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IBGE updates geographic data of Brazilian states and municipalities

Section: Geosciences

May 20, 2020 10h00 AM | Last Updated: May 20, 2020 01h02 PM

Annual revisions of territorial areas and borders, and of population estimates were published in three studies released today (20). Territorial Areas of Brazilian States and Municipalities, Digital Municipal Mesh of Brazil 2019 and Updating of the Statistical Municipal Maps of the Population Estimates.

Altogether, Brazil has 5,568 municipalities, plus the island district of Fernando de Noronha and the Federal District. As published in the Official Gazette no. 94, of May 19, 2020, the territorial extension of Brazil is 8,510,295.914 km2.

In this update of the territorial areas of states and municipalities, the highlights are the refining of the coastal area for the calculation of areas; the detailing of some river borders between the states of Mato Grosso, Amazonas, Pará, Maranhão and Roraima; and the adjustment of the borders between the Federal District and Goiás.

The reprocessing of the values of the territorial areas was updated according to the political-administrative structure in force on April 30, 2019, reference date for the 2019 Population Estimates, incorporating the changes in the municipal borders occurred after the 2010 Population Census.

The resizing of the values of areas is due to the evolution of the geotechnologies applied to the monitoring of the dynamics of the Brazilian territorial division. It results in the periodic updating of the values of the state and municipal areas, using the best techniques and production inputs, as well as reflects likely changes in the political-administrative borders due to legal reasons.

Historically, the first official estimate for the extension of the Brazilian territory was 8,337,218 km2, obtained from measurements and calculations made on the basic sheets of the Empire Chart of Brazil, published in 1883. The IBGE began to calculate the Brazilian area only after the 1940 Census.

Santa Cruz de Minas (MG) is the smallest municipality, with 3.565 km². With a territorial size of 159,533.328 km2, Altamira (PA) is the largest one, larger than a number of Brazilian states. Amazonas remains as the largest state, with 1,559,146.889 km2, exceeding the territories of the South and Southeast regions. Sergipe is the smallest state, with 21,925.424 km2. And the Federal District shows an area of 5,760.783 km2.

The IBGE also updated the maps of 663 municipalities that had their areas and borders changed between May 2018 and April 2019. Of the 27 Federation Units, 16 had the borders of their municipalities changed. Ceará was the state with more municipalities updated (180), followed by Paraíba (158). These changes impact on the amount of inhabitants in these places, since the changes move some areas, and their inhabitants, to neighbor municipalities.

PA 2
PE 2
ES 5
PI 6
RN 6
GO 7
SE 18
AL 23
TO 26
RJ 27
RS 34
MG 39
BA 52
MS 78
PB 158
CE 180

The updates also influence on demographic studies and surveys, like the population estimates, calculated every year by the IBGE. Besides the cartographic adjustments announced by the states, the changes can be made to comply with new state laws. Technological advances also allow to improve the identification and representation of the areas of the municipalities.

The Digital Municipal Mesh of Brazil related to 2019 was another set of digital files representing all the Brazilian municipalities launched today. Published annually, the study comprises the political-administrative representation of the Brazilian states and municipalities and subsidizes the calculation of the Brazilian Territorial Areas.

Besides the municipal adjustments made according to the state offices responsible for the political-administrative division and to the Legislative Assemblies, this edition highlights the improvement of the Brazilian borderlines in the state of Roraima with neighbor countries, as well as the updating of the state borderlines between the states of Tocantins, Goiás and Bahia. The adjustment of the borderline between the states of Bahia and Sergipe is another highlight.

The IBGE stresses that, although the maps and the Digital Municipal Mesh of Brazil are used as a reference for a number of activities by public and private offices and by the society in general, The IBGE is not in charge of defining and outlining the territory borders.