Santa Catarina (Portuguese pronunciation for: Saint Catherine) is a state in southern Brazil with the perfect climate year round for mountain bike riding and action sports. The very best of the Floresta Atlantica, beside the largest natural preserves and huge state parks bursting with rivers and waterfalls. Aside from the natural beauty, according to the Index of Economic Well-Being, Santa Catarina was ranked as the Brazilian state with the highest economic well-being and standard of living.
My favourite place to stay in all of Brazil, is a little Pousada called the “Full Moon” on the southern tip of the magical island of Florianopolis.
Quality of life is very high by Brazilian and Latin American standards. It is the Brazilian state with the highest levels of income, education and public health, and one of the lowest rates of illiteracy. Santa Catarina boasts Brazil’s highest average life expectancy and lowest homicide rate in addition to lower levels of corruption. The cities of the state are also considered the most “livable” in Brazil, appearing as the most “clean, safe and organized” of the country. In recent decades, Santa Catarina has been dubbed “the Brazil that worked”.
Santa Catarina is in a very strategic position in Mercosul, the South American Common Market. Its position in the map is situated between the parallel 25º57’41” and 29º23’55” of the Southern latitude and between the meridians 48º19’37” and 53º50’00” of Western longitude. Florianópolis, its capital, is 1,673 km (1,040 mi) from Brasilia, 705 km (438 mi) from São Paulo, 1,144 km (711 mi) from Rio de Janeiro and 1,850 km (1,150 mi) from Buenos Aires.
The Serra Geral, a southern extension of the Serra do Mar, runs north and south through the state parallel to the Atlantic coast, dividing the state between a narrow coastal plain and a larger plateau region to the west.
The Atlantic coast of Santa Catarina has many beaches, islands, bays, inlets, and lagoons. The humid tropical Serra do Mar coastal forests cover the narrow coastal zone, which is crossed by numerous short streams from the wooded slopes of the serras.
The central part of the state is home to the Araucaria moist forests, dominated by emergent Brazilian pines (Araucaria angustifolia). The drainage of the plateau is westward to the Paraná River, the rivers being tributaries of the Iguaçu, which forms its northern boundary, and of the Uruguay River, which forms its southern boundary. The semi-deciduous Paraná-Paraíba interior forests occupy the westernmost valleys of the Iguaçu and Uruguay rivers.
The highest point of the state is the Morro da Boa Vista, with an altitude of 1,827 m, and the second highest point is the Morro da Igreja, in the town of Urubici, with an altitude of 1,822 m.
According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 6,091,000 people residing in the state. The population density was 61.53 inhabitants per square kilometre (159.4 /sq mi).
Urbanization: 83% (2006); Population growth: 2% (1991–2000); Houses: 1,836,000 (2006).
The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 5,297,000 White people (86.96%), 608,000 Brown (Multiracial) people (9.98%), 160,000 Black people (2.63%), 15,000 Asian people (0.25%), 5,000 Amerindian people (0.09%).
People of Portuguese ancestry, mostly Azoreans, predominate on the coast. People of German descent predominate in the northeast region (Itajaí Valley) and in the north (Joinville region). There are many German communities in the west. People of Italian descent predominate in the south, as well in many areas in the west. People of African, Amerindian or Japanese origins are small communities in a few towns.
According to a genetic study from 2013, Brazilians in Santa Catarina have 79.7% European, 11.4% African and 8.9% Amerindian ancestries, respectively. A genetic study found out an isolated Azorean-Brazilian community from Santa Catarina to have between 80,6% to 93,5% european input, along with 12,6% to 6,8% african and 4,1% to 2,4% native american ancestries.
Photo credit: Noel Portugal via Visual hunt / CC BY
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