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Regional Divisions of Brazil


The Regional Division of Brazil consists of States and Municipalities grouped into regions with the objective of updating regional knowledge about the country and of making it possible to create a territory basis for the survey and dissemination of statistical data. It is also aimed at adding a perspective to the understanding of national territory organization and helping the federal government, as well as States and Municipalities, in the implementation and management of public policies and investments.

The division of Brazil into regions has been a concern since the creation of the IBGE. The need of a deep knowledge of the National Territory aiming at its integration in the 1940s and, later, at planning as a basis for its development, demanded the creation of more detailed regional divisions of Brazil, i.e., based on groups of municipalities rather than on groups of states as they had been ever since. 

In the 20th century, the IBGE produced regional divisions based on the concepts of Physiographic Zones (1940s and 1960s), Homogeneous Microregions and Mesoregions (1968 and 1976, respectively) and Geographic Mesoregions and Microregions (1990). In addition, several articles were published in the Journal of Brazilian Geography dealing with the regionalization of Brazil. At the IBGE, regional divisions were established at different levels of coverage and led, in 1942, to the aggregation of Federation Units into Major Regions defined by the physical characteristics of the Brazilian territory and institutionalized as: North Region, Middle-North Region, Western Northeast Region, Eastern Northeast Region, Northern East Region, Southern East Region, South Region and Central West Region. As a consequence of the changes occurred in the Brazilian geographic space, in the 1950s and 1960s, a new subdivision into Macroregions was elaborated in 1970, and introduced revealing concepts and methods that revealed the growing importance of economic articulation and of urban structure in the understanding of the organization of the Brazilian space, from which the following names derive: North Region, Northeast Region, Southeast Region, South Region and Central West Region, which are the current names.  

The regional division is a task of scientific nature, being subject to changes occurred in the theoretical-methodological field of Geography, which might affect the concept of region itself. So, the the periodical revisions of the several models of regional division adopted by the IBGe were established according to different conceptual approaches, aiming at displaying and summarizing the natural, cultural, economic, social and political diversity that characterizes the National Territory.