Shrinking cities in Brazil

Shrinking cities are mostly found on the northern hemisphere, in developed countries such as the US, Russia, Japan and Europe. Dropping fertility rates and increased emigration (usually from small and middle sized towns to fast growing megalopolises) are leaving demographical and physical gaps in many cities at the moment.

This phenomenon is not as well known in African and South American cities, but recent data by IBGE show that 32% of Brazilian cities are actually shrinking over the past 8 years. Most of these are small towns in the southeast that lose young people to bigger cities or metropolitan regions. Usually the average fertility rates tend to compensate partially for the loss of population though emigration.

Image Folha de São Paulo / IBGE

Small towns with demographic problems tend to have economic ones aswell, since the municipality´s budget is related to the number of inhabitants. Towns in the border regions, for example near Uruguai, suffer from the strong Brazilian currency which makes everything accross the border much cheaper, thereby discouraging production and investments.

Santana do Livramento, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Shrinking city at the Uruguaian border.Photo alexfig

Rivera, Santana´s twin city on the Uruguaian side of the border. Free shop.Photo Rafael Caggiani

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