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Brazilian American
Template:Image array
Total population

Brazilian Americans
371,529[1] 0.11% of the US population in 2012

Regions with significant populations
Florida, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City
American English, Portuguese
Roman Catholicism, Spiritism, Agnosticism, Atheism
Related ethnic groups
Brazilians, Hispanic and Latino Americans

Brazilian Americans (Portuguese: Brasileiro americano) are Americans of full or partial Brazilian origin. 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,[2] while still another estimates that as of 2008 some 1,100,000 Brazilians live in the United States, 300,000 of them in Florida.[3]

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).[4][5][6]

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.[7][8]


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.[9]

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 near 100,000 Brazilians living in the New York area alone in addition to sizable Brazilian communities in Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Phoenix.[9]



The 2000 U.S. Census showed that 34.5 percent of Brazilians had completed four or more years of college,[10] while the corresponding number for the general U.S. population is only 24.4 percent.[11] Many Brazilian immigrants in the United States have typical white collar jobs as professionals or managers, while others work in blue collar occupations typically associated with recent immigrants.[10] Second-and third-generation Brazilian Americans tend to have better jobs; they have been educated in the United States, speak English, and have citizenship.[9]



Although the majority of Brazilian-Americans are Roman Catholic, there also significant numbers of Protestants and spiritualists. Spiritualists' beliefs are based on communication with the spirits of the dead. There are three main types of Spiritualism followed by Brazilian Americans: Spiritism (or Kardecism, a form of spiritualism that originated in France), Umbanda (a syncretic religion mixing African animist beliefs and rituals with Catholicism, Spiritism, and indigenous lore), and Candomblé (a syncretic religion that originated in the Brazilian state of Bahia that combines African animist beliefs with elements of Catholicism).[9]


Brazilians began immigrating to the United States in large and ever-increasing numbers in the 1980s as a result of worsening economic conditions in Brazil at that time.[10] 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 greatest percentage of Brazilian Americans live in Florida, Massachusetts, and California.[10] Racially, Brazilian American include persons of European, African, Arab, Jewish or Asian (mostly Japanese or Chinese) descent.

Brazilian American communities

  • West 46th Street has historically been a commercial center for Brazilians living in or visiting New York City. A few years ago the street was officially titled "Little Brazil Street" by the city. The New York metropolitan area is home to about 76,257 Brazilian Americans. Another NYC neighborhood home to many Brazilian Americans is located in Astoria, Queens.[12]
  • Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods have a significant population of Brazilian-born residents.

U.S. communities with high percentages of people of Brazilian ancestry

The top 25 U.S. communities with the highest percentages of people claiming Brazilian ancestry are:[14]

  1. East Newark, New Jersey 6.20%
  2. North Bay Village, Florida 6.00%
  3. Danbury, Connecticut 4.90%
  4. Harrison, New Jersey and 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, Doral, Florida and Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts 2.50%
  14. Miami Beach, Florida, Hillside, New Jersey and Hudson, Massachusetts 2.20%
  15. Oakland Park, Florida, South River, New Jersey, Cliffside Park, New Jersey and Tisbury, Massachusetts 2.10%
  16. Fairview, New Jersey 2.00%
  17. Aventura, Florida 1.90%
  18. Lauramie, Indiana 1.80%
  19. Revere, Massachusetts, Malden, Massachusetts and Sea Ranch Lakes, Florida 1.70%
  20. Surfside, Florida, Barnstable, Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts, Ojus, Florida, Washington, Ohio and Naugatuck, Connecticut 1.60%
  21. Milford, Massachusetts, Dennis Port, Massachusetts, Keene, Texas, Key Biscayne, Florida, Mount Vernon, New York, Avondale Estates, Georgia and Sunny Isles Beach, Florida 1.50%
  22. Riverside, New Jersey and Trenton, Florida 1.40%
  23. South Lancaster, Massachusetts, Great River, New York and Port Chester, New York 1.30%
  24. Coconut Creek, Florida, Belle Isle, Florida, Big Pine Key, Florida, Chelsea, Massachusetts, Yarmouth, Massachusetts, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Elizabeth, New Jersey and Ashland, Massachusetts 1.20%
  25. Pompano Beach, Florida, Corte Madera, California and Delran, New Jersey 1.10%

U.S. communities with the most residents born in Brazil

Top 25 U.S. communities with the most residents born in Brazil are:[15]

  1. Loch Lomond, Florida 15.8%
  2. Bonnie Lock-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%
  11. Deerfield Beach, Florida 4.7%
  12. Fox River, Alaska 4.5%
  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

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.[9]

Notable Brazilian Americans

See also


External links

  • The Brazilian-American Foundation
  • Brazilian-American Cultural Institute
  • Brazilian-American Association
  • Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
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