Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística

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Division into Regions


IBGE’s studies on the Division into Regions began in 1941 under the coordination of Prof. Fábio Macedo Soares Guimarães. The main purpose of his work was to systematically dispose the various "divisions into regions" that had been proposed, in such a way that a unique Division of Brazil into Regions could be organized for the release of Brazilian statistics. Following these works, the first Division of Brazil into regions (namely North, Northeast, East, South and Central West) was approved on January 31, 1942, by means of Circular number 1 by the Presidency of the Republic. Resolution 143 from July 6, 1945, in its turn, established the Division of Brazil into Physiographic Zones, based on economic criteria for grouping municipalities. This division was used until 1970 for the release of statistics produced by IBGE and Federation Units. In the sixties, due to transformations occurred in the national space, studies were resumed for the Division into Regions, in a macro level, and the Physiographic Zones.


The review of the Division of Brazil into Regions has an intrinsic character that apply to a set of economical, social and political determinations concerning the entire organization of the national space, attested in the Brazilian case by the unequal way the development of productive forces has taken place in their interactions with the natural setting. Considering the component parts of the referred totality, the Division into macroregions, from a historical and space perspective, emphasizes an inter-regional production division in the country, along with the post-1960 internationalization of capital. It tried to find the root of this process in the manner the state one moment tends to interfere, the next, to withdraw, due to the evolving process of capital accumulation and increase in value, which manifests itself in the successive and varied government plans. The Division of Brazil into mesoregions, arising from more general conjuncture determinations, tried to identify individual areas in each of the Federation Units, taken as universe of analysis, and defined the mesoregions based on the following dimensions: the social process as determinant, the natural setting as conditioning, and the communication and place network as an element of space articulation.


The Division of Brazil into Regions are relevant to formulate public policies; to subsidize the system of decisions relative to the localization of economic, social and tributary activities; to subsidize the planning, surveys and identification of space structures of metropolitan areas and other forms of urban and rural agglomerations.