Brazilian Americans

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Brazilian Americans
Total population
(Brazilian Americans
371,529[1] 0.11% of the US population in 2012)
Regions with significant populations
Florida, New York City metropolitan area and Northern New Jersey,[2] Boston metropolitan area,[3] Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta
American English, Brazilian Portuguese

Roman Catholicism

Protestantism, Irreligion, Spiritism, Candomblé, Quimbanda, Umbanda, Buddhism, Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Hispanic and Latino Americans, other Brazilian diaspora

Brazilian Americans (Portuguese: brasílio-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.[1] Another source gives an estimate of some 800,000 Brazilians living in the U.S. in 2000,[4] while still another estimates that as of 2008 some 1,100,000 Brazilians live in the United States, 300,000 of them in Florida.[5]

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).[6][7][8]

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.[9][10]


The first recorded Brazilians to emigrate to the United States came in the 1960s. Before then, Brazilians were included in a group formed by all South American groups and were not counted separately. Of the 234,761 people of South America that arrived in the United States between 1820 and 1960, at least, some of them were Brazilian. In 1960, the U.S. Census Bureau report counted 27,885 Americans of Brazilian ancestry.[11]

From 1960 until the mid-1980s, between 1,500 and 2,300 Brazilian immigrants arrived in the United States each year. Since the mid-1980s poverty in Brazil quickly increased, as a result between 1986 and 1990 1.4 million Brazilians emigrated to the United States, as well as Japan, and Europe. It was not until the 80s when 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.[11]



The 2000 U.S. Census showed that 34.5 percent of Brazilians had completed four or more years of college,[12] while the corresponding number for the general U.S. population is only 24.4 percent.[13] 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.[11]

Second-and third-generation Brazilian Americans tend to have better jobs; they have been educated in the United States, speak English, and have citizenship.[11]



Although the majority of Brazilian Americans are Roman Catholic, there also significant numbers of Protestants, 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 SpiritualismAnimism 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),[11] and Santo Daime (created in the state of Acre in the 1930s by 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.


The Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey is an increasingly popular destination for Brazilian Americans, supplanting the area's Portuguese Americans.

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.[12] However, many of the Brazilians who have emigrated to the United States since this decade have been undocumented.[11] 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),[2] Boston (63,930),[3] and Miami (43,930).[14] Most Brazilians who have emigrated to the United States, starting from the 1960s, are from southern and south-central Brazil and belonged to the middle- and upper-middle-classes, with their majority being of European descent.[citation needed] However, there are also Brazilian Americans of Multiracial, Asian (mostly Japanese),[11] Arab and Jewish descent.

Brazilian American communities[edit]

  • Los Angeles'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).[citation needed]

U.S. communities with high percentages of people of Brazilian ancestry[edit]

The top 50 U.S. communities with the highest percentages of people claiming Brazilian ancestry are:[18]

  1. North Bay Village, Florida 6.00%
  2. Danbury, Connecticut 4.90%
  3. Harrison, New Jersey 4.80%
  4. Framingham, Massachusetts 4.80%
  5. Somerville, Massachusetts 4.50%
  6. Kearny, New Jersey 3.70%
  7. Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 3.60%
  8. Deerfield Beach, Florida 3.50%
  9. Everett, Massachusetts 3.20%
  10. Marlborough, Massachusetts 3.10%
  11. Long Branch, New Jersey 2.80%
  12. Edgartown, Massachusetts 2.70%
  13. Newark, New Jersey 2.50%
  14. Doral, Florida 2.50%
  15. Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts 2.50%
  16. Miami Beach, Florida 2.20%
  17. Hillside, New Jersey 2.20%
  18. Hudson, Massachusetts 2.20%
  19. Oakland Park, Florida 2.10%
  20. South River, New Jersey 2.10%
  21. Cliffside Park, New Jersey2.10%
  22. Tisbury, Massachusetts 2.10%
  23. Fairview, New Jersey 2.00%
  24. Aventura, Florida 1.90%
  25. Lauramie, Indiana 1.80%
  26. Revere, Massachusetts 1.70%
  27. Malden, Massachusetts 1.70%
  28. Sea Ranch Lakes, Florida 1.70%
  29. Surfside, Florida 1.60%
  30. Barnstable, Massachusetts 1.60%
  31. Lowell, Massachusetts 1.60%
  32. Ojus, Florida 1.60%
  33. Washington, Ohio 1.60%
  34. Naugatuck, Connecticut 1.60%
  35. Milford, Massachusetts 1.50%
  36. Dennis Port, Massachusetts 1.50%
  37. Keene, Texas 1.50%
  38. Key Biscayne, Florida 1.50%
  39. Mount Vernon, New York 1.50%
  40. Avondale Estates, Georgia 1.50%
  41. Sunny Isles Beach, Florida 1.50%
  42. Riverside, New Jersey 1.40%
  43. Trenton, Florida 1.40%
  44. South Lancaster, Massachusetts 1.30%
  45. Great River, New York 1.30%
  46. Port Chester, New York 1.30%
  47. Coconut Creek, Florida 1.20%
  48. Belle Isle, Florida 1.20%
  49. Big Pine Key, Florida 1.20%
  50. Chelsea, Massachusetts 1.20%

U.S. communities with the most residents born in Brazil[edit]

Top 25 U.S. communities with the most residents born in Brazil are:[19]

  1. Loch Lomond, Florida 15.8%
  2. Bonnie Loch-Woodsetter North, Florida 7.2%
  3. North Bay Village, Florida 7.1%
  4. East Newark, New Jersey 6.7%
  5. Framingham, Massachusetts 6.6%
  6. Harrison, New Jersey 5.8%
  7. Danbury, Connecticut 5.6%
  8. Somerville, Massachusetts 5.4%
  9. Sunshine Ranches, Florida 5.1%
  10. Flying Hills, Pennsylvania 5.1% However, the Wiki link shows the Hispanic/Latino population as less than 1%
  11. Deerfield Beach, Florida 4.7%
  12. Fox River, Alaska 4.5% However, the Wiki link shows the Hispanic/Latino population as less than 1%
  13. Edgartown, Massachusetts 4.4%
  14. West Yarmouth, Massachusetts 4.4%
  15. Marlborough, Massachusetts 4.4%
  16. Kearny, New Jersey 4.4%
  17. Doral, Florida 4.1%
  18. Everett, Massachusetts 4.0%
  19. Long Branch, New Jersey 3.7%
  20. Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 3.4%
  21. Hudson, Massachusetts 3.2%
  22. Miami Beach, Florida 3.1%
  23. Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts 3.0%
  24. Oakland Park, Florida 3.0%
  25. Pompano Beach Highlands, Florida 3.0%

Relations with Brazil[edit]

Many Brazilian Americans voted in the Brazilian presidential elections in 1989 through the Brazilian consulate. Brazilian Americans are divided between the major political parties in Brazil. Few eligible Brazilian illegal immigrants voted at the Brazilian consulate for fear of being reported to U.S. immigration authorities, opting instead to vote in their own country.[11]

Notable Brazilian Americans[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b US Census Bureau 2012 American Community Survey B040003 TOTAL ANCESTRY REPORTED Universe: Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported retrieved September 21, 2013
  2. ^ a b "SELECTED POPULATION PROFILE IN THE UNITED STATES 2012 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "SELECTED POPULATION PROFILE IN THE UNITED STATES 2012 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Brazilian Immigrant Women in the Boston area: Negotiation of Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Class and Nation". 
  5. ^ Imigrante brasileiro espera anistia de sucessor de Bush - 01/11/2008 - UOL Eleição americana 2008
  6. ^ Office of Management and Budget. "Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Federal Register Notice October 30, 1997". Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  7. ^ United States Census Bureau (March 2001). "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  8. ^ "B03001. Hispanic or Latino Origin by Spedific Origin". 2006 American Community Survey. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  9. ^ "49 CFR Part 26". U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 'Hispanic Americans,' which includes persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race; 
  10. ^ "US Small Business Administration 8(a) Program Standard Operating Procedure" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-22. SBA has defined 'Hispanic American' as an individual whose ancestry and culture are rooted in South America, Central America, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, or the Iberian Peninsula, including Spain and Portugal. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Alphine W. Jefferson. "A Countries and Their Cultures: Brazilian Americans". Countries and their cultures. Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Franklin Goza, Bowling Green State University. "An Overview of Brazilian Life as Portrayed by the 2000 U.S. Census" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  13. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. "Educational Attainment: 2000" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  14. ^ "SELECTED POPULATION PROFILE IN THE UNITED STATES 2011-2013 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  15. ^ Walter Godinez (December 9, 2014). "The World in NYC: Brazil". New York International. 
  16. ^ "Little Brazil (New York City, USA)". Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Ancestry Map of Brazilian Communities". Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  19. ^ "Top 101 cities with the most residents born in Brazil (population 500+)". Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  20. ^ "She's part Brazilian – her mother is from São Paulo"
  21. ^ "Belle already speaks fluent Portuguese — her mother is Brazilian"
  22. ^ "Nationality:, American/Brazilian"
  23. ^ Ruibal, Sal (2008-06-18). "Skateboarder Burnquist strikes a balance on Dew Tour -". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  24. ^ Los Angeles Times

External links[edit]