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indicator value unit
Population 196.5 mil.
Visitors per year 5.2 mil.
Renewable energy 45.8 %

How’s Life?

Brazil has made tremendous progress over the last decade in terms of improving the quality of life of its citizens. In recent years, the country has seen a track record of inclusive growth and poverty reduction. Notwithstanding, Brazil performs well in only a few measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index. Brazil ranks above the average in subjective well-being, and social connections, but below average in income and wealth, jobs and earnings, housing, environmental quality, health status, and education and skills.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Brazil, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is lower than the OECD average of USD 29 016 a year.

In terms of employment, about 67% of people aged 15 to 64 in Brazil have a paid job, slightly more than the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 79% of men are in paid work, compared with 56% of women. In Brazil, 10% of employees work very long hours, lower than the OECD average of 13%, with 12% of men working very long hours compared with 6% of women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Brazil, 46% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, less than the OECD average of 76%. This is truer of women than men, as 43% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 49% of women. In terms of education quality, the average student scored 402 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is lower than the OECD average of 497. The gender gap in Brazil is narrower than for the OECD overall, with girls scoring 404 and boys 400, compared with an average OECD difference of 8 points in favour of girls.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Brazil is 75 years, five years lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 79 years, compared with 71 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 16.6 micrograms per cubic meter, above the OECD average of 14.05 micrograms per cubic meter. Brazil could do better in terms of water quality, as 73% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, less than the OECD average of 81%.  

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Brazil, where 90% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, more than the OECD average of 88%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens' participation in the political process, was 79%, higher than the OECD average of 68%. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 81% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 80%, much narrower than the OECD average gap of 13 percentage points.

In general, Brazilians are just as satisfied with their lives as the OECD average. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Brazilians gave it a 6.5 grade, in line with the OECD average.

For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.

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OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Brazil 2015

This 2015 OECD Economic Survey of Brazil examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. The special chapters cover: Strengthening the industrial sector and Improving health policies.

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