I’ll admit, I half enjoyed it, half smirked when I saw The Economist’s latest story, Comparing Brazilian states with countries: Brazilian equivalents. For one, The Economist has undeniably been at the forefront of reporting on Brazil before it was even fashionable. At the end of 2009, The Economist rolled out a 14-page, well-balanced report on Brazil, called Brazil takes off, with the Christ the Redeemer taking off, reinforcing the icon as a trademark for our emerging nation. I have also enjoyed more recent stories, which have shed much needed light on topics such as best cities for  business, as in Doing business in Brazil: Rio or São Paulo? or Education in Brazil: Rio’s ace up its sleeve. But I couldn’t help questioning the logic behind aligning GDPs (also including per person gross domestic products) and population statistics with countries all over the world. As one reader comments: “Of course it’s a very ‘funny’ illustration…Brazil is a federation, and information like this is useless. We have to consider Brazil in a broad perspective, it makes all the difference if you have a united country or 27 little nations”.

So where do we go to find reliable statistical information on Brazil? Here are a few of my favorite web sites for getting hard, solid numbers on Brazil:

* IBGE, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, Brazil’s clearinghouse for all sorts of information has a comprehensive and partially bilingual website, with indicators on Labor and Income, Industry, Agriculture, Trade, Indexes, Economy and many more.

* The Central Bank of Brazil has also put together a 9-page compilation of quick and dirty financial statistics.

* The Institute of Applied Economic Research publishes IPEA Data, another partially bilingual compilation of economic and financial databases and other resources

* The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a page on Brazil, with public information notices and press releases of recent events.

* The United Nations publishes a one-page on Brazil through UNData, with information on demographics, social indicators, the environment and a few others.

* A great place to ask questions is the Answers section at LinkedIn.

If you have a favorite paper or online resource for statistical information on Brazil, let me know.   If you need cross-cultural support for doing business in Brazil, let me know!