South / Southeast of Brazil
Southeast of Brazil
The Southeast consists of the four states of Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais,
de Janeiro, and São
Paulo. Its total area of 927,286 square kilometers corresponds
to 10.9 percent of the national territory. The region has the largest
share of the country's population, 63 million in 1991, or 39 percent
of the national total, primarily as a result of internal migration
since the mid-nineteenth century until the 1980s. In addition to
a dense urban network, it contains the megacities of São
Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which in 1991 had 18.7 million and 11.7
million inhabitants in their metropolitan areas, respectively. The
region combines the highest living standards in Brazil with pockets
of urban poverty. In 1994 São Paulo boasted an average income
of US$4,666, while Minas Gerais reported only US$2,833.
Originally, the principal biome in the Southeast was the Atlantic
Forest, but by 1990 less than 10 percent of the original forest
cover remained as a result of clearing for farming, ranching, and
charcoal making. Anthropic activity had altered 79.5 percent of
the region, ranging from 75 percent in Minas Gerais to 91.1 percent
in Espírito Santo. The region has most of Brazil's industrial
production. The state of São Paulo alone accounts for half
of the country's industries. Agriculture, also very strong, has
diversified and now uses modern technology.
South of Brazil
The three states in the temperate South--Paraná, Rio Grande
do Sul, and Santa Catarina--cover 577,214 square kilometers, or
6.8 percent of the national territory. The population of the South
in 1991 was 23.1 million, or 14 percent of the country's total.
The region is almost as densely settled as the Southeast, but the
population is more concentrated along the coast. The major cities
are Curitiba and
Porto Alegre. The inhabitants of the South enjoy relatively
high living standards. Because of its industry and agriculture,
Paraná had the highest average income in 1994, US$3,674,
while Santa Catarina, a land of small farmers and small industries,
had slightly less, US$3,405.
In addition to the Atlantic Forest and pine woods, much of which
were cleared in the post-World War II period, the South contains
pampa grasslands, similar to those of Argentina and Uruguay, in
the extreme south. In 1982, 83.5 percent of the region had been
altered by anthropic activity, with the highest level (89.7 percent)
in Rio Grande do Sul, and the lowest (66.7 percent) in Santa Catarina.
Agriculture--much of which, such as rice production, is carried
out by small farmers--has high levels of productivity. There are
also some important industries.
Data as of April 1997