The number of Brazilians living in extreme poverty grew from 10.08 million in 2012 to 10.45 million in 2013, the first increase after 10 consecutive years of reductions, the government said Wednesday.
Even with the uptick in 2013, the total number of indigent people is less than half what it was in 2003.
Total population in Brazil climbed from 198.66 million in 2012 to 201.93 million in 2013, a 1.2 percent increase.
The 3.7 percent increase in the number of destitute people was reported by the official Institute of Applied Economic Research, known by the Portuguese initials IPEA, drawing on data from an ambitious household survey.
The data was posted on the IPEA Web site without comment after the agency received criticism for not releasing the figures earlier, as scheduled, before the Oct. 26 runoff vote that gave President Dilma Rousseff a second term.
IPEA defines extreme poverty as a per capita income below the level necessary to buy enough food to meet the recommended minimum caloric intake for one person.
The number of Brazilians in that category had been decreasing since 2003, when Luis Inacio Lula da Silva began the first of his two four-year presidential terms with the launch of an anti-poverty program that currently assists some 50 million families.
The program, considered a model around the world in the fight against poverty, cut the number of extremely poor people in Brazil from 36.24 million in Lula's first year in office to 13.6 million at the end of his tenure.
Under Rousseff, Lula's successor and political protege, the number continued decreasing, from 11.77 million in 2011 to 10.08 million in 2012, before edging up last year.
The number of people described as poor - an income sufficient to feed two people - decreased 5.4 percent from 30.35 million in 2012 to 28.69 million last year.
Since 2003, when there were 61.81 million poor people in Brazil, the number has fallen 53 percent. EFE