violent city, Altamira, has a 0,665 HDI – similar to Botswana’s 0.698.
Jaraguá do Sul is located in one of Brazil’s most developed state, Santa Catarina, while Altamira is placed at one of the nations’ most uneducated one, Pará, where poverty, poor sanitarian conditions and low levels of schooling damage future prospects and breed violence.
Brazil’s “national tragedy“, as the researchers phrase it, harms not only Brazilian’s right to life but also the country’s economic prospects. Cerqueira estimates that 1.5% of Brazil’s USD 1.77 trillion GDP is lost to violence.
“Premature deaths represent in themselves a cost of social welfare as they reduce the life expectancy and therefore the ability of individuals to produce and to consume,” wrote Cerqueira in a recent study about the cost of violence among youths in Brazil.
“It is undoubtedly a great human tragedy, with immeasurable implications,” he adds.