Population of Brazil: 207,353,39
Population of Southern Brazil: 29 million
Nationality: Brazilian; Regional distinction: Sulista, Catarinense, Gaucho
Ethnic Groups: White 80%, Mestizo 16%, Black 4%
Population distribution and urbanization: More than 80% of the population of Southern Brazil live in the cities. These are the three states of Southern Brazil and their major Metropolitan Regions with population.
Porto Alegre, RS
Curitiba - PR: 3,168,980
Londrina, PR: 801,756
Maringá, PR: 612,617
Santa Catarina (SC)
Nordeste Catarinense, SC: 1,094,570
Florianópolis, SC: 1,012,831
Vale do Itajaí, SC: 689,909
Foz do Rio Itajaí, SC: 532 830
Rio Grande do Sul (RS)
Porto Alegre - RS: 3,960,068
Serra Gaúcha, RS: 735,276
Zona Sul, RS: 577,578
Although the number of declared Roman Catholics is still more than 70% of the population of Southern Brazil, the region as a whole has seen the greatest decline in the number of people who affirm to be Roman Catholics. The number of Evangelicals in Brazil has steadily grown over the last 30 years. In some regions of Brazil, the growth has been astronomical (from 3% to 25%), yet much of that growth has not been seen in Southern Brazil. Southern Brazil is recognized as the “capital” of Spiritism in South America. It is also the region that boasts the highest percentage of Atheist and Agnostics, similar to Uruguay and Argentina. Mennonites and Lutherans have had a historic presence in Southern Brazil due to the large number of German immigrants who have had a strong influence on the region’s culture and development, but both of these groups are very liberal in their theology and practice. Most of their churches are dead and empty. The statistical growth among Evangelicals is mostly seen among the Neo-Pentecostals in urban centers. There is a great need for solid, Gospel-centered, Christ-focused Churches in the region.
A Unique History, People and Culture
Southern Brazil includes the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. The region is considered the safest in Brazil to visit, having a lower crime rate than other regions in the country. It is also known to have a higher quality of living per the IHD index. This is due to many factors, but primarily due to higher education per capita and an overall high GDP than other Brazilian regions per capita.
Southern Brazil’s culture is characteristically unique due to European colonization. European colonization in Southern Brazil started with the arrival of Portuguese and Spanish Jesuits. For decades, the Portuguese and Spanish crowns disputed over this region. They composed over half of the population of the region by the late 18th century. Germans started to immigrate to Brazil soon after Brazil’s independence from Portugal in 1822. Settlers from Germany were brought to work as small farmers because there were many land holdings without workers. To attract the immigrants, the Brazilian government promised them large tracts of land where they could settle with their families and colonize the region. The first German immigrants arrived in 1824 and it is estimated that 80,000 Germans had settled in the region by 1904. A considerable number of Volga Germans from Russia also arrived during this time. Italian immigrants started arriving in Brazil in 1875. They were mostly peasants from the Veneto in Northern Italy. Most of these Italian immigrants also worked as small farmers, mainly cultivating grapes in the Serra Gaúcha. By 1900 there were an estimated 400,000 Italian immigrants in the region. Currently, there is an estimated 9.7 million Italian descendent in Southern Brazil. This number comprises 36% of Southern Brazil's population.
The main ethnic origins of Southern Brazil are Portuguese, Italian, German, Austrian, Luxembourger, Polish, Ukrainian, Spaniard, Dutch and Russian. Smaller numbers that follow are French, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Black, Swiss, Croat, Lebanese, Lithuanian and Latvian, Japanese, Finnish and Estonian, Belarusian, Slovene, Ashkenazi Jew, Caboclo, British, Czech, Slovak, Belgian and Hungarian.