Guide for expatriates moving, living and working in Brazil, Sao Paulo City Guide, international Movers, aparthotel, relocation,
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Guide for living and working in Brazil
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6 - Other sectors

The service sector represents 62% of the GNP, and employs nearly 50% of the working population.

High tech services are developing :
Telecom Italia for example invested 800 million dollars in Internet in June 2000. Brazil is one the most developed countries in the world in on-line banking, nearly 4.5 million bank accounts are managed via Internet. Since the middle of 1999 the number of sites has exploded.
Publicity investment done via Brazilian portals represent 6% of the advertising market, a total of 280 million dollars for the first 6 months of the year 2000.

Privatization is the reason for the investment frenzy.
In the telecommunication sector investments should reach nearly 42 billion dollars over the next four years.
This income will finance the installation of 21.8 million fixed connections, 30.5 million mobile connections and 690,000 telephone booths.

A major problem in the domain of high tech is smuggling and fraud (concerning nearly 90% of the mobile phones on the market).

Large scale distribution in Brazil is making up for lost time and quickly catching up with European and North American markets.
The centre of wealth and consumption is within the triangle of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.

Shopping centres have an ever increasing success : there are about 506 spread over the country, used by 62 million shoppers each month

Brazil is the third biggest market in the domain of franchising, coming after the USA and Japan. 200,000 people are employed in franchising and the turnover is rapidly expanding. 75% of the market is fast food, perfume shops and clothing.

Several hundred thousand people live off recycling, which is a dynamic sector in Brazil.
Research in this sector is encouraged and numerous experiments are perpetuated.

7 - Population

There are approximately 165,870,000 inhabitants over a surface of 8,511,965 square kilometers, making a density of 17 persons per square kilometer.

The working population is estimated to be 74 million.
Unskilled workers are numerous and it is usually necessary to train employees. In certain regions there is a shortage of managerial and technical staff.

Population breakdown :
0 - 14 years 30.14%
15 - 64 years 65.01%
65 years and over 4.85%
Life expectancy : 67 years

The minimum legal salary is currently 136 BRL per month.
Only 20% of the population can afford goods and services.
1% of the population are wealthy, 9% are middle class, the other 90% of the population earn less than 1,700 dollars a month per household.

80% of Brazilians are urban dwellers.
The working population is mainly concentrated in the biggest towns, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and can be divided into the following categories :
Mulattos 22% - Portuguese 15% - Italians 11% - Spanish 10% - Europeans 17% - Halfcastes 12% -
Africans 11% - Japanese 1%.

Level of developement (latest available statistics)

demographical growth 1997 - 2015 (%) .......................+1.1
child mortality (%) ........................................................... 34
energy consumption per capita TOE ........................... 1.01
inhabitants without drinkable water (% pop.) ............. 24
inhabitants without sanitary installations (% pop.) ... 30
N° of doctors per 1 000 inhabitants ............................... 1.4
telephone lines per 1 000 inhabitants ........................... 107
mobile phones per 1 000 inhabitants .............................. 28
private cars per 1 000 inhabitants ................................... 74
N° of computers per 1 000 inhabitants .......................... 26.3
adult illiteracy rate (%) ..................................................... 16
secondary schooling /age category (%) ....................... 45
university graduates /age category (%) ........................ 12
(source UN)

There are native reserves in Brazil. They cover an area of 946,450 sq. kms.
They are mostly to be found in the north, with others in the north-east, the central west, the south and the south-east of the country.
Some natives still live in isolation.

8 - Language

The official language is Portuguese.
It is the inheritance of the colonial period.

Brazilians often speak English, Spanish and French and sometimes Italian or German.
The native population is divided into 215 ethnic groups speaking some 170 different languages, e.g. Nambik Wara, Munduruku, Kayapo, Guarini, Guajajara, Tukano, Satere, Maue.

9 - Religion

There are several religious affiliations, but the main ones are Roman Catholic and Protestant. 90% of the population are Catholics and 7% are Protestant.

10 - Weights, measures and voltage

The metric system is in use.

Generally speaking the electrical current is 110/120 volts - 6 HZ, except in Brazilia, where it is 220 volts.

Electric plugs are usually the American type (with flat prongs).

Take an electrical adapter with you, although most hotels are equipped with 110 volts.

11 - Money

The official currency is the Real (1 Real/R$, several Reais).
One real is divided into 100 centavos.
The exchange regulations : independent floating currency.

The best thing when visiting Brazil is to bring US dollars which you change little by little, with the omni-present inflation the value changes daily (over 500% inflation per year!).
It is advisable to keep aside an amount in foreign currency destined for the various airport taxes, which amount to the equivalent of 50 Francs for internal flights and 100 Francs for an international flight.

There are numerous exchange bureaus, particularly in the hotels.
Shops seldom accept payment by Master Card, Visa Card is more often accepted.

The Main Ports :

Brazil has 35 well-equipped ports, amongst which are Santos, Fortaleza, Belem, Manaus, Salvador, Porto-Alegre and Rio de Janeiro.

13 - Climate

Brazil is an immense country and the climatic variations are such that it is impossible to be precise on an ideal period for a visit.
The seasons are inversed with those of the USA and Europe.
About 80% of the country is situated in a tropical zone.

Amazonia is a hot, humid and rainy region. In the centre of the forest it is rare to have a humidity level under 100%. Rain falls at all times of the day, storms usually break out in the early afternoon.
Rain is more frequent as you approach the north coast (Santarem, Belem).
There are however periods when the rain is less frequent, June to October is the 'dry season'. In the north of Amazonia above the equator, the 'dry' periods are inversed and are from November to February.

At Salvador de Bahia, during the summer (from December to March), the temperatures are high, it is sometimes rather heavy and short rainbursts are quite frequent. From April to August these rains are longer and heavier. September to mid-December is a good period with a lot of sunny days.
The temperature of the sea is approx. 25 - 26° from July to November and 28° from January to April.

The climate is less stable in the centre of the north-east : from May to November the temperatures go over 38° and there are often catastrophic floodings after the extremely heavy rains which take place after long dry periods.

In Rio during the southern winter (from June to September) the temperatures are pleasant varying between 23 and 27°.
The temperature of the sea remains cool. From December to March, the local summer, it is very hot and heavy and it is also the rainy season.
There are however very nice sunny periods throughout the day, the rain nearly always falls towards the end of the afternoon.
The sea is never very warm though.

On the Minas Gerais plateau, and further north (Brazilia) it is very hot and dry from May to September.
In winter the temperatures are pleasant but cool and there can be an icy wind.

Sao Paulo is at an altitude and far from the coast.
The temperatures are pleasant all the year round even if it is a bit cooler in winter.
The town is unfortunately considered to be the most polluted in the world, the sky is often clouded over. There are heavy rains from the end of November to mid-March.

In the south of Brazil, Porto Alegre has nearly a Mediterranean climate with mild winters (a bit too cold to swim ) and hot summers with cool evenings.

From July to August it snows on the mountains of the Rio Grande do Dul.


There are snakes and scorpions in the south-east of the country, with lots of pernilongos and borachudos. There are a lot of mosquitoes in the towns, which are especially active after sundown.
In Amazonia there are flies, spiders and ants ... as well as :

- over 1,500 species of birds
- about a hundred species of turtles and tortoises
- over 110 species of lizards
- about 220 species of snakes
- and over 1,500 species of fresh water fish

A few examples of Brazilian animals :
armadillos, pumas, jaguars, crocodiles, piranhas.
More than 55,000 plants and flowers have been listed as belonging to Brazilian flora.

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