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Brazilian Semi-arid Region


The Brazilian Semi-Arid Region is delimited by the Superintendence of Northeastern Development - SUDENE, considering the weather conditions that prevail in the semi-arid contexts, as the pluviometry. As a reflex of the weather conditions, the hydrography is frail, in various ways, being unable to support the larger rivers so that they can be perennial in the long drought periods, the exception being the São Francisco River. Due to its hydrologic characteristics, which allow for its subsistence throughout the year, the São Francisco River gains a special meaning to the populations living by the river and those of the Sertão area.

About the publication - 2022

The Brazilian Semiarid now comprises 1,477 municipalities, belonging to the states of Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, Bahia, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Of this total, 1,212 municipalities were already included in the previous delimitation and were confirmed. Other 215 municipalities qualified, according to the new criteria adopted. It should be mentioned that 50 municipalities included in the previous delimitation would not integrate the Semiarid, as they did not hit any of the technical criteria established. However, these 50 municipalities were allowed to appeal for their exclusion from the Semiarid up to April 2023. As the current release corresponds to the status of the territorial division up to December 31, 2022, the IBGE decided to keep not only the municipalities included in the Semiarid according to the changes, but also those that might be excluded, as explained in the resolutions no. 155, of April 29, 2022, and no. 163, of December 15, 2022, of the SUDENE´s Advisory Board.

More on the product - 2022

Databases and tables

  • List of municipalities of the Brazilian Semiarid - XLS | ODS


Learn more - 2022

News and Releases

IBGE updates geographic divisions of reference to disseminate results of 2022 Census

The IBGE released today (19) the 2022 edition of the Geographic Reference Framework for the Production,...


IBGE releases updating of legal territorial divisions of Brazil

The IBGE releases today (14) an updating of the legal territorial divisions of Brazil. Altogether, they...


See more releases

Legislação relacionada


Is the IBGE responsible for Brazilian Semi-arid Region delimitation?

No. The Superintendence of Northeastern Development (SUDENE) is responsible for the Brazilian Semi-arid Region delimitation.

Why does the IBGE classifies the Brazilian Semi-arid Region as a geographic subdivision?
The IBGE aims to release geographic subdivisions that are relevant for statistical dissemination, planning and for public and private investment.

Which is the frequency of the Brazilian Semi-arid Region updating?

Brazilian Semi-arid Region, as a legal subdivision, will only have its delimitation updated when there is a legislative or normative update of these subdivisions. Existing updates related to the Territorial Division of Brazil might have an impact on the states and municipalities borders and nomenclature.

Where can I obtain more information about the Brazilian Semi-arid Region?
For more information on SUDENE, please visit the institution’s website (

Is the  Brazilian Semi-arid Region the only operation area of SUDENE?

No. The operation area of SUDENE encompasses the states of Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia; the region and municipalities of the state of Minas Gerais, which the Laws no. 1,348 of 02.10.1951, no. 6,218 of 07.07.1975, and no. 9,690 of 07.15.1998 are addressed to; the municipalities of Águas Formosas, Angelândia, Aricanduva, Arinos, Ataléia, Bertópolis, Campanário, Carlos Chagas, Catuji, Crisólita, Formoso, Franciscópolis, Frei Gaspar, Fronteira dos Vales, Itaipé, Itambacuri, Jenipapo de Minas, José Gonçalves de Minas, Ladainha, Leme do Prado, Machacalis, Monte Formoso, Nanuque, Novo Oriente de Minas, Ouro Verde de Minas, Pavão, Pescador, Ponto dos Volantes, Poté, Riachinho, Santa Fé de Minas, Santa Helena de Minas, São Romão, Serra dos Aimorés, Setubinha, Teófilo Otoni, Umburatiba and Veredinha, all in the state of Minas Gerais; and, also, the municipalities of Espírito Santo related to Law no. 9,690 of 07.15.1998, as well as the municipality of Governador Lindenberg.

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