Transnational Household Strategies and the Circulation of Care: A Comparative Analysis between the Brazil-Portugal and Brazil-USA Migration Systems

Alisson Barbieri, Cedeplar/UFMG
Gilvan Guedes, Cedeplar/UFMG
Nuni Vieira Jorgensen, Médecins Sans Frontières
Gisela Zapata, Federal University of Minas Gerais

Much of the contemporary literature on population mobility has emphasized the role of households in shaping migration decisions. This paper develops a comparative analysis of the negotiations and arrangements around international migration decision-making among migrant households in the Brazil-Portugal and Brazil-USA migration systems. In particular, we investigate how different institutional contexts shape existing negotiations, arrangements and conflicts surrounding international migration and their impact on migratory selectivity and the circulation of care within households. This is done using the theoretical frameworks developed by the New Economics of Labor Migration (NELM), and Transnationalism Theory, especially the literature on transnational families. Methodologically, we use a mixed methods approach that combines analysis of quantitative and qualitative data for the region of Governador Valadares, one of Brazil’s main emigration hotspots. The quantitative data comes from the Brazilian 2010 census and from the first statistically representative migration survey conducted in the region. The qualitative data was collected through 20 in-depth semi-structure interviews with migrant households in the region. The results suggest that the flows towards the United States and Portugal have different sex and age selectivity, which derive from the specific migration regimes in both countries. We also found differences with regards to the socioeconomic background of households according to the country of destination, revealing that emigration to Portugal is less economic-oriented and more strategic than emigration to the United States. Moreover, the less rigid institutional context of the European country often encourages a broader circulation of people and care among dispersed transnational household members.

Presented in Session 1235: Posters