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Introduction: This report examines demographic and socioeconomic factors concerning Brazilians in the United States between 1980 and 2007.

Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.

Results: The wave of migration from Brazil which began in the 1990s in all likelihood will continue into the future, economic fluctuations in the U.S. notwithstanding. In part this is due to the relatively high rates of educational attainment found among the foreignborn Brazilian population of the U.S. Implicit in these high rates is the fact that many migrants possess skills which command salaries in the U.S. that are significantly higher than found in the same professions within Brazil. This has been, without question, a major stimulus to out migration from Brazil. Brazilians with lower levels of educational attainment will probably continue to migrate to the United States because of the extraordinarily low salaries prevailing in Brazil in nearly every occupational category, as well as high rates of poverty, unemployment, and underemployment prevailing in the country despite impressive rates of economic growth in the early 21st century. Despite economic expansion Brazil has one of the worst income distribution structures in the hemisphere as wealth is heavily concentrated among the elite, about 5% - 10% of the country’s population.

Discussion: In all probability Brazilians will continue to be drawn to the five states — Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, New York — where about two-thirds of the Brazilian population resided in 2007. The impressive educational attainment profile of Brazilians in the U.S. will probably continue to improve. Not only are highly educated Brazilians a significant part of the immigrant pool, but there is an apparent propensity for Brazilians to continue aspiring to acquire college degrees once in the U.S.


For additional information about this collection see

Citation information: Bergad, L. (2010). Brazilians in the United States 1980—2007. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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