The Geographical Factors Influencing Population Distribution in Brazil

Categories: BrazilPopulation

Brazil, the largest country in South America, boasts a diverse landscape that significantly impacts its population distribution. The Southeast coastal region exhibits high population density, while the western parts of the country remain sparsely inhabited. In this essay, we will delve into the geographical factors influencing Brazil's population distribution, focusing on trade, accessibility, urbanization, and environmental conditions.

Trade and Economic Activity

One of the primary factors contributing to the high population density in the Southeast coastal region of Brazil is its strategic location for trade.

Brazil is a major player in global trade, exporting a wide range of goods, including agricultural products, minerals, and manufactured goods. The coastal areas, particularly cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, serve as essential hubs for importing and exporting these goods.

Trade and economic opportunities draw people to these urban centers, where they can access jobs in the secondary and tertiary sectors. The presence of airports and ports further enhances accessibility, making these cities attractive places for both domestic and international trade.

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As a result, the population in these urban areas continues to grow, contributing to the overall high population density in the region.

Urbanization and Big Cities

Brazil's major cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Sao Luis, play a pivotal role in shaping the country's population distribution. These urban centers offer a wide range of job opportunities in industries like finance, technology, and manufacturing. The allure of employment and a higher quality of life draws people from rural areas to the cities.

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Moreover, the larger cities are equipped with extensive transportation networks, including airports and ports, which facilitate the movement of goods and people. This accessibility further reinforces the urbanization trend, as people are more likely to settle in areas with convenient transportation options.

Accessibility and Infrastructure

Accessibility is a crucial factor influencing population distribution in Brazil. The Southeast coastal region benefits from well-developed transportation infrastructure, including highways, railways, and ports. These infrastructural investments have made it easier for people to commute and transport goods, contributing to the region's higher population density.

In contrast, the western parts of Brazil face challenges related to low accessibility levels. The vast Amazon rainforest, with its dense vegetation and waterways, poses significant obstacles to transportation and urban development. As a result, these areas remain sparsely populated, with limited infrastructure and economic opportunities.

Environmental Conditions

The environmental conditions in Brazil, particularly in the west, also influence population distribution. The Amazon rainforest, with its hot and humid tropical climate, deters large-scale human habitation. The challenging environmental conditions, coupled with the region's isolation, limit the attractiveness of settling in these areas.

Furthermore, the Amazon region borders less economically developed countries, making it less appealing for urbanization and economic activities compared to the more accessible and economically vibrant coastal regions.

The Carajas Project and Development

The Carajas project, located in the hills of eastern Amazonia, played a significant role in Brazil's development and population distribution. This massive project was initiated to exploit the abundant deposits of high-grade iron and other minerals found in the region. With approximately 18 billion tons of iron, it became a cornerstone of Brazil's mineral exploration efforts.

One of the primary motivations behind such a massive development project was the transformation of Brazil from a less economically developed country (LEDC) into a more advanced nation. The revenue generated from the project bolstered Brazil's economy, helping it ascend to the status of a BRIC nation.

Moreover, the Carajas project created numerous job opportunities for Brazilians, providing them with a stable income and improving their overall quality of life. The project's scale necessitated a diverse workforce, further contributing to job growth in the region.

Additionally, the increased income generated by the project has allowed for improvements in education and infrastructure. Better access to education and a more qualified teaching workforce have helped address educational deficiencies that were prevalent in Brazil when it was still an LEDC.

Furthermore, the development of the project improved transportation infrastructure, resulting in better roads and increased accessibility in the region. This enhanced infrastructure facilitated the movement of people and goods, further influencing population distribution in the area.


The population distribution in Brazil is intricately linked to geographical factors, trade, accessibility, urbanization, and environmental conditions. The Southeast coastal region's high population density can be attributed to its economic opportunities, urban centers, and well-developed infrastructure. In contrast, the western regions face challenges related to the Amazon rainforest's environmental conditions and lower accessibility levels.

The Carajas project exemplifies how a massive development initiative can transform a country, both economically and in terms of population distribution. By addressing geographical disparities and fostering economic growth, Brazil has made significant strides in becoming a major player on the global stage.

Updated: Nov 06, 2023
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The Geographical Factors Influencing Population Distribution in Brazil. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

The Geographical Factors Influencing Population Distribution in Brazil essay
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