How Many Brazilian States Are There?

Map showing the administrative divisions of Brazil.
Map showing the administrative divisions of Brazil.

The South American nation of Brazil is made up of 27 federated units, out of which 26 are states, and one is a federal district. According to the constitution of Brazil, the federal district cannot be subdivided into municipalities, but it is divided into different administrative regions. On the other hand, the states are divided into municipalities.

Government of the States

Each state has its government which is made up of the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary arms of government. Each state has a governor which forms the executive branch of the state government and is deputized by the vice governor. The state also has several secretaries of state with each being in charge of the assigned portfolio, and there is also a state attorney general among many other state officials.

The State of Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo in Brazil is the richest state in the country, and it is also the most populous state with a population of 41 million people in 2014 which was equivalent to the population of Argentina. At the time, the population of Sao Paulo accounted for 21.7% of the total population in the country. Of all the federated states of Brazil, Sao Paulo has the second highest GDP per capita in the country and is responsible for about 33.9% of the country's GDP. The state of Sao Paulo is regarded as richer than the neighboring countries such as Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. If the state were a country, it would rank among the top 20 in the world. The city of Sao Paulo is the capital of the state of Sao Paulo.

The State of Amazonas

The Amazonas state is found in Brazil’s northwestern part, and it is the country’s largest state by area covering approximately 606,468 square miles, and the world's 9th largest subdivision. The land area of the state is larger than the area covered by Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile combined. It is regarded as the 3rd largest subdivision of any country in the Southern Hemisphere, coming after the two states of Western Australia and Queensland in Australia. If the Amazonas were a country, it would rank as the world’s 6th largest country being almost the same size as Mongolia. The state is the 15th largest in Brazil with the highest population of about 3.8 million according to the estimates of 2014, which was almost the same as the population of Puerto Rico. The population of the state accounts for 1.91% of the population of Brazil. Manaus is the capital of Amazonas.

The Federal District of Brazil

The Federal District (Distrito Federal) is among Brazil’s 27 federal units, and it is the smallest federal unit and the only one without municipalities, but it is subdivided into administrative regions. It covers an area of approximately 2,200 square miles. Brasilia, which is the capital city of Brazil, is located in the territory where the seat of the federal district’s government is also located. According to article 32 of the constitution of Brazil, it prohibits the division of the federal district into municipalities because it is considered as a municipality. Until 1969, the executive power of the federal district was vested on the mayor, but with the new Constitution of 1988, it created the governor of the federal district, which is the executive power of the federal district.


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