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The 20 Worst Places to Live in Brazil


Blessed with gorgeous beaches, scenic beauty, amazing food, and dynamic cities, Brazil is unquestionably a beautiful country. Every year, over 6 million tourists pour into the country to admire its beauty. Unfortunately, not all of them leave with their health and wealth intact. With high rates of robbery and assault, not to mention one of the worst homicide rates in the world, there's no doubt Brazil is a dangerous country. Depending on where you live, you're also at risk of extreme poverty, poor job prospects, inadequate housing, and dire air quality. While there's plenty of great places to live in the country, you'd do well to avoid these 20 worst places to live in Brazil at all costs.


20. Maceio

Getting things off to a less than dazzling start is Maceio, a city where the homicide rate currently stands at 79.76 per 100,000 residents. Although it's known for its chemical industry, job opportunities and prospects in the city are extremely thin on the ground, leading many to either suffer in extreme poverty or turn to crime in an effort to escape it. Corruption is rife, with the result that the police force is, quite literally, criminally underfunded. To top it off, the city is surrounded by some of the most desolate slums in the country.

Joao Pessoa

19. Joao Pessoa

On appearances alone, Joao Pessoa is a gorgeous place. Blessed with tropical beaches, a delightful juxtaposition of modernist architecture and historic buildings, and more green areas than almost any other city on earth, it has all the qualities you'd expect of a great place to live. So, what's so wrong that it deserves a place on our list? Simply put, homicides. With 79.41 homicides per 100,000 residents, this isn't the kind of city that anyone with a healthy regard for safety would willingly decide to call home, no matter how pretty the beaches.

Centro do Guilherme

18. Centro do Guilherme

Over 95% of Centro do Guilherme's population live in extreme poverty, making it the poorest city in the entire country. As you'd expect, amenities are next to non-existent, jobs are rarer than hen's teeth, and many people are forced to scrape together a living through prostitution and crime. If you have a choice in the matter, choose somewhere else.


17. Sobral

If good job opportunities, decent housing, and plentiful amenities are what goes into making a good place to live, then Sobral doesn't stand a chance. Jobs are scarce, amenities are non-existent, roads have more potholes than cement, and gang violence is rife. But for once, there's a silver lining. According to the Guardian, its schools have gone from being the worst in the country 15 years ago to the best today. While that won't necessarily help the older generation, it does at least mean there's hope for the youth.


16. Curitiba

As the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná, you won't expect Curitiba to be some bucolic little backwater. And indeed, it's not. With just shy of 2 million residents, the city ranks as the eighth-most populous metropolis in Brazil and the largest in Brazil's South Region. Although rural areas in Brazil have their own set of problems, most organized crime tends to take place in larger cities. With its high rate of both violent and non-violent crime, Curitiba is no exception. Its problems don't end there. According to, it also ranks as one of the most polluted cities in the country, making it as poor a home for those concerned with air quality as it is for those concerned with safety.


15. Brasilia

In fairness, Brazil's capital city has a lot going for it. It has the highest GDP per capita of any major Latin American city, its creative urban planning and modernist architecture has seen it named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a UNESCO City of Design; its international airport connects to all other major Brazilian cities and numerous international ones, and it's got some great schools and health care facilities. Unfortunately, it also has a high enough crime rate to make it a very dubious choice of home for the safety-conscious.


14. Rocinha

Rewind a few decades and Rocinha was one of the safest favel's in Brazil. Those days are well and truly gone. Now, the ongoing power struggle between the local drug barrens and police has turned it into the kind of place where no one is safe. The violence has become so bad on occasions, the army has been called in to calm the flames (sometimes literally). If you value your safety, avoid it at all costs.

Vila Cruzeiro

13. Vila Cruzeiro

Vila Cruzeiro may have a rich history, but unless it sorts out its troubling present, it's got very little future. As reports, the favel was put on the world map in 2010 after becoming the epicenter of violent outbreaks and massive police operations. Over a decade later, little has changed. Unlike residents of some of the other, newer favels in the area, all the residents of the 40-year-old Vila Cruzeiro have water, gas, and electricity. Does that compensate for the fact that regular shoot outs, gang violence, and drug trafficking have turned it into one of the most violent places in the country? Probably not.


12. Alagoas

According to Travel Visa Pro, Alagoas ranks as one of the most violent places in Brazil. Fistfights and stabbings are more common than verbal arguments, and finding someone who lives here who hasn't at some point been mixed up in something dubious is next to impossible. The murder rate is one of the highest in the country, but even the homicide rate pales in comparison to the amount of casual violence that residents have come to expect as part of everyday life. Unless you don't mind never sleeping safely and soundly in your bed again, avoid.

Downtown Rio de Janerio

11. Downtown Rio de Janerio

Rio de Janerio is a huge. vibrant city packed with attractions. But if you choose to live here, pick your neighborhood wisely. Pick the wrong one, and you could be opening yourself up to a whole world of trouble. Downtown Rio might be scattered with some very handsome landmarks, but it's also riddled with crime and poverty. If you value the safety of your person and your property, do yourself a favor and skip it.

Sao Paulo

10. Sao Paulo

They say most of the crime in Sao Paulo happens in the favela neighborhoods on its outskirts. But apparently, there's more than enough to share around. While the favelas should be avoided at all costs, you might also want to think twice about visiting the area around Parque de la Luz, which is rife with street crime; the red light districts around Rua Augusta, Catedral da Sé and Praça da República; and stops on the red and blue metro lines at night, all of which (according to at least) rank as some of the most dangerous parts of the city for both residents and tourists alike. With carjacking, theft, assault, rape, kidnapping, and homicide all on the rise, you might want to avoid the city if you value your health, wealth, and happiness.


9. Recife

If you like beautiful architecture, Recife might be right up your street. Known as the Venice of Brazil, its charming river canals and breathtaking buildings and parks suggest a great place to visit, live, and hang around. But do so at your own risk. Beneath the pretty veneer, Recife is a seedy, seething hotbed of crime. Kidnapping and assaults are commonplace, while the homicide rate is one of the highest in the country. On the plus side, the cost of living is pretty decent. Whether having more disposal income is worth the risk of getting shot, raped, or stabbed is a question we'll leave you to decide.

Porto Alegre

8. Porto Alegre

According to, the city of Porto Alegre ranks as one of the most dangerous places on earth. So dangerous has it become, in fact, the U.S. Department of State has assessed Porto Alegre as being a critical threat location for crime. While the homicide rate has fallen in recent years, it's still scarily high. Street crime like muggings and armed robbery are rife, posing an equally dangerous situation for tourists and residents.


7. Fortaleza

If you'd rather avoid an early grave, you might want to give Fortaleza a miss. The city might be blessed with pristine white beaches and hugely popular tourist attractions like the Lençois Maranhenses National Park, but its beauty is horribly overshadowed by a crime rate that puts it amongst Brazil's most dangerous places to live. Every year, the city experiences around 69 homicides per 100K residents. Assaults, rapes, muggings and armed robberies are also commonplace. If you're happy to never leave your house again, you'll find it a great place to live. If you intend on walking through your front door at any point, you'll find much better places to call home.


6. Natal

Despite being a popular tourist destination, Natal is no one's idea of a great place to live. Beneath the beauty of its landscape lie some ugly secrets, including escalating poverty and a homicide rate that stands at 75 per 100,000 people.


5. Caracarai

If you're a woman, steer well clear of Caracarai. Sex trafficking and sexual assaults are almost the norm here, making it a particularly dangerous place for women and children. The homicide rate is equally disturbing, with a rate of 210 per 100.000 inhabitants. With just 19000 people to its name, this crime-riddled city isn't just low on safety, it's low in job opportunities, decent housing, and pretty much any redeemable feature.

Santa Teresa

4. Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa might be beautiful on the surface, but it boasts some pretty unsavory areas. Despite the fact it attracts legions of tourists every year, woe betide any visitor that wanders down the wrong street. Muggings and other types of street crime are commonplace, while the violent crime rate seems to grow by the year. Unless you prefer the company of bodyguards to friends, this is one 'must visit' tourist spot that you might want to leave to the day trippers.

Mato Grosso

3. Mato Grosso

Despite the fact that Mato Grosso is more plain than it is anything else, it still manages to be one of the most violent and undesirable places to live in Brazil. Whether we're talking about violent crime or property crime, both are at epidemic levels. The homicide rate, in particular, makes for some very unpleasant reading. Job opportunities are thin on the ground unless you work in agriculture - with 30 million cattle and 2.5 million pigs, the region is one of the biggest producers of meat products in the country. Other than that, it really doesn't have a lot to boast about.


2. Manaus

Manaus is the capital city of Amazonas. With breathtaking sights and gorgeous colonial architecture, it's widely considered one of the most beautiful cities in the area. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most dangerous. While there are worse places for violent crime, the property crime rate is sky high, with around 1038,4 theft cases for every 100,000 inhabitants. If you don't want to be constantly on edge wondering when or where you'll become the next victim, do yourself and your belongings a favor and steer clear.


1. Salvador

Increasing homicide rates and warring prison gangs have turned the formerly beautiful, photogenic city of Salvador into a battleground. Brazil's most dangerous city might have great shopping, breathtaking colonial buildings, and gorgeous historical plazas, but none of that counts for much when you consider that career criminals and drug barrens now rule the city with an iron fist. Even locals aren't immune to the dangerous side of the city, and recommend that travelers keep it firmly of their itinerary.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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