Geography of the State of São Paulo

The most populous state in Brazil, São Paulo stands out for its industrial production and the presence of immigrants: there are almost 3 million, from 70 different nationalities. There are also a large number of internal migrants, most of them from the Northeast.

Physical aspects of São Paulo

Located in the Southeast , the state of São Paulo has the north and northeast limits of the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, to the east the Atlantic Ocean, to the south, the state of Paraná, and to the west, Mato Grosso do Sul.

It has 645 municipalities and occupies an area of ​​248,219.627 km 2 . Its capital is the city of São Paulo, one of the global metropolises on the planet, which is characterized by being an excellent area for business. It also stands out for its cultural diversity, which results in an intense and varied leisure offer.


Three units of relief stand out: the coastal plain, a narrow strip of land in which the Serra do Mar is located, the municipality of Paranapiacaba and the Ribeira valley; the plateaus, which extend from south to northeast; and the depressions, which cover the Middle Tietê, Paranapanema and Mojiguaçu valleys.

The altitude varies from 300 to 900 m in most of the state area, with the highest point being Pedra da Mina, in the Serra da Mantiqueira, with an altitude of 2770 m.


The hydrographic network of the state covers the Paraná basin, and the rivers are used both for navigation and for the production of electric energy. The main ones are: Tietê, Paranapanema, Paraíba do Sul, Paraná, Grande, Turvo, do Peixe, Piracicaba, Pardo, Mojiguaçu, Jacaré-Pepira and Jacaré-Guaçu.

The biggest highlight is the Tietê-Paraná waterway, 2400 km long, of which 800 km in São Paulo.


In São Paulo the predominant climate is the tropical high altitude, which has an average temperature of 20 ° C to 22 ° C. There are two seasons, one dry and the other rainy. In winter, frosts occur in areas where the altitudes exceed 1,200 m.


Originally, there were three types of vegetation in the territory: the mangrove , the Atlantic Forest in the Serra do Mar and, in the interior, the Tropical Forest, in addition to the savannahs that occur in the center and west of the state. Much of the state’s vegetation was destroyed to make way for agriculture.

The population of São Paulo

In 2018, São Paulo had a population of 45.5 million inhabitants, with the second best Human Development Index (HDI) in the country: 0.783. Its illiteracy rate is 2.8%, one of the lowest in the country, life expectancy is 78.1 years and infant mortality, 9.9 per thousand live births.

Ethnically, the population is very varied. In addition to the miscegenation between whites and Indians, which occurred since the colonial period, which was followed by a strong black presence, the current population also results from the merger between the diverse immigrants of all origins who settled in São Paulo since the 19th century.

Today, the ethnic composition of the state’s population is 63.65% white, 5.44% black, 29.38% brown, 1.38% yellow and 0.11% indigenous. The advent of industrialization has also motivated a large flow of internal migration. Thus, São Paulo received many migrants from the Northeast (in greater numbers), from the South (mainly from Paraná) and from practically all parts of the country.

The economy of São Paulo

The main economic center in Brazil, the state of São Paulo accounts for 32.4% of the national GDP (IBGE 2015). It is equally strong in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.

It presents more than 190 thousand km 2 of productive land, among crops, pastures and forests destined for economic use. It is the national leader in fruit production and the world leader in orange juice. It also stands out as a producer of soy and sugar cane (it is the second largest in the world), vegetables (25% of national production) and coffee (fourth largest in the world, with 3.5 million 60 kg bags per year).

The state also has large herds of cattle (12.9 million heads), pigs (1.5 million heads), sheep (226 thousand heads) and goats (109 thousand heads). In poultry farming, it is the second largest national producer of chickens (900 thousand tons per year) and supplies 16% of the national total of poultry.

In industry, São Paulo is responsible for 40% of national production – only Greater São Paulo accounts for 20%, with 52% of São Paulo industries concentrated in the metropolitan region.

The sectors of metallurgy, mechanics, electrical and communication material, transport material, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics and information technology are particularly strong.

A major exporter, São Paulo is responsible for more than 35% of all Brazilian exports, a volume of more than U $ 38 billion annually.

Tourism and culture in the state of São Paulo

Throughout the 20th century, São Paulo was home to numerous artistic and aesthetic movements, strongly influenced by immigrants – especially by Italians. At the Municipal Theater of São Paulo, for example, the 1922 Modern Art Week took place, which launched new guidelines in the way of making theater, literature, poetry, plastic arts.

Today, the state has an extensive network of theaters, concert halls, bars and restaurants, as well as museums, historical monuments, theme parks, art galleries and excellent educational institutions. This cultural effervescence is felt more intensely in the metropolitan region, but it is also strong in cities in the interior, such as Campinas and Ribeirão Preto.

Although it is a natural destination for business trips, with an average of 45,000 business events held during the year, São Paulo is also a destination for those looking for fun and entertainment.

In addition to cultural attractions, the state also offers natural beauty: in 622 km of coastline, there are beautiful beaches, and on the south coast are environmental sanctuaries such as the Estação Ecológica Jureia-ltatins.

The tourist also finds options for rural tourism, cities with a European climate (such as Campos do Jordão, famous for its Winter Festival), waterfalls, caves, rivers, mountains, mineral springs, natural parks, historic buildings and archaeological sites.

State of São Paulo