Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística

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Population Distribution Map -2000

The map of the Population Distribution in Brazil, in the scale of 1:5 000 000, shows the population density, the population from the municipalities and the distribution of rural and urban areas.
The level of detail is unprecedented, giving information on the smallest available unit of spatial and statistical aggregation: the enumeration area, which is the unit of basic data collection of the Population Censuses.
In the year 2000, the country was divided into 215 811 enumeration areas. For this map, 68 687 territorial units were used, encompassing isolated rural and aggregated urban enumeration areas.
The map reveals that the population spreads out irregularly in the Brazilian territory. The coastal areas are the most thickly inhabited, as a result of the historical process of settlement in Brazil. The highest population densities and the most intensely populated municipalities are in the coast. The occupation of Brazil’s countryside is associated with the occupation of river valleys, and, more recently, with the transport axes. Evidences of such phenomenon can be seen, for example, in the population concentration along the railways in São Paulo, along the road axes in the states of the North and Central-West regions, as well as along the channel of the Amazon/Solimões river.
In relation to households, the urban areas, where 81.25% of the Brazilian lived in 2000, represented just 1.1% of the national territory. The similarity between the distribution of the rural and urban populations is remarkable. There is a coincidence between high density rural areas and a high concentration of urban centers. That coincidence is due to the strong interrelations between the urban and rural means: the cities perform the role of consumer market and of support to the agricultural activities (providing inputs, services and goods in general); besides, urban citizens working in the countryside are still commonly seen.
It is possible to clearly distinguish the rural areas with a great number of small family properties (west of Santa Catarina, northwest and the mountain range of Rio Gande do Sul, the central part of Rondônia, northeastern agreste and parts of the sertão –semi-arid areas - among others), with a great amount of labor force and with high population densities. Conversely, the areas with large rural mechanized properties (Central-North of Mato Grosso, West of Bahia, South of Piauí and Maranhão, among others) present low rural population densities.