Urbanisation in Brazil

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Urbanisation in Brazil

  • Brazil is one of the few developing countries which is highly urbanised. Brazil's significant urbanisation is unique, and it is one of the underlying factors contributing to the country's current rapid economic growth. Today, cities house approximately 86% of the Brazilian population.
  • In Brazil, the term 'urban' is not well defined. Rapid urbanisation occurred in Brazil, primarily in the south and south-east, with Sao Paulo emerging as a major, metropolitan, and industrial area. Looking at this growth in a few areas of the country, the government is promoting a "Go West" policy that will lessen pressure on a few areas where the population is concentrated and reduce regional imbalance in the country.
  • Urbanization has occurred more in coastal states than the states in the interior of the Brazil. States such as Sao Paulo, Goias, and Minas Gerais have a higher urban population density than states in the north. Because the population in the Amazon basin and the Brazilian highlands is lower, so is urbanisation. Manus is a port on the confluence of the Negro and the Amazon in this region. Here, urbanisation has occurred.


Draw a line graph from this table. Examine the graph carefully and answer the following questions.

Brazil percentage of urban population (1960 - 2010)

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
47.1 56.8 66 74.6 81.5 84.6
  1. What is the interval of the data?
  2. In which period did urbanisation occur rapidly?
  3. Write five sentences analysing the graph.

  1. The data depicts the urban population of Brazil between 1960 and 2010. The interval represents the time span between the data is collected. Thus the interval of data is 10 years.
  2. Urbanisation refers to the movement of people and human settlements from the rural areas to the urban areas. Employment opportunities, higher standard of living, better facilities and infrastructure force people to migrate from rural areas to urban areas. Rapid urbanisation occurred between 1960 and 1970. It was around 9.7% increase.
  3. Urbanisation refers to the movement of people and human settlements from the rural areas to the urban areas. Rapid urbanisation is taking place in India because of the rapid increase in its population. Because of the increase in its population, people require more land and other resources. Thus villages have given way to the formation of cities and have contributed to the migration of people from rural res to urban areas. Other factors like employment opportunities, a higher standard of living, better facilities and infrastructure also force people to migrate from rural areas to urban areas. Between these years, Brazil is experiencing increasing urbanisation. In 2010, Brazil had 84.6% of people living in urban areas.


Observe the two satellite images given below. Describe the settlements with respect to physiography. Considering the physiography, where could these settlements be located? Find out their settlement pattern and limitations with respect to their future growth.

Both the satellite images depict the different images of the same area in a different period of time. In both instances, the area has desert-like physiography. Thus the settlements found in the region would be scattered. Scattered/dispersed settlements are those in which the habitation regions are isolated or located far away from each other. They are mostly found in the plateaus, deserts, hilly or forested areas.

The major limitations of the scattered settlement are:

  • A threat to security: Since the people residing nearby are scattered, there will be serious security issues in the area.
  • Isolation: The people residing in the area may experience isolation due to the lack of proper neighbours in the pattern of dispersed settlement.
  • Poor transportation: The transportation network in the displaced settlement will be very poor owing to the topography of the region. This will be a very serious challenge to future development.
  • Difficult to tackle emergency situations: In the scattered settlement, it becomes very difficult to get emergency relief, rescue and aid in case of any accidents or calamities.


Study the choropleth map of Brazil showing the Statewise urban population of Brazil and answer the following questions

  1. Which States (region) are the most urbanised?
  2. Which States (region) are the least urbanised?
  1. The states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Goias, Espirito Santo in the southeastern part of Brazil and the port Manaus in the north are the most urbanised.
  2. The states of Para, Maranhao and Piaui in northern part of Brazil are the least urbanised states.


Which factors have affected urbanisation in Brazil?

  1. In Brazil, rapid urbanisation has taken place in South and South East Coastal regions.
  2. Being in proximity to the Atlantic Ocean have benefitted these regions immensely in the form of mild climatic conditions.
  3. Availability of water, fertile soil, natural minerals such as iron ore, good transport system and steady electric supply have positively impacted urbanisation in these parts.
  4. To the north of the Brazilian Highlands is the rain shadow region of ‘Drought Quadrilateral’ with sparse settlements.
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