No Festa for Brazil
- Steady drop in rankings each year
- Widespread dissatisfaction with economy and finances
- Political instability and safety are concerns
- Quality and affordability of healthcare not ideal
- Local population is very friendly, also to expats
A Downward Trend?
There have been some big changes in expat opinions on living in Brazil. Over the past three years, Brazil has dropped in the overall ranking from 42nd in 2014, to 57th last year, finally landing at 64th this year. The way expats view their personal finances and the state of the economy, for instance, has worsened quite drastically — the Personal Finance Index dropped from 38th out of 64 countries in the Expat Insider 2015 survey to 59th out of 67 in this year’s survey. Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of expats in Brazil who are generally not satisfied with their financial situation increased by ten percentage points to 29% in 2016. Similarly, the percentage of expats who feel that their disposable household income is not enough to cover everything they need increased by eight percentage points, with more than one in ten (11%) even saying it is not nearly enough to get by.
“The economy is not the best right now, but I am optimistic for the future.”
It is not surprising, then, that close to three in five expats in Brazil (58%) agree to some extent that they are worried about their future finances. Indeed, the Cost of Living Index has rated consistently badly, coming 54th this year, with 53% saying the cost of living in general is overall bad compared to just 32% worldwide. What is more, 45% agree to some extent that they have suffered a loss in personal income since moving to Brazil.
Political Uncertainty and Worries about Safety
Possibly linked to the uncertain financial situation is the lack of political stability in Brazil. Just 16% of those asked rate this factor positively, compared to 61% globally. Similarly, just one in five rates their personal safety in Brazil as generally good compared to 77% worldwide. Indeed, personal safety and political stability were two of the top three disadvantages considered prior to moving to Brazil.
Making a Living in a Struggling Economy
The Working Abroad Index shows another drastic change in opinion among expats in Brazil. From 33rd out of 61 in 2014, the country has fallen to 65th out of 67 countries in this year’s Expat Insider survey. In the Job Security subcategory of the index, Brazil comes 66th, with 85% of respondents giving the state of the economy a negative review, reflecting reports on rising unemployment and falling real wages in 2015 and 2016. It seems hardly a surprise then, that 11% of expats in Brazil say they are not at all satisfied with their job security, nearly double the global average of 6%. Similarly, expatriates in Brazil are less enthused about their working hours than respondents around the world (48% vs. a global 61%).
The Brilliant Weather Is Not Enough
Expatriates can at least look forward to a very good climate and weather, which is regarded negatively by just 8% compared to the global average of 22%. This was actually the most common potential benefit considered by expats before they made the move there.
Unfortunately, the country does not seem to have much else to offer to improve the quality of expat life, ranking 62nd in the respective index. The transport infrastructure, for instance, is considered generally bad by 60% in Brazil compared to just a quarter globally. In addition, the country only comes in 61st in the Health & Well-Being subcategory: not only is the healthcare considered, on average, less affordable by expats in Brazil — 35% agree it is generally affordable compared to 55% globally — but 36% of respondents are also unhappy with its quality.
Not the Place for Families
Despite a more friendly attitude to families with children — 55% of expat parents go so far as to call it very good in Brazil compared to 39% globally — the education and well-being on offer there fall short. Just 28% of expat parents find the quality of education to be overall good compared to 64% worldwide. Meanwhile, five times the overall average of parents (55% vs. 11%) fear for their children’s safety at least in some regard. Not least of all due to this, Brazil ranks last out of 45 countries in the Family Life Index.
A Welcoming Place despite the Negatives
The local people, at least, are a positive in the lives of expats in Brazil — over four in five rate the general friendliness of the population (85%), as well as the local attitude towards foreign residents (81%), positively, bringing the Friendliness subcategory to 11th. In fact, around five in eight expats in Brazil (63%) overall agree that making local friends is easy compared to 45% globally. All of this despite the fact that seven in ten do agree that without speaking the local language it is very difficult to live there.
“Despite the language barrier, the people are very friendly and very kind!”