Poor families in Brazil live in the slums of crowded cities. These slums are called favelas and the people living here are called favelados. In Rio and São Paulo, the slums are among the worst in the world. Many of the dwellings have mud floors with no running water. Diseases are common. Families cook on crude wood-burning stoves and wash their clothes by hand in polluted water. In some areas, however, families have water, electricity, medical care and maybe a television. There may also be community centres.
Millions of children live on the streets in the large cities. They are called abandonados, the deserted ones. These children may be homeless orphans. Others have families, but must work on the street to find money for food. Many children survive on the streets by shining shoes, begging, washing cars, stealing, or carrying shopping. In the last five to ten years, a national movement for street boys and girls has developed to help these children improve their lives.
Middle-class families can usually afford a home with electricity, running water, indoor bathrooms and sewer systems. Upper class families in Brazil live in luxury apartments in big cities or in large houses surrounded by armed guards. These families make up Brazil's political, industrial and land-owning elite.
Did you know?

There are 12 million abandonados, children without parents or homes, in Brazil.

Historically, large houses on plantations were for the owner, his wife and their children, as well as for married children and their families, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles. Today these types of Brazilian families can include 300 or more relatives.

Although there is no longer an authoritarian patriarch, the advice and consent of the eldest male family member is usually sought by other members of the family before important decisions are made.