Brazil: The World Cup hosts in numbers

With the World Cup kicking off in Sao Paulo this evening, we take a closer look at the host nation, Brazil.

Read: World Cup 2014 kicks-off in Brazil today

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It is estimated that there are just shy of 200 million people in Brazil, making it the world's fifth largest country by population behind China, India, the United States and Indonesia.

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Although Brazil's women's team are now among the best in the world, there was a time when they would not have been allowed to play competitively at all.

From 1941 until 1979 women were banned from competing in most sports, including football.

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The average Brazilian monthly wage is around £545, although this masks huge differences between those at the very top and their low-paid compatriots.

The minimum wage is just 724 Reais per month, equivalent to £192. By comparison, the UK rate for a 40-hour working week is just short of £1,240 a month - over six times higher.

Historically speaking, though, Brazilian are richer than ever - one of the factors that has led to rising obesity.

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For Brazil, rising prosperity has coincided with broadening waistlines and the World Health Organisation says over 50% of the population is now overweight.

Such is the problem that World Cup organisers have had to kit out stadiums with plenty of extra-wide seats to accommodate more substantial spectators.

As in the rest of the developed world, a combination of sedentary lifestyles and fat-laden processed foods has been blamed for what is rapidly becoming a public health crisis.

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Despite what many might view as a superb climate, Brazilians like little better than staying in to watch the telly.

A 2013 study from Motorola Mobility found that Brazilians watch an average of 20 hours a week of TV, just behind Americans, who rack up 23 hours a week in front of the box.

Top channel TV Globo notches up a staggering 91 million viewers a day on average, a figure most American networks can only dream of.

Much like its football team, Brazilian soap operas, known as telenovelas, attract a cultish following, with millions tuning in six times a week for the latest instalments.

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As well as eating too much sugar, many Brazilians opt to run their cars on it.

Approximately a quarter of motorists run their cars on ethanol, a fuel produced by fermenting sugar cane and molasses.

Producing ethanol does have its own problems, however, including increasing food prices by reducing the amount of land available for farming.

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Dozens of different communities have contributed to Brazil becoming one of the world's most diverse, multi-cultural countries.

For instance, Brazil has the world's largest Japanese community outside Japan, numbering roughly 2 million people, most of whom live in Sao Paulo.

The reverse is also true - there are over 300,000 Brazilians living and working in Japan, the largest non-Asian immigrant group in the country.

There is also a very substantial Lebanese community - in fact, there are more people of Lebanese descent in Brazil (7 million) than in Lebanon itself (4.5 million).