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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 and,  ranks low in a large number of topics relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index.

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 23 938 USD a year.

In terms of employment, over 67% of people aged 15 to 64 in Brazil have a paid job, slightly more than the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 79% of men are in paid work, compared with 55% of women. In Brazil, 11% of employees work very long hours, higher than the OECD average of 9%, with 13% of men working very long hours compared with 8% for women.

Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Brazil, 43% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, less than the OECD average of 75%. This is truer of women than men, as 41% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 46% of women. Among younger people – a better indicator of Brazil’s future – 57% of 25-34 year-olds have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, also lower than the OECD average of 82% but showing progress. 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 73 years, 7 years lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 77 years, compared with 70 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 18.3 micrograms per cubic meter, below the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Brazil could do better in terms of water quality, as 67% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, less than the OECD average of 84%.  

Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate 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, slightly more than the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 79%, higher than the OECD average of 72%. There is little difference in voting levels across society; 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 11 percentage points and suggesting there is broad social inclusion in Brazil’s democratic institutions.

In general, Brazilians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 80% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc.) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 76%.

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

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Investing in Youth: Brazil

This report provides a detailed diagnosis of the youth labour market and education system in Brazil. It takes an international comparative perspective, offering policy options to help improve school-to-work transitions. It also provides an opportunity for other countries to learn from the innovative measures that Brazil has taken to strengthen the skills of youth and their employment outcomes.

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