By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia (INCT) Observatório das Metrópoles (Metropolis Observatory), in conjunction with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), has just released the results of a massive study that looked at the living conditions of 5,565 municipalities across Brazil.

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According to a new study of Brazil’s 27 capital cities, Rio de Janeiro was the eighth best for quality of life, photo by Artyom Sharbatyan/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

In a one hundred-plus page document released late last week, the organization revealed Brazil’s best and worst hundred cities based on the INCT’s quality of life score, called the Urban Welfare Index.

To calculate the Urban Welfare Index, the INCT Metropolis Observatory analyzed five specific areas: urban mobility, environmental conditions, housing conditions, urban public services, and infrastructure.

São Paulo state dominated the top of the quality of life rankings with nine of the top ten municipalities. Buritizal in the north of São Paulo, earned the top spot, followed by a string of São Paulo municipalities: Santa Salete, Taquaral, Dirce Reis, Santana da Ponte Pensa, Fernão, Águas de São Pedro, and Pompéia. Antônio Prado de Minas from Minas Gerais came in at nine, with Votuporanga, again from São Paulo, rounding out the top ten.

São Paulo also dominated the top one hundred rankings, with 84 cities coming from the state. The rest of the top hundred included eleven cities from Minas Gerais, four from Paraná, and one from Santa Catarina. None of Rio de Janeiro state’s municipalities appeared in the top one hundred.

However, in a separate ranking showing only the Urban Welfare Index score of Brazil’s 27 capital cities, Rio de Janeiro finished eighth, ahead of São Paulo, which finished twelfth. The top three capital cities were Vitória, Goiânia, and Curtiba. The bottom three capital cities were Belém, Porto Velho, and finishing last, Macapá.

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São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, finished twelfth in the city capitals ranking, but São Paulo state dominated the overall top 100, with 84 cities coming from the state, photo Wikimedia Creative Commons Licence.

According to the study, the majority of the top one hundred municipalities, mostly cities from the Southeast and South of Brazil, scored above average in all five categories analyzed. However, the INCT emphasized that almost none of the top hundred municipalities are located in main metropolitan areas.

Only twelve of the top hundred have a population greater than one hundred thousand people, with the most populous municipality belonging to Sao Jose do Rio Preto, in São Paulo, which has 408,435 people. Twenty-four cities have populations between 20,000 and 100,000 thousand inhabitants, with the remaining 64 only having less than 20,000 inhabitants.

The INCT concluded that “the best urban welfare conditions are located in small or medium-sized cities, they are not, therefore, characteristic of large cities or those placed in a metropolitan context.”

The bottom ten municipalities in the quality of life rankings were: Turiaçu, Mirinzal, Campos Lindos, Chaves, Mocajuba, Miguel Alves, Manoel Urbano, Lago Verde, Riacho Frio, Nova Mamoré, and Ulianópolis.

Among Brazil’s one hundred worst cities, most were located in the North and Northeast regions of the country, with more than seventy of the worst hundred coming from only two states, Pará and Maranhao.

Head researcher for the study, Marcelo Ribeiro, also a professor at UFRJ, noted the stark and obvious regional inequalities revealed in the survey. “The municipalities that presented the best conditions are in the Southeast and South, some in the Midwest. The worst rates in general are in the North and Northeast, and also in the Midwest, a transition zone,” said Ribeiro.

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