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Brazil: emigration, 1968 to present

Migration A–Z


  1. Franklin Goza

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm074

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Goza, F. 2013. Brazil: emigration, 1968 to present. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Throughout much of its history, Brazil was a primary destination for both voluntary and involuntary immigrants from many corners of the globe. It is estimated that Brazil received more than three million African slaves from 1538 to 1850 (Telles 2004). During this 300-year period large numbers of voluntary immigrants also arrived from Portugal and many other European nations. However, it was from the 1880s to the 1940s that Brazil experienced massive immigration from numerous nations, especially Italy, Portugal, Germany, Japan, Lebanon, and Spain. During this period, it is estimated that approximately 800,000 Italians and 200,000 Japanese arrived (Rios-Neto 2005). Given that from the 1940s Brazil experienced significant improvements in economic and social conditions, culminating with the Brazilian “economic miracle” (a period that lasted from 1968 to 1974 and saw the Brazilian economy grow at rates of 10 percent or higher per year), few would have anticipated that Brazil would become a large-scale exporter of citizens searching for a better life elsewhere. However, this is exactly what occurred. The main reason for the tremendous surge in outmigration was the worsening Brazilian economy (Goza 1994; Margolis 1994). The 1980s, sometimes referred to as the Brazilian “lost decade,” was a time when hyperinflation and recession prevailed and ultimately stimulated the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Brazilians.


  • South America;
  • labor supply;
  • immigration;
  • development;
  • political economy