0.11% of the U.S. population (2012)
|Regions with significant populations
|Florida, New York City metropolitan area and Northern New Jersey,Boston metropolitan area,Dallas-Fort Worth, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta. Growing populations in Chicago, Colorado and Louisiana
|American English, Brazilian Portuguese
Protestantism, Mormonism, Spiritism, Candomblé, Quimbanda, Umbanda, Buddhism, Judaism
|Related ethnic groups
|Hispanic and Latino Americans, other Brazilian diaspora
Brazilian Americans (Portuguese: brasilo-americanos, norte-americanos de origem brasileira or estadunidenses de origem brasileira) are Americans who are of full or partial Brazilian ancestry. There were an estimated 371,529 Brazilian Americans as of 2012, according to the United States Census Bureau. Another source gives an estimate of some 800,000 Brazilians living in the U.S. in 2000, while still another estimates that as of 2008 some 1,100,000 Brazilians live in the United States, 300,000 of them in Florida. According to the 2016 American Community Survey, There are a total of 42,193,781 foreign born persons in the United States. From the 42.2 million immigrants, 350,091 are Brazilians, corresponding 0 .83% (350,091/42.2million) of the foreign born population.
While the official United States Census category of Hispanic or Latino includes persons of South American origin, it also refers to persons of "other Spanish culture," creating some ambiguity about whether Brazilians, who are of South American origin but do not have a Spanish culture, qualify as Latino, as while they are not "Hispanic" (of a culture derived from Spain), they are "Latino" (which is short for latinoamericano).
Other U.S. government agencies, such as the Small Business Administration and the Department of Transportation, specifically include Brazilians within their definitions of Hispanic and Latino for purposes of awarding minority preferences by defining Hispanic Americans to include persons of South America ancestry or persons who have Portuguese cultural roots.
People from what is now Brazil (from anciet João Pessoa and Recife under dutch control in Northeast Brazil - Paraíba and Pernambuco states) are recorded among the Refugees and Settlers that arrived in New Netherland in what is now New York City in the 17th Century among the Dutch West India Company settlers. The first arrivals of Brazilian emigres were formally recorded in the 1940s. Previously, Brazilians were not identified separately from other South Americans. Of approximately 234,761 South American emigres arrived in the United States between 1820 and 1960, at least some of them were Brazilian. The 1960 United States Census report recorded 27,885 Americans of Brazilian ancestry.
From 1960 until the mid-1980s, between 1,500 and 2,300 Brazilian immigrants arrived in the United States each year. During the mid-1980s, economic crisis struck Brazil. As a result, between 1986 and 1990 approximately 1.4 million Brazilians emigrated to other parts of the world. It was not until this time that Brazilian emigration reached significant levels. Thus, between 1987 and 1991, an estimated 20,800 Brazilians arrived in the United States. A significant number of them, 8,133 Brazilians, arrived in 1991. The 1990 U.S. Census Bureau recorded that there are about 60,000 Brazilians living in the United States. However, other sources indicate that there are nearly 100,000 Brazilians living in the New York City metropolitan area (including Northern New Jersey) alone, in addition to sizable Brazilian communities in Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and Phoenix.
There are many hypothesis regarding the formation of Brazilian migration to the United States. Ana Cristina Martes, a professor of sociology at Fundação Getúlio Vargas Brazil, helped explain the first few migratory trips to the U.S. which took place in Boston. She noticed a series of six events that could have led the cycle of migration:
- During World War II, American engineers from the Boston area travelled to Governador Valadares [a city in Minas Gerais, Brazil] ...to work on the region's mineral extraction and railroad...When they came back to the States, many of them brought their Brazilian domestic employees.
- After the war, some Bostonians strengthen the relationship with Valadares [by coming back on more trips for more precious stones].
- In the 1960s, newspapers from Rio [De Janeiro] and Sao Paulo published a number of ads offering jobs to Brazilian women interested in working as maids in Boston.
- [During the same time period, a business man from Massachusetts] hired twenty soccer players from Belo Horizonte to form a soccer team. Many of them stayed permanently and helped their family join them in the States.
- At the end of the decade, a group of more than ten young people from Governador Valadares decided to come to the States to spend more time on 'an adventurous trip...in a country of their dreams'. They also settled permanently and helped their families join them.
- ...several Brazilians came to study in Boston and decided not to return to Brazil. 
Before 1960s there was insignificant movement from Brazil to the United States. It was between 1960s through 1980s that some Brazilians went to the United States as tourists to visit places such as Disney World, New York and other tourist destinations. Brazilians travelled during that time because the country was growing at an average 7% annually and projecting 4% annual increase in GDP per capita . After 1980s, the peak of the economic cycle quickly dropped to a long lasting through. The Brazilian Federal Police reported that in the 1980s about 1.25 million people (1% of the population) emigrated to countries such as the U.S. This was the first time Brazilians emigrated in significant numbers. They wanted to stay in the States until the crisis was over. They also had some work connections and known opportunities in the East Coast, which increased facilitated the move. In 1980, there were 41,000 Brazilians and 82,000 by 1990. Neoclassical Economics Theory explains the beginning flow of migration in 1980 indicating that individuals were rational actors who looked for better opportunities away from home to improve his/her lifestyle. Since the crisis hit the Brazilian middle class hard, many chose to leave to optimize their income, find better jobs, and more stable social conditions by doing marginal benefit analysis.
There was another wave of emigration in 2002 where Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimated that 1.96 million Brazilians had left again as the country continued to lack economic stability. This number reflected another 1% of the Brazilian population 22 years later ("Population, total"). This wave of migration was different from the one in the 1980s. As shown by Martes' research, migration evolved even more with a creation and better establishment of social networks. When Bostonians first brought back a wave of Brazilian domestic workers, Brazilians would send information to their homes about their experiences and opportunities. This connection is what Douglas Massey defined as Social Capital Theory. Migrants create social ties in the host country facilitating the move at lower cost and creating an incentive to join their community in another country. Legal migrants who had entered the U.S. brought their immediate relatives resulting in an increase of the Brazilian immigrant population.
Lawful Permanent Resident Status
The figure portrays a historical pattern of Brazilians obtaining lawful permanent resident status. Each bar represents a 10-year fiscal period. The last 6 years accumulated 80,741 persons obtaining permanent status. The number of persons from 2010-2020 will more likely reflect the 10-year fiscal period from 2000-2009. However, the number of people will increase slightly at a much lower rate than from 1990-1999 to 2000-2009. Source: Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2016.
Brazilians obtained the highest number of lawful permanent residence status between 2000 and 2009 and many were eligible to naturalize. During that time, 115,404 Brazilians received permanent status and from 2010 through 2016, already 80,741 persons had received theirs. Still, it seems as if many received status, but if you compare to the total foreign born Brazilian population, the numbers are small. In 2010 the Brazilian foreign born population was 340,000 and only 12,057 (or 4% of) persons obtained legal status. Of the 336,000 foreign born Brazilians in 2014, only 10,246 (or 3%) received permanent status in the same year. Even though few people are obtaining permanent status, there was a noticeable spike previously mentioned between 2000-2009. The increase in acceptance was due to two main factors: the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and economic and political turmoil in Brazil.
The top four class of admissions for Brazilians obtaining lawful permamanet status in the U.S. in 2016 was family-sponsored, employment, and immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Each category of admissions makes up of 4%, 25%, and 68% respectively of the total individuals.
The 2000 U.S. Census showed that 34.5 percent of Brazilians had completed four or more years of college, while the corresponding number for the general U.S. population is only 24.4 percent. However, although effectively many Brazilian immigrants in the United States are university educated, most of these immigrants fail to get well-qualified jobs and have to get lower-status jobs because the United States doesn't recognize their qualifications and also because many of them do not speak English.
Second-and third-generation Brazilian Americans tend to have better jobs; they have been educated in the United States, speak English, and have citizenship.
Although the majority of Brazilian Americans are Roman Catholic, there also significant numbers of Protestants, Mormons,Brazilian Catholics not in communion with Rome, Orthodox, Irreligious people (including atheists and agnostics), followed by minorities such as Spiritists, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims.
As with wider Brazilian culture, there is set of beliefs related through syncretism that might be described as part of a Spiritualism-Animism continuum, that includes: Spiritism (or Kardecism, a form of spiritualism that originated in France, often confused with other beliefs also called espiritismo, distinguished from them by the term espiritismo [de] mesa branca), Umbanda (a syncretic religion mixing African animist beliefs and rituals with Catholicism, Spiritism, and indigenous lore), Candomblé (a syncretic religion that originated in the Brazilian state of Bahia and that combines African animist beliefs with elements of Catholicism), and Santo Daime (created in the state of Acre in the 1930s by Mestre Irineu (also known as Raimundo Irineu Serra) it is a syncretic mix of Folk Catholicism, Kardecist Spiritism, Afro-Brazilian religions and a more recent incorporation of Indigenous American practices and rites). People who profess Spiritism make up 1.3% of the country's population, and those professing Afro-Brazilian religions make up 0.3% of the country's population.
Brazilians began immigrating to the United States in large and increasing numbers in the 1980s as a result of worsening economic conditions in Brazil at that time. However, many of the Brazilians who have emigrated to the United States since this decade have been undocumented. More women have immigrated to the United States from Brazil than men, with the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Censuses showing there to be ten percent more female than male Brazilian Americans. The top three metropolitan areas by Brazilian population are New York City (72,635),Boston (63,930), and Miami (43,930).
Brazilians obtaining lawful permanent resident status by the top 6 states in the United States. Source: Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2016
Brazilian American communities
- New York City is a leading point of entry for Brazilians entering the United States.West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan has been designated Little Brazil has historically been a commercial center for Brazilians living in or visiting New York City. Another NYC neighborhood home to many Brazilian Americans is located in Astoria, Queens.Newark, New Jersey is also home to many Brazilian and Portuguese-Americans, most prominently in the city's Ironbound district.
- Massachusetts, particularly the Boston metropolitan area, has a sizable Brazilian immigrant population. Framingham has the highest percentage of Brazilians of any municipality in Massachusetts. Large populations also exist in Somerville, Everett, Barnstable, Lowell, Marlboro, Malden, and Falmouth.
- South Florida's large Brazilian community is mostly centered around the islands and northeastern section of Miami-Dade County (North Bay Village, Bay Harbor Islands, Miami Beach, Surfside, Key Biscayne, Aventura, and Sunny Isles Beach) with the exception of Doral. In Broward County, the population is centered on the northeastern part as well (Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Oakland Park, Coconut Creek, Lighthouse Point, and Sea Ranch Lakes), with some living on the border of Palm Beach County.
- Los Angeles, California's Brazilian residents have tended to settle, if not form distinct ethnic enclaves in, the county's southern beach cities (Venice, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Long Beach) and Westside neighborhoods near and south of Interstate 10 (Palms, Rancho Park, and Culver City). The city's greatest concentration of Brazilian American businesses began appearing in the late 1980s along Venice Boulevard's north border between Culver City and Palms (between Overland Avenue and Sepulveda Avenue).
- Chicago, Illinois' Brazilian population began with the migration of Portuguese Sephardi Jews who had fled to Brazil during the World War II era. After World War II, many Sephardim successfully circumvented restrictive U.S. immigration laws, to join the large and largely Ashkenazi population in the Chicago area. However, it was not until the 1970s, did a visible Brazilian community begin to develop in Chicago. The Flyers Soccer Club was founded by a group of young men who desired to bring Brazilian soccer culture to the Chicago area. The Flyers Soccer Club eventually transformed into a multifaceted community organization called the Luso-Brazilian Club. The group was headquartered in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. The group declined in the late 1980s. As Brazilians emigrated to the United States in large numbers in the 1980s and 1990s, Chicago's Brazilian population remained comparatively small, numbering no more than several thousand people by 2000. The FIFA World Cups have attracted the attention of Chicago's Brazilian population through the years, leading to the development of some Brazilian soccer-interested gatherings in the area.
U.S. communities with high percentages of people of Brazilian ancestry
According to ePodunk, a website, the top 50 U.S. communities with the highest percentages of people claiming Brazilian ancestry are:
- North Bay Village, Florida 6.00%
- Danbury, Connecticut 4.90%
- Harrison, New Jersey 4.80%
- Framingham, Massachusetts 4.80%
- Somerville, Massachusetts 4.50%
- Kearny, New Jersey 3.70%
- Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 3.60%
- Deerfield Beach, Florida 3.50%
- Everett, Massachusetts 3.20%
- Marlborough, Massachusetts 3.10%
- Long Branch, New Jersey 2.80%
- Edgartown, Massachusetts 2.70%
- Newark, New Jersey 2.50%
- Doral, Florida 2.50%
- Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts 2.50%
- Miami Beach, Florida 2.20%
- Hillside, New Jersey 2.20%
- Hudson, Massachusetts 2.20%
- Oakland Park, Florida 2.10%
- South River, New Jersey 2.10%
- Cliffside Park, New Jersey2.10%
- Tisbury, Massachusetts 2.10%
- Fairview, New Jersey 2.00%
- Aventura, Florida 1.90%
- Lauramie, Indiana 1.80%
- Revere, Massachusetts 1.70%
- Malden, Massachusetts 1.70%
- Sea Ranch Lakes, Florida 1.70%
- Surfside, Florida 1.60%
- Barnstable, Massachusetts 1.60%
- Lowell, Massachusetts 1.60%
- Ojus, Florida 1.60%
- Washington, Ohio 1.60%
- Naugatuck, Connecticut 1.60%
- Milford, Massachusetts 1.50%
- Dennis Port, Massachusetts 1.50%
- Keene, Texas 1.50%
- Key Biscayne, Florida 1.50%
- Mount Vernon, New York 1.50%
- Avondale Estates, Georgia 1.50%
- Sunny Isles Beach, Florida 1.50%
- Riverside, New Jersey 1.40%
- Trenton, Florida 1.40%
- South Lancaster, Massachusetts 1.30%
- Great River, New York 1.30%
- Port Chester, New York 1.30%
- Coconut Creek, Florida 1.20%
- Belle Isle, Florida 1.20%
- Big Pine Key, Florida 1.20%
- Chelsea, Massachusetts 1.20%
U.S. communities with the most residents born in Brazil
According to the social networking and information website City-Data, the top 25 U.S. communities with the highest percentage of residents born in Brazil are:
- Loch Lomond, Florida 15.8%
- Bonnie Loch-Woodsetter North, Florida 7.2%
- North Bay Village, Florida 7.1%
- East Newark, New Jersey 6.7%
- Framingham, Massachusetts 6.6%
- Harrison, New Jersey 5.8%
- Danbury, Connecticut 5.6%
- Somerville, Massachusetts 5.4%
- Sunshine Ranches, Florida 5.1%
- Flying Hills, Pennsylvania 5.1%
- Deerfield Beach, Florida 4.7%
- Fox River, Alaska 4.5%
- Edgartown, Massachusetts 4.4%
- West Yarmouth, Massachusetts 4.4%
- Marlborough, Massachusetts 4.4%
- Kearny, New Jersey 4.4%
- Doral, Florida 4.1%
- Everett, Massachusetts 4.0%
- Long Branch, New Jersey 3.7%
- Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 3.4%
- Hudson, Massachusetts 3.2%
- Miami Beach, Florida 3.1%
- Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts 3.0%
- Oakland Park, Florida 3.0%
- Pompano Beach Highlands, Florida 3.0%
Some City-Data information contradicts official government data from the Census Bureau. It is important to be mindful that Brazilian Americans sometimes decline to identify as Latino. Therefore, the above estimates may outnumber the Census data figures for Hispanics and/or Latinos for the above Census areas.
Relations with Brazil
Voting Brazilian Americans and Brazilians abroad heavily favored the opposition's Aecio Neves and his pro-business centre to centre-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party in Brazil's 2014 general election. Aecio Neves and the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, were narrowly defeated in the 2014 runoff.
Brazilian Americans represent a large source of remittances to Brazil. Brazil receives approximately one quarter of its remittances from the U.S. (26% in 2012), out of a total amount of $4.9 billion received in 2012.
- Rosental Calmon Alves, PhD., professor of journalism, School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin
- Ana Lucia Araujo, PhD., professor of History at Howard University
- Gustavo Assis-Brasil, musician, composer, author
- Morena Baccarin, actress
- Paulo Barrozo, PhD., S.J.D., associate professor of Law at the Boston College
- Camilla Belle, actress
- Paulo Blikstein, PhD., assistant professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education (Stanford University)
- Blondfire, pop music band
- Jordana Brewster, actress
- Otávio Bueno, PhD., professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami
- Bob Burnquist, professional skateboarder
- Bruno Campos, actor
- Ana Maria Carvalho, PhD., professor of Linguistics at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Arizona
- Max Cavalera, musician
- Lin Chao, PhD., professor of Ecology at the University of California, San Diego
- Flavia Colgan, political strategist
- Mônica da Silva, singer, songwriter
- Olavo de Carvalho, Brazilian philosopher
- Conceição Damasceno, President and Artistic Director of Brasarte, in Berkeley, Entrepreneur.
- Pedro Erber, PhD., associate Professor of Luso-Brazilian Studies at Cornell University
- Gil de Ferran, race car driver and team owner
- Marcelo Jorge de Paula Paixão, PhD., associate professor at the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at The University of Texas at Austin
- Benny Feilhaber, soccer player
- Roquinaldo A. Ferreira, PhD., Vasco da Gama Associate Professor of History and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University
- Sky Ferreira, singer, songwriter, model, and actress
- Rodrigo Fonseca, PhD., assistant professor at Brown University's Computer Science Department
- Bebel Gilberto, singer
- Marcelo Gleiser, PhD., physicist and astronomer. Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College
- Ben Goertzel, PhD., former professor of Computer Sciences at the University of New Mexico, researcher of artificial intelligence, visiting faculty at Xiamen University
- Jared Gomes, rapper and vocalist from Hed PE
- Bill Handel, radio personality
- Nenê Hilário, basketball player
- Ryan Hollweg, hockey player
- Ana Carla Laidley, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Samba researcher, Samba Dancer and Instructor.
- Marília Librandi-Rocha, PhD., Assistant Professor of Luso-Brazilian and Latin American Literature and Cultures at Stanford University
- Leticia Marteleto, Phd., Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and a Faculty Research Associate of the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin
- Sergio Menezes, footvolley athlete and founder of pro tour
- Fabrizio Moretti, musician
- Luciana Namorato, PhD., Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Indiana University
- Naza, visual artist
- David Neeleman, businessman, founder of Jet Blue and Azul Brazilian Airlines
- Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, Duke University Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering and Psychology and Neuroscience, and founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering.
- Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro, Percussionist
- Joe Penna, writer and director
- Nancy Randall, model
- Sonia Roncador, PhD., associate professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese at The University of Texas at Austin
- Carlos Saldanha, film director and animator
- Amen Santo, Capoeira Master.
- Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs placekicker.
- Eduardo Saverin, Facebook co-founder; renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2011
- Vic Seixas (born 1923), Hall of Fame former top-10 tennis player
- José Leonardo Ribeiro da Silva, Soccer Player
- Wanderlei Silva, Mixed Martial Artist 
- Thales S. Teixeira, PhD., Associate Professor at Harvard Business School (Harvard University)
- Roberto Mangabeira Unger, LL.M., S.J.D., Roscoe Pound Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School (Harvard University)
- Luiz Fernando Valente, PhD., Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and Comparative Literature at the Brown University
- Anderson Varejão, basketball player
- Maiara Walsh, actress
- Isadora Williams, figure skater
- Julia Goldani Telles, actress
- Camila Mendes, actress
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