Rio de Janeiro, whose name literally means “River of January,” is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro. With almost 7 million inhabitants, it is the second largest city in Brazil after Sao Paulo and was the capital of the country until 1960, when Brasília was moved there. Not many foreigners are currently living in Rio de Janeiro. The city is located on the western edge of Guanabara Bay and is surrounded by mountains and evergreen hills. Rio is famous all over the world for several reasons:
- The huge statue of Christ the Redeemer, which dominates the city
- The famous carnival
- The beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema
- The high crime rate
- The night life
Rio has skyscrapers, modern buildings, beautiful housing complexes and more than a hundred favelas where hundreds of thousands of people live in abject poverty. This social and economic inequality, where part of the population belong to the rich class and another part is forced to live like an african citizen, is the main cause of the problems of Brazilian society.
The city lacks infrastructure and services, and the public transportation system is inadequate and underdeveloped. Public health and education are not adequately funded by the state, so the school system is deficient, and medical facilities are understaffed and inadequately equipped. Not to mention the bureaucracy: most state employees only pretend to work, or often do not pretend at all, but simply do not work. And when one has to go to an office, the slow machinery of bureaucracy only gets going after one has paid a bribe to the official on duty.
You should know that living in Rio de Janeiro is very expensive. Rio is an expensive city, living with little money will not be easy or pleasant for a foreigner. Logically, it all depends on your lifestyle, but if you do not want to live in a favela, provided you get in and most importantly get out alive, you will have to rent an apartment in a closed residential area with 24-hour surveillance, and renting a studio is not cheap.
One of the city’s biggest problems is security.
The city is at the mercy of criminal gangs that control drug trafficking and all illegal businesses in the city, and as if that were not enough, corrupt politicians and judges do nothing. Crime is not the same throughout the city; there are neighborhoods, especially in the favelas, controlled by drug traffickers where there are no laws. It’s like living in a place where at any moment you can be involved in a shootout between rival gangs and hit by a stray bullet. Other neighborhoods are safer, but even in the most controlled areas (where wealthy people live), more and more private guards and security personnel are needed to control the increasing crime.
When you go out, especially at night, but also during the day, you must always be alert. You must know exactly where you’re going and which way to go. Every time you leave your home, you need to pre-estimate the place you’re going to, the time of departure and return, the speed of travel, the light conditions, etc.
But the people are so cheerful that they even manage to make fun of the serious problems of the city. The Cariocas (inhabitants of Rio) are noisy, chaotic, do not follow the rules and are always late, but they are friendly, helpful, cheerful and smiling, and nothing can touch the innate optimism they have inside them, which makes them accept everything with a smile. The only time you see a sad Brazilian is when you meet him right after his soccer team has lost.
In terms of work, Rio de Janeiro is the city with the greatest employment opportunities in Brazil, after Sao Paulo, with many companies in different sectors: Commerce, IT, Oil, Pharmaceuticals, etc.
Living and working in Rio de Janeiro – pros and cons
Living in Rio de Janeiro, pros
- Exceptional climate
- Nightlife and entertainment
- Growing economy
- Welcoming and friendly people
- Relaxed lifestyle
- Good Food
Living in Rio de Janeiro, cons
- High level of crime
- Environmental pollution
- High cost of living
- Inefficient services (school, health, etc.)
- Much bureaucracy
Living and working in Rio de Janeiro, conclusion
Is it better to live in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo?
Many foreigners ask themselves the fateful question whether it is better to live in Rio de Janeiro or in Sao Paulo.
Sao Paulo is a modern metropolis like many others in the world. Huge skyscrapers, people everywhere, few parks and green spaces and no beaches. It has a more developed middle class and offers more employment opportunities. The people are more reserved.
Rio de Janeiro is a more Brazilian city. With its obvious contrasts between wealth and poverty, but also in the middle of nature, surrounded by mountains and with green spaces everywhere and beautiful beaches. It is a more touristy city, but also less safe and more violent than Sao Paulo, but the people are more open to relationships and integration with foreigners.
Rio is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world: the mountains that surround it and the beautiful beaches make it unique. The people are friendly, sincere and hospitable, and the weather is exceptional. The fascination that the city exerts on people is undeniable, but the omnipresent feeling of insecurity that accompanies you every moment of the day causes the perceived quality of life to drop significantly.
If you are interested in working in Brazil, you can read the article: Moving to Brazil
If you want to have all the information about how to work in Brazil, I recommend you to read the article: Work in Brazil