Friday, 12 July 2013


Italian immigrants arriving in São Paulo. Main articles: Demographics of São Paulo and Demographics of Brazil Promotion to Italian diaspora to São Paulo in 1886. Arab influence in the city of São Paulo. The Liberdade district is a Japantown of São Paulo.

In 2010, São Paulo was the most populous city in Brazil and in South America. According to the 2010 IBGE Census, there were 10,659,386 people residing in the city of São Paulo. The census found 6,824,668 White people (65.6%), 3,433,218 Brown (mixed) people (26.5%), 736,083 Black people (5.5%), 246,244 Asian people (2.2%) and 21,318 Amerindian people (0.2%).

In 2010, the city had 2,146,077 opposite-sex couples and 7,532 same-sex couples. The population of São Paulo was 52.6% female and 47.4% male.


São Paulo is one of the country's most ethnically diverse city. When slave trafficking ended in Brazil (1850), São Paulo started to replace African labor with voluntary immigrants in the coffee plantations. The pioneer in this new project was senator Nicolau Vergueiro, who brought many German, Swiss and Portuguese immigrants to work in his own properties. The next waves of immigrants contained Italians and Portuguese from the mid-19th century until the start of the 20th century. These were far more adaptable to coffee cultivation and became over time the largest immigrant communities in the state of São Paulo.

After the abolition of slavery (1888), São Paulo received increasing numbers of European immigrants, most from Italy, followed by Portugal, Germany and Spain. In 1897, Italians made up over half of the city's population. Portuguese, Spaniards, Germans, Japanese, Jews, Armenians and Christian Syrian-Lebanese as well as Eastern-Europeans also came in significant numbers. From 1908 to 1941, many Japanese immigrants arrived. In the 1960s, Chinese and Koreans started arriving. In the mid-20th century, many from the drought-stricken Northeastern Brazil started to migrate to São Paulo. Nowadays, the city is witness to a large wave of Bolivian migration.

São Paulo City in 1886 Immigrants Percentage of immigrants in foreign born population Italians 47.9% Portuguese 29.3% Germans 9.9% Spaniards 3.2%

A French observer, travelling to São Paulo at the time, noted that there was a division of the capitalist class, by nationality (...) Germans, French and Italians shared the dry goods sector with Brazilians. Foodstuffs was generally the province of either Portuguese or Brazilians, except for bakery and pastry which was the domain of the French and Germans. Shoes and tinware were mostly controlled by Italians. However, the larger metallurgical plants were in the hands of the English and the Americans. (...) Italians outnumbered Brazilians two to one in São Paulo.

Until 1920, 1,078,437 Italians entered in the State of São Paulo. Of the immigrants who arrived there between 1887 and 1902, 63.5% came from Italy. Between 1888 and 1919, 44.7% of the immigrants were Italians, 19.2% were Spaniards and 15.4% were Portuguese. In 1920, nearly 80% of São Paulo city's population was composed of immigrants and their descendants and Italians made up over half of its male population. At that time, the Governor of São Paulo said that "if the owner of each house in São Paulo display the flag of the country of origin on the roof, from above São Paulo would look like an Italian city". In 1900, a columnist who was absent from São Paulo for 20 years wrote "then São Paulo used to be a genuine Paulista city, today it is an Italian city."

São Paulo City Year Italians Percentage of the City 1886 5,717 13% 1893 45,457 35% 1900 75,000 31% 1910 130,000 33% 1916 187,540 37%

Research conducted by the University of São Paulo (USP) shows the city's high ethnic diversity: when asked if they are "descendants of foreign immigrants", 81% of the students reported "yes". The main reported ancestries were: Italian (30.5%), Portuguese (23%), Spanish (14%), Japanese (8%), German (5.6%), Brazilian (4.3%), African (2.8%), Arab (2.4%) and Jewish (1.2%).

Domestic migration

Since the 19th century people began migrating from Northeastern Brazil into São Paulo. This migration grew enormously in the 1930s and remained huge in the next decades. The concentration of land, modernization in rural areas, changes in work relationships and cycles of droughts stimulated migration. Northeastern migrants live mainly in hazardous and unhealthy areas of the city, in cortiços, in various slums (favelas) of the metropolis, because they offer cheaper housing. According to the 2000 Brazilian Census, 3,641,148 people from Northeastern Brazil lived in São Paulo, about 20% of the city's population. According to another resource, the largest concentration of Northeastern migrants was found in the area of Sé/Brás (districts of Brás, Bom Retiro, Cambuci, Pari and Sé). In this area they composed 41% of the population.

As in all of Brazil, people of different ethnicities mix with each other, producing a multi-ethnic society. Today, people of many different ethnicities make São Paulo their home. The main groups, considering all the metropolitan area, are: 6 million people of Italian descent, 3 million people of Portuguese descent, 1.7 million people of African descent, 1 million people of Arab descent, 665,000 people of Japanese descent, 400,000 people of German descent, 250,000 people of French descent, 150,000 people of Greek descent, 120,000 people of Chinese descent, 60,000 Bolivian immigrants, 50,000 people of Korean descent, and 40,000 Jews.

Changing demographics of the city of São Paulo

Source: Planet Barsa Ltda.

Religion São Paulo Cathedral in Downtown São Paulo. Main article: Religion in Brazil Religion Percentage Number Catholic 58.20% 6,549,775 Protestant 22.11% 2,487,810 No religion 9.38% 1,056,008 Spiritist 4.73% 531,882 Buddhist 0.67% 75,075 Umbanda and Candomblé 0.62% 69,706 Jewish 0.39% 43,610

Source: IBGE 2010.

Languages Museum of the Portuguese Language. Main article: Languages of Brazil

The primary language is Portuguese. Due to the large influx of Italian immigrants, the Portuguese spoken in the city reflects a significant influence from the languages of the Italian peninsula, particularly from Neapolitan and Venetian.

Italian dialects mix with the countryside Caipira accent of São Paulo. Some linguists maintain that the São Paulo dialect of Portuguese was born in Mooca, a neighborhood settled in the early 20th century mainly by people from Naples, Southern Italy.

The Italian influence in São Paulo accents is more evident in the traditional Italian neighborhoods such as Bella Vista, Mooca, Brás and Lapa. Italian mingled with Portuguese and as an old influence, was assimilated or disappeared into spoken language. The local accent with Italian influences became notorious through the songs of Adoniran Barbosa, a Brazilian samba singer born to Italian parents who used to sing using the local accent.

Other languages spoken in the city are mainly among the Asian community: the Liberdade neighborhood is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. Although today most Japanese-Brazilians speak only Portuguese, some of them are still fluent in Japanese. Some people of Chinese and Korean descent are still able to speak their ancestral languages.

In some areas it is still possible to find descendants of immigrants who speak German (especially in the area of Brooklin paulista) and Russian or East European languages (especially in the area of Vila Zelina). In the west zone of São Paulo, specially at Vila Anastácio and Lapa region, there is a Hungarian colony, with three churches (Calvinist, Baptist and Catholic), so on Sundays it is possible to see Hungarians talking to each other on sidewalks.

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