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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Brazil’s Locals Are the Friendliest towards Foreigners

Expats are faced with few challenges when settling in Brazil but should keep a hand on their wallets — personal safety still ranks in the bottom 10.

Brazil has secured the 7th spot out of 53 countries in the Expat Insider 2024 survey, boasting impressive rankings in the Ease of Settling In (5th) and Personal Finance (9th) Indices, as well as the Local Friendliness (3rd), Leisure Options (6th), and Work & Leisure (10th) Subcategories. However, the South American nation lags behind in key Quality of Life (35th) topics such as Travel & Transit (43rd) and Safety & Security (48th). Despite these challenges, expats in Brazil remain some of the happiest, ranking their satisfaction with their life abroad in 8th place.

How Expats Rate Life in Brazil

The Charm of a Warm Welcome

Brazil is a top performer in the Ease of Settling In Index (5th): all of its underlying subcategories and factors have consistently placed in the top 10 since 2022. Expats highly rate the Local Friendliness (3rd), Culture & Welcome (5th), and Finding Friends (6th) Subcategories.

Locals in Brazil take the crown for their friendliness towards foreign residents (1st): more than nine in ten respondents (92%) positively rate this factor (vs. 61% globally). It’s not surprising that the majority of expats feel welcome (86% vs. 63% globally) and at home (74% vs. 58%). And close to three-quarters (72%) are happy with their social life (vs. 52% globally). As one US American expat puts it: “The people are legendary for being friendly.”

Fat Wallets but Few Opportunities to Travel

Brazil ranks 9th in the Personal Finance Index, entering the top 10 after placing 17th in 2023. Expats are satisfied with their financial situation (3rd): nearly four in five (71%) are happy, compared to a global average of 54%. And 64% of respondents say their disposable household income is more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 41% globally).

But in terms of Quality of Life, Brazil is below average in 35th place. For Travel & Transit (43rd), expats aren’t happy with the affordability (30th) nor availability (32nd) of public transportation. The opportunity to travel ranks 36th, and 41% of respondents agree that it’s not easy nor safe to get around on foot or by bicycle (vs.13% globally).  

“Brazil is car oriented, so the infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists is usually badly designed or non-existent.” – Polish expat

Safety & Security presents a concern, with Brazil in 48th place. Its bottom-10 rankings in political stability (48th) and personal safety (52nd) are starkly contrasted with expats’ ability to openly express themselves and their opinions (10th).

The silver lining is the stellar climate & weather (10th) and Leisure Options (6th). The majority of expats (90%) appreciate the natural environment (vs. 82% globally), the culture & nightlife (82% vs. 66%), and opportunities for recreational sports (82% vs. 72%).

Happy Work, Happy Life

One of the standout subcategories in the Working Abroad Index (18th) is Work & Leisure (10th). Expats are satisfied with their work–life balance (8th), and only 9% are unhappy with their working hours — nearly half the global average of 17%.  

Work Culture & Satisfaction (13th) and Career Prospects (18th) are also well regarded. The local job market is in the top 10 worldwide (6th); however, expats don’t think their move to Brazil improved their career prospects (30th).

And despite a mediocre ranking for Salary & Job Security (34th), Brazil has seen improvement across all of its factors, lifting this subcategory out of its bottom-10 placement. Overall, expats are satisfied with their jobs in Brazil (2nd).

Prepare to Brush Up on Your Portuguese

Brazil ranks 24th in the Expats Essentials Index. Notably, the country excels in the Digital Life (13th) and Housing (16th) Subcategories. The ability to pay without cash (3rd) entered the top 3 from 12th place in 2023. And 86% of expats agree that it is easy to get access to high-speed internet at home (vs. 78% globally).

Housing is another strong point. Nearly half of respondents (44%) favorably rate the affordability (vs. 34% globally), and an even higher share (68%) find it easy to find housing in the first place (vs. 45%).

Brazil’s challenges lie within Admin Topics (35th) and Language (39th). Dealing with official procedures can be somewhat cumbersome, as 46% of expats find it difficult to deal with the local bureaucracy (vs. 42% globally). The language barrier doesn’t make it any easier: 58% of expats don’t find it easy to get by without speaking the local language (vs. 33% globally). At least learning Portuguese isn't impossible (23rd).

“It’s very hard to get around the language barrier and be on your own without locals with you.” – Philippine expat


The Typical Expat in Brazil

Further Reading