Brazil has a renowned reputation for its vibrant culture and carnivals, and the low cost of living in Brazil compared to the US is increasingly drawing attention from tourists and expats alike. The South American nation offers an economical living option for retirees and expat families aiming to cut down on living expenses compared to many Western countries. This article will provide insights into Brazil’s average living costs for a comfortable lifestyle.

Brazil Currency

For expats moving to Brazil, understanding the foreign currency that you’ll be using is crucial. Brazil’s official currency is the Brazilian real. Divided into 100 centavos, the real utilizes the official currency code BRL, and its value has hovered around 5 BRL to 1 USD in recent years.

The Cost of Living in Brazil

Here is a summary of the average cost of living in Brazil, according to data from Numbeo.

The cost of food

Brazil has the optimal climate for various types of local produce; therefore, you can find a wide range of locally produced fruits and vegetables, such as oranges and tomatoes, and meat products, such as beef and chicken, at low prices compared to the United States.



Milk (one liter)


Bread (500 g)


Rice (one kg)


Eggs (12)


Cheese (one kg)


Apples (one kg)


Tomatoes (one 1kg)


Meat (one kg)


Chicken (one kg)


Water (1.5 liters)


Bottled wine (750 ml)


Domestic beer (0.33 ml)


The cost of utilities

Brazilin utility prices are reasonably low due to its warm climate, eliminating the need for central heating or AC throughout the summer and winter–although this largely depends on where in the country you live. Brazilian territory covers most of South America, and the north of Brazil is considerably hotter than the rest of the South.



Basic utilities (electricity, water, garbage collection)


Mobile phone plan (calls and 10GB of mobile data)


Internet (60Mbps)


The cost of eating out

In Brazil, you’ll find a diverse culinary scene that spans traditional Belo Horizonte restaurants to international gastronomic offerings in São Paulo, with restaurants catering to different budget brackets.



Meal in an inexpensive restaurant


Mid-range three-course meal for two


Fast food combo meal


Domestic beer (0.5 liter draught)


Cappuccino (regular)


Soda (0.33 liter)


The cost of transportation in Brazil

Owning a car in Brazil is very convenient; however, car ownership in Brazil is generally more expensive than in the United States. Large cities such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offering wide public transportation systems, including trains, buses, and metros.

Public Transport


One-way ticket (local transport)


Monthly pass


Taxi start and one km


Vehicle Ownership


Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90


Gasoline (one liter)


Take a look at our Brazil citizenship by investment ultimate guide

Click here Arrow Icon

Average Monthly Expenses in Brazil vs the United States

Here is a breakdown of Brazil’s average monthly cost of living versus the US for a single person and a family of four. The figures are based on data from Numbeo.

Without Rent


United States

Percentage Increase

Single Person



109 percent higher in the US

Family of four



109 percent higher in the US

Including Rent


United States

Percentage Increase

Single Person



230 percent higher in the US

Family of four



168 percent higher in the US

Brazil Real Estate Prices

Rent prices in Brazil

As with most countries in Latin America and worldwide, there’s a considerable variation in rental prices depending on the location. São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are two of the most popular cities among expats and Brazilians and generally command the highest rent prices.

Below is a comparison of rental prices for the most popular Brazilian cities to live in.


São Paulo

Rio de Janeiro



Belo Horizonte

One-bedroom apartment in the city center






One-bedroom apartment outside of the center






Three-bedroom apartment in the city center






Three-bedroom apartment outside of the center






Cost of buying property in Brazil

The Brazil Investor Visa program offers a pathway to permanent residency through real estate investment, prompting many expats to capitalize on the country’s affordable real estate prices.

Below is an estimation of Brazil’s property prices in dollars per meter squared compared to the United States.



United States

Percentage Increase

Price per m2 (city center)



335 percent higher in the US

Price per m2 (outside the city center)



335 percent higher in the US

The Cost of Healthcare in Brazil

The Brazilian government provides universal healthcare through SUS (Unified Healthcare System). Although universal and free, wait times to access care can be very long, and most retirees and expats living in Brazil opt for private health insurance. Private medical care plans in Brazil provide modern medical facilities and care at an affordable cost. However, the prices can vary widely depending on which state you live in and your age.

Through several of Brazil’s largest health insurance providers, including Amil, SulAmerica, Unimed, and Bradesco Saúde, a reasonable estimate for a monthly plan for expats aged under 50 will cost about $100 to $150. In contrast, a plan offering full coverage for retirees in Brazil can range from $400 to $600 monthly.

Brazil Cost of Living Index by City

Numbeo has engineered a cost-of-living index ranking various factors such as accommodation, transportation, groceries, and dining, providing a comprehensive snapshot of the relative expenses in different cities compared to each other.

The ranking consists of six indexes:

  • Cost of Living Index
  • Rent Index
  • Cost of Living Plus Rent Index
  • Groceries Index
  • Restaurant Price Index
  • Local Purchasing Power Index

Based on the above ranking factors, São Paulo had the highest overall cost of living, including the rent, cost of living plus rent, groceries, and restaurant prices. Rio de Janeiro had the second highest overall cost of living in Brazil but was ranked the lowest in local purchasing power, indicating that while the expenses in the city were relatively high, the ability of residents to afford those expenses was comparatively lower than in other cities assessed by the Numbeo index.

Among the six Brazilian cities evaluated, Belo Horizonte had the lowest overall cost of living. Brasilia ranked the highest for local purchasing power and higher than all other capital cities in South America besides Montevideo.

Taxes in Brazil

All individuals considering moving to Brazil should consider Brazil’s income taxes. Brazil imposes a progressive global income tax, ranging from zero to 27.5 percent, and tax residents are obligated to declare and pay taxes on income earned both within Brazil and abroad.

There is no bilateral tax treaty between the US and Brazil, meaning expats living in Brazil are required to fulfill federal tax obligations in the US even if they establish permanent residency in Brazil based on US citizenship-based taxation.

Brazil’s sales tax rate is between 17 and 25 percent, depending on the state and type of consumer goods, as opposed to 7.25 percent in the United States.

Cost of Moving to Brazil

If you’re considering moving to Brazil to start a new life, gaining residency status through one of the available visa programs, such as the Brazil Investor Visa or retirement visa, is crucial to ensure a smooth and legally compliant relocation process.

American expat men over 65 and women over 60 can retire in Brazil by obtaining a Brazilian retirement visa if they earn a pension income of $2,000 or more and transfer it to a Brazilian bank account. The retirement visa income threshold is enough to cover the average monthly living costs in Brazil.

Another option is the Brazil Investor Visa, which allows foreign expats to move permanently to Brazil by purchasing property worth at least BRL 1 million (about $200,000) or BRL 700,000 (about $140,000), depending on the region.

Foreign expats living in Brazil can apply for Brazilian citizenship after four years of residency, provided they fulfill the requirements for naturalization.

All you need to know about the Brazilian Passport

Learn more Arrow Icon

Frequently Asked Questions about the Cost of Living in Brazil

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Brazil?

The money needed to live a comfortable life in Brazil depends on factors such as your chosen city, lifestyle, and circumstances. If you bought property in Brazil to obtain a residence permit and enjoy frequent leisure activities, your budget considerations may need to account for higher discretionary leisure spending. In contrast, considering the differences in healthcare expenses and services, opting for public healthcare over private healthcare can save money.

Generally speaking, those earning strong foreign currencies, such as the EURO or USD, can live in Brazil comfortably, and the average annual cost of living in Brazil is $12,000 to $24,000 for a single person.

Is it cheaper to live in Brazil than in the US?

The cost of living in Brazil is significantly cheaper than in the United States. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Brazil’s most expensive city, São Paulo, costs around $560.14 per month. In contrast, the average rent for a similar apartment in a comparable city like New York would be $4,110.92.

Brazilian consumer prices are also cheaper than in the United States. Below are four estimated monthly costs for ordinary expenses:



United States

Public transport monthly pass



Basic utilities



Mid-range restaurant for two



Gym membership



What is the average salary in Brazil?

According to CNN Brasil, the average monthly salary in Brazil in 2023 was BRL 2,836 (about $575). Although Brazil has a low minimum wage, individuals can earn a good salary by Brazilian standards in specific major cities. The average salary in São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital, was BRL 3,442 (about $700), and those living in the Federal District (Brasilia) earned the highest average salary at BRL 4,648 ($945).

Is Brazil expensive for food?

How expensive food and drink are in Brazil will vary depending on your tastes. Grocery shopping for food is cheap compared to the United States and other countries like Canada and the United Kingdom. A kilogram of beef is under $9 on average, compared to $16 in the US, and chicken is also a third of the price at $4 compared to $12. Budget meals in Brazil cost about $6 per person and a three-course meal for two costs $30 on average.

What is the cost of private education in Brazil?

Brazil provides free education for children during the compulsory schooling age. The monthly cost for private education ranges from $400 to $500 for half a day’s study and $800 to $1000 for a full day’s study, depending on the city. International schools in Brazil are relatively expensive, and estimated monthly costs for an American-accredited school can be $2,500 to $3,000.

Brazil Passport Visa Free Countries
More Info arrow icon
Brazil Permanent Residency – Brazil Investment Visa (VIPER)
More Info arrow icon
A Guide to Brazil Citizenship by Investment
More Info arrow icon
Everything You Need to Know about the Brazilian Passport
More Info arrow icon