Integral of the American continent, Brazil locates in the center-oriental portion of South America, being limited with the almost totality of the South American countries, with the exception of Ecuador, of Chile and of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Brazilian territorial area is of 8,547,403.5 km2 and its perimeter embraces 23, 086 km, being limited in 7, 367 km, with the Atlantic Ocean, that is to say 31.9% of its divisional line. It is the third largest country of the continent in area terms and the first of South America, occupying 47% of the South American territorial area.
Its territorial dimensions characterize it as a continental country, its territory occupying 1.6% of the surface of the terrestrial globe, 5.7% of the buoyant lands of the planet and 20.8% of the surface of the American continent.
In spite of the Country being constituted as a Federation, the existent political centralization is big, and the autonomy of each unit of the Federation is small.
The Brazilian states are contained in five great political-administrative areas: North, Northeast, Southeast, South and Middle-West.
North region - occupying 45% of the territorial area of the country, it is composed of seven states:
The following table presents the official regional
division, the units of the federation component of each area, as well as
its capitals, territorial areas and resident population in 1991.
REGION UNIT OF THE FEDERATION CAPITAL AREA (km2) POPULATION 1991 NORTH - - 3,869,637 10,030,556 Acre Rio Branco 153,149 417,718 Amapá Macapá 143,453 289,397 Amazonas Manaus 1,577,820 2,103,243 Pará Belém 1,253,164 .4,950,060 Rondônia Porto Velho 238,512 1,132,692 Roraima Boa Vista 225,116 217,583 Tocantins Palmas 278,420 919,863 NORTHEAST - - 1,561,177 42,497,540 Alagoas Maceió 98,937 7,127,855 Bahia Salvador 567,295 11,867,991 Ceará Fortaleza 146,348 6,366,647 Maranhão São Luis 333,365 4,930,253 Paraíba João Pessoa 56,584 3,201,114 Pernambuco Recife 98,937 7,127,855 Piauí Teresina 252,378 2,582,137 Rio Grande do Norte .Natal 53,306 2,415,567 Sergipe Aracaju 22,050 1,491,876 SOUTHEAST - - 927,286 62,740,401 Espírito Santo Vitória 46,184 2,600,618 Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte 588,383 15,743,152 Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro 43,909 12,807,706 São Paulo São Paulo 248,808 31,588,925 SOUTH - - 577,214 22,129,377 Paraná Curitiba 199,709 8,448,713 Rio Grande do Sul Porto Alegre 282,062 9,138,670 Santa Catarina Florianópolis 95,442 4,541,994 MIDDLE-WEST - 1,612,077 9,427,601 Distrito Federal Brasília 5,822 1,601,094 Goiás Goiânia 341,289 4,018,903 Mato Grosso Cuiabá 906,806 2,027,231 Mato Grosso do Sul Campo Grande 358,158 1,780,373 BRAZIL - Brasília 8,547,403 146,825,475Source: FIBGE,1991.
In agreement with the last demographic census, accomplished in 1991 by the Foundation Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics - FIBGE, the Brazilian population was 146, 825, 475 inhabitants. For 2000, FIBGE estimates a resident population of 165, 715, 400 inhabitants, which corresponds to a geometric medium rate of annual growth of 1.35%.
In 1980, (the year before the last demographic census was conducted), the Brazilian resident population was 119, 002, 706 inhabitants, which corresponds to a rate of annual growth of 1.93% for the period 1980/1991.
Brazil possessed in 1991, a gross population density of 17.18 inhabitants/km2 and a rate of urbanization of 75.59%.
In relationship to the demographic density, Rio de Janeiro is the Brazilian state that possessed, in 1991, the largest concentration of population (291.68 inhabitants/km2), followed by the Federal District (275.00 inhabitants/km2) and by São Paulo (126.96 inhabitants/km2). Those three states were, however, the only Brazilian states to present demographic density over 100 inhabitants/km2. At the opposite end, with the lowest demographic densities, there are the component states of the North and Middle-West regions of the country. Roraima presents the lowest Brazilian demographic density (0.97 inhabitants/km2), followed by the state of Amazonas (1.33 inhabitants/km2).
Concerning the urbanization rate, it is also the states of Rio de Janeiro, Federal District and the state of São Paulo that present the largest indexes, of respectively, 95.25%, 94.68% and 92.80%. The smallest urbanization rates exist in the states of Maranhão (40.01%), Pará (52.44%) and Piauí (52.95%).