The latest figures from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) showed Wednesday that Brazil's social inequality level in 2011 fell to a 10-year low, although the income gap is still relatively large.
The country's Gini index, a measure of wealth gap in a society which goes from zero to one, was 0.508 in 2011, down from the 0.559 in 2001, the IBGE said.
The IBGE also reported that the richest 20 percent Brazilians owned 57.7 percent of the country's wealth in 2011, down from the 63.7 percent of 2001, while the poorest 20 percent, on the other hand, increased their share of wealth from 2.6 to 3.5 percent during the same period.
The programs such as Bolsa familia, which grants monthly stipends to poor families, has made a significant contribution to increasing the poor's income, said the IBGE, adding that about one third of the poorer population's income comes from sources like social programs other than work.
Moreover, among the richest one percent of the Brazilian population, only 9.6 percent of them were black or mixed-race citizens in 2001, while the number increased to 16.3 percent in 2011, though the share is still small.
Progress was also seen in the job market. A black or a mixed-race worker was expected to earn 60 percent of a white person in 2011. Though the pay gap is still huge, the figure actually represents a significant improvement from 2001, when black and mixed-race workers averagely earned 50.5 percent of white workers' wages.
Meanwhile, women, another symbol of social inequality, earned 73.3 percent of men in 2011, up 4.3 percent from that of 2001.
"There were more advances on the matter of the race gap than the gender gap," said IBGE researcher Cristiane Soares.