Demographics of Brazil
The Great Diversity of Brazil
The population of Brazil is very diverse. It consists of numerous races and ethnic groups. Brazilians can mainly trace their heritage to four sources. These include Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians. Since 1872, Brazil has conducted a regular population census that occurs every ten years. Brazil has experienced a great deal of interbreeding between members of different races and ethnicities. This has caused many cultures to blend throughout Brazil.
Why Interbreeding is Common in Brazil
The majority of Brazilians come from European settlers. These settlers were mainly Portuguese and included Portuguese New Christians – descendants of Jews forced to convert to Christianity, Africans (Yoruba, Ewe, Akan, Bantu, and others), and native Brazilians (largely Tupi and Guarani). Since the first Portuguese settlers entered the country, interracial breeding in Brazil has been very popular and altogether normal.
At the end of the 19th century, Brazil has had significant immigration from many other countries including, Germany, Spain, Poland, Lebanon and Syria (mostly Christians), Ukraine, Japan, the People's Republic of China, and Korea. Jewish people, (mostly from Ashkenazi and Sephardi) have created sizeable communities in Rio de Janeiro, So Paulo, and Porto Alegre.
Heritage According to Region
The offspring of European settlers (mostly the Germans, Italians and Poles) are, for the most part, located in the southern part of the country. They can especially be seen in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, and the most populate, So Paulo. As far as the rest of Brazil, much of the Caucasian population is of Portuguese descent. In the mid-southern states of Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul and in the Federal District, The size of the Caucasian population in the mid-southern states of Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul and in the Federal District is fairly similar to the amount of Afro-Brazilian and mixed race Brazilians.
African Ancestry in Brazil
Historically, northeast Brazil received a great amount of African slaves to work in sugarcane, tobacco and cotton plantations. Because of this, many people of African and mixed-race descent are commonly located on the coast. This means there is a large number of white and Amerindian-European mixed people located in the semi-arid country land (usually called serto). Many of the black or mulatto residents in the serto come from freed African slaves or mulattos who escaped from the coast and worked as cowboys for semi-feudal lords. The city of Salvador da Bahia is currently one of the biggest black communities in the world.
Brazilians of Asian Descent
The largest Asian group in Brazil is the Japanese. Additionally, Brazil has the largest population of Japanese heritage outside of Japan. There are roughly 1.5 million Japanese-Brazilians currently residing in Brazil (most of them live in So Paulo). Some Chinese and Koreans also settled Brazil. These immigrant populations and their descendants still tend to maintain some of their original ethnic identity but are quickly blending into mainstream Brazilian civilization. Not many of the third generation of Asian-Brazilians know their grandparents' languages.