This paper assesses the current situation and recent developments of living conditions of children in Brazil. Despite the progress of children’s situation during the last decades (falling levels of poverty, malnutrition, inequality, etc.), substantial advances have to be made in order to ensure that those basic living conditions and opportunities remain, giving that three million infants are born every year in the country and that 10% of its population consists of children under five years of age. The authors focus their analysis on how living conditions and opportunities vary according to socioeconomic characteristics of Brazilian households, so as to evaluate whether such advances have equally benefited poorer and richer families. The authors describe the data, provided by institutions such as the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA), the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, among others, and then contextualize it, paying attention to its variation and to its differences.
The document is organized as follows. After the introduction, section two presents the main indicators of children’s living conditions (mortality, malnourishment and morbidity). Section three focuses on the provision of basic services (health, nutrition, sanitation, civil identification, attention of genetic diseases, etc.), while the fourth section briefly concludes.
It is mainly concluded that the stark improvement of children’s living conditions and opportunities arose from a combination of three factors: a rapid reduction of extreme poverty in the country, which guaranteed better living conditions to families and therefore to their children; substantial expansion of access to basic services, for families in conditions of greater vulnerability; and a greater awareness of available services given a higher level of parental education. In this sense, mortality and malnourishment were reduced while access to services expanded for poorer families. Finally, it is suggested that the situation of children must continue to be regarded as a national priority, in accordance with the UN Millennium Development Goals.