At the outset of Brazil’s new democracy in 1984, income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient stood at around 60 points, among the highest levels in the world. The end of the dictatorship saw a brief drop in the Gini to 58, only to be followed by five years of rapidly rising inequality during Brazil’s decade of hyperinflation. It was only after the election of Lula in 2002 that the country saw the Gini trend downward and break through the levels seen in 1984. This paper looks at these trends in detail and examines current challenges to efforts to create a more equal society.