Destination Profile: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, popularly known as Rio, is the second-most populous municipality in Brazil. The dominant language in the city is Portuguese, with a close second of English. Now known as the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Rio has gained the interest of the world as it has entered the public spotlight. Traffic, violence and air pollution are still strongly present in the major cities of the Southeast Brazil (1). Rio does however have a booming economy and has attracted the interest of some high profile companies such as Esso and Shell (2). The decreasing crime rate in the area has also contributed to the steady incline in expats who are viewing Rio as an attractive destination to start a career (3).


There are many different types of employment opportunities in the booming city of Rio de Janeiro. This includes the jobs brought forth by the recent boom in the oil industry in Rio after the discovery of oil in the Campos basin (2). This basin is the main sedimentary area off the Brazilian coast (4). Although the main language in Rio is Portuguese, we offer language training through our Cross-Culture Training program, to help ease the transition.

Some of the other popular jobs in Rio include (5):

  • Engineers (oil related)
  • Teachers (English teachers)
  • Tourism professionals
  • Translation

The average salary in Rio, Brazil per month is $939.79 compared to Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, that has an average salary of $2,617.41 (6). Although the salary may be higher in Mississauga, the cost of living in Rio is substantially lower (6).

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Rio is low, in comparison to North American cities. It is however, higher than most other cities in Brazil because the city is large and experiencing substantial growth.


A one bedroom apartment in the city centre of Mississauga costs, on average, $1,354.17 a month. In Rio, the same apartment would cost on average $584.87 a month. That means that the rent
would be 35% cheaper in Rio (6).

Wealthy Brazilians and international buyers prefer the neighbourhoods of:

  • Leblon
  • Ipanema
  • Jardim Botanico
  • Lagoa

Middle-income residents on the other hand, buy or rent in:

  • Copacabana
  • Botafogo
  • Flamengo
  • Laranjeiras
  • Largo do Machado (3)

Basic utilities in an apartment in Mississauga cost, on average, $226.64 a month. In Rio, for the same size apartment, Utilities cost, on average, $163.27 a month. That means that utilities are 27.96% cheaper in Rio (6).


Food is another commodity that is much cheaper in Rio than in Mississauga. Milk is 44% cheaper and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is 22% cheaper in Rio. Restaurant prices in Brazil are fairly expensive, but groceries from the market are fresh and affordable (7). The local markets are run privately which allows for bargaining and the assurance of freshly picked produce.


The lifestyle in Rio de Janeiro is relaxed, but also features a big city vibe. The lifestyle supported by $5,000.00 a month in Mississauga, would be possible with $3,987.31 a month in Rio (6). This is a substantially lower amount, but must also be compared to the average salary in both locations.


The weather in Rio is different than in Mississauga, Ontario. The temperature in the summer months can reach close to 40°C and the yearly average is 26°C (8).  Most tourists visit Rio between December and March because this is the summer months in Rio (9). While these months are hot, they are also wet. Rio sees on average 12-15 rainy days a month with 4-6 inches of rainfall (9). The winter months in Rio run between June and September. During these months, the average high is 24°C and there is substantially less rain than in the summer months (9).

International Schools

There are several different international schools located in Rio de Janeiro. These schools offer the same programs and equivalency to their countries of origin. There is a variety of different schools for expats to send their children to including (10):

  • American School of Rio de Janeiro
  • British School of Rio de Janeiro
  • Our Lady of Mercy School
  • Rio International School

Way of Life

There is a much different culture in Rio de Janeiro than in North America (11). Brazilians have a reputation of being very social, welcoming, and friendly. Colloquially the population is said to run on ‘Brazilian Time’ which is a much more relaxed approach to life. Meals are scheduled later in the day, and many will take the time out of the day to enjoy a siesta, also known as a nap. Social activities are a large component to daily life, as is family time. Even though the atmosphere is very laid back, punctuality is still valued in formal situations (11). Festivals, such as the popular Rio Carnival, are a large part of the way of life in Rio (12).

If you are thinking of relocating Rio de Janeiro, TransferEASE can help. At TransferEASE our knowledgeable relocation experts can help guide your relocation from start to finish, with care and attention. Call us today to speak to a representative.

  1. The Most Promising Careers in Brazil. The Brazil Business. [Online] 11 10, 2012. [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  2. Rio de Janeiro Economy. Rio De Janeiro. [Online] [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  3. Living in: Rio de Janeiro. BBC Travel. [Online] [Cited: 08 15, 2016.] .
  4. Campos Basin. [Online] [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  5. The Most Promisng Careers in Brazil. The Brazil Business. [Online] 11 10, 2012. [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  6. Cost of Living Comparison Between Mississauga and Rio De Janeiro. [Online] 08 2016. [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  7. Cost of Living in Brazil. Expat Arrivals. [Online] [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  8. Weather in Brazil. Expat Arrivals. [Online] [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  9. Rio De Janeiro Monthly Climate Average, Brazil. World Weather Online. [Online] [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]\.
  10. International schools in Rio de Janeiro. Expat Arrivals. [Online] [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  11. Culture Shock in Brazil. Expat Arrivals. [Online] [Cited: 08 15, 2016.]
  12. Rio de Janeiro Festivals. Rio De Janeiro. [Online] [Cited: 08 15., 2016.]