July 9, 2008 / 12:08 AM / in 11 years

FACTBOX: Brazil's new middle class

(Reuters) - A strong economy has lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty and into a new middle class in the past few years. Following are some facts about the impact on people’s incomes and spending.

- In the past two years, more than 23 million people have risen from lower income classes into Class C, defined as households with monthly incomes between 726 and 1,195 reais ($450 and $745) and which now makes up 46 percent of Brazil’s population.

- The number of people in the lowest D and E classes fell to 39 percent of the population in 2007 from 51 percent in 2005.

- 10 million people gained Internet access between 2005 and 2007, taking the total with access to nearly 40 million, or 29 percent of the population. Average spending on subscriptions to the Internet and cable/satellite television rose 25 percent from 2006 to 2007.

- The number of credit cards in Brazil rose 91 percent between 2002 and 2006 to 79 million, about one for every 2.3 people. Just over 27 million Brazilians had credit cards in 2006, or 14.6 percent of the population (compared with 41 percent of Americans).

- Car sales soared 28 percent last year.

- Brazil’s rapidly growing pet-product market was worth $4.1 billion in 2007, second only to the United States.

- Mortgage lending rose 26.5 percent in the 12 months to May while overall credit amounted to 36.5 percent of gross domestic product. Individual default rates have been relatively stable, reaching 7.27 percent in May of this year compared to 5.95 percent in the same month of 2001.

Sources: 2008 survey by consumer credit firm Cetelem; Itau bank; central bank; Brazilian Petfood Manufacturers Association

Reporting by Stuart Grudgings and Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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