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Brazil: internal migration

Migration A–Z


  1. Ernesto Friedrich de Lima Amaral

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm075

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

de Lima Amaral, E. F. 2013. Brazil: internal migration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Internal migration has been decisive in the process of rapid urbanization that has occurred throughout Brazil in recent decades. Between 1950 and 2000, Brazil's urban population grew from 36 percent to 81 percent of the total population (Table 1). During this period, the country underwent major transformations and became an industrial and urban, rather than an agricultural and rural, society. High levels of migration from the countryside to urban areas and agricultural frontiers occurred. Internal migration flows were heaviest in movements from the northeastern to the southeastern states. The usual explanation for this movement references poverty and the lack of job opportunities in the northeast combined with the concentration of industries in the southeast, mainly in the state of São Paulo. Migration from the northeast to the southeast was characterized by a rural-to-urban migration in the 1960s and 1970s.


  • South America;
  • employment and unemployment;
  • farming;
  • poverty;
  • labor