Why do Brazilians emigrate so infrequently?

It is a populous country, yet there are few major Brazilian communities in the United States.  Only parts of Massachusetts, Queens, and Newark, New Jersey come to mind.  The U.S. Census estimates about 250,000 Brazilians living in the United States, which is many fewer than come from El Salvador, namely about two million.  Why is there such a difference?  The Brazilian number may well be an undercount but unofficial estimates still lie well below those of El Salvador.

1. Could it be that Brazil is too much fun to leave?  Or too much fun to generate the norms of upward mobility which encourage poorer people to leave for greater ambition?  If you live on the beach in northeastern Brazil, what exactly do you aspire to?

2. Do inhabitants of large, populous countries face larger cultural costs in leaving and adjusting their perspective?

3. Has Brazil had so much construction (including Brasilia), in its fairly wealthy sectors, that internal migration is a good enough substitute for external migration?

4. Brazil has a particular history of viewing the United States as a rival; El Salvador does not.

5. It seems that most Brazilian emigrants are ashamed to admit that they are emigrating to the United States, instead they claim they are simply “passing through,” or something similar.

What other points are relevant?  Here is a study (pdf) of Brazilian migrants to Massachusetts.

Brazil also does not attract many (recent) migrants, even though in some sectors the economic opportunities are strong.  It could be that external migrants have to compete too strongly with internal migrants from the poorer regions of Brazil.

Leonardo Monasterio restates the initial question in Portuguese.


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