Ever heard of Buritizal? If not, don’t worry. Most Brazilians haven’t either. It turns out that this tiny town, with only 4,000 residents and located 467km (290 miles) to the north of São Paulo, is the Brazilian municipality with the best quality of life. Buritizal is famous for, well, nothing – and maybe that’s precisely how the town was able to preserve its high quality of living. A study conducted by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Brazil’s National Institute of Science and Technology looked at the living conditions of 5,565 municipalities across Brazil.
After completing their research, the institutions published what they call Brazil’s Urban Welfare Index. To create the ranking of Brazil’s best – and worst – cities to live in, researchers took into account five different factors: urban mobility, housing conditions, environmental conditions, public service efficiency, and infrastructure. Each city received a score that varied from 0 to 1.000, and Buritizal received an amazing rating of 0.951. The index didn’t consider, however, crime rates, entertainment options, or climate.
What does Buritizal have to offer, you might ask? According to the tourism website CityBrazil, its main “attractions” are a private cascade, the city church, and a hydroelectric dam. Not exactly a hotspot for sightseeing. The reasons for Buritizal’s number one position are instead practical – good urban planning and no urban deficits, such as homeless people.
According to Marcelo Ribeiro, a professor at UFRJ, the study also reveals the deep inequality in Brazil. Southern and southeastern cities have the best scores, while northern and northeastern cities have more problems.
No Brazilian state capital managed to break into the Top 100 cities with the best quality of life in the country. Most of them have posted terrible scores regarding urban mobility, environmental and housing conditions – not to mention poor efficiency in public services.
The study has also posted a ranking that considers only the 27 state capitals. Brazil’s two most famous cities were only average. Rio de Janeiro came in 8th, while São Paulo was considered the 12th city with the best living conditions.
The Worst Place In Brazil
The index considered Presidente José Sarney as the worst Brazilian city to live in (0.444 points). The town, located in the state of Maranhão, lacks sanitation, running water, jobs, and hospitals.
It is appropriate that the city bears the name of former President José Sarney, the head of a political clan who has dominated politics in the state of Maranhão for the past 60 years. The Sarneys’ corrupt method of conducting their politics has assured that Maranhão remains the poorest Brazilian state, with parts of the state basically living as though it were the 16th century.