By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A new survey shows that 62 percent of Brazilian youths between the ages of 16 and 24 years old would leave the country if they had the chance, according to Datafolha. The number equals nineteen million people, the entire population of one of Brazil’s largest state, Minas Gerais.
“I’m studying abroad right now and plan to finish my four years and find a job either in the U.S. or Europe,” says 18-year-old student Nicolas Silva, who last September started a university in San Francisco.
“The way things are now in Brazil, with weak economy and rising unemployment, I plan to only come down to visit,” concludes Silva.
The desire to leave the country, however, is not restricted only to the younger generation. According to the survey 43 percent of the adult population, representing seventy million Brazilians over sixteen years of age, also stated they would live abroad if they could.
“In my first year, I was able to get a paid internship through my university; imagine what I could do after I get my degree,” says Silva. More than half of those wishing to live abroad have a college degree (56 percent).
With many of Brazilians of Portuguese descent, Brazilians are flocking consulates asking for Portuguese citizenships. In São Paulo, more than 50,000 citizenships were granted by the consulate in 2016 alone. During the same period the number of student and retiree visas to the European country doubled.
According to the survey the three countries which most attract Brazilians seeking to live abroad are the United States, Portugal and Canada.