Florianópolis is the Brazilian city that has most increased in wealth over the last three decades. Its GNP per capita increased, on average, 6% per year and is currently at US$ 10 thousand – almost twice the Brazilian average.


View of Armação Beach, in Florianópolis. View of Armação Beach, in Florianópolis.


Santa Catarina has 16 cities ranking among the 50 Brazilian cities with the best HDI. Santa Catarina has 16 cities ranking among the 50 Brazilian cities with the best HDI.


The state’s cities are very green, even in central regions. The state’s cities are very green, even in central regions.

Quality of Life 

Recognized for its natural beauties, historic wealth and ambitious vocation, Santa Catarina is one of the states in Brazil where life is lived longer and better. Its index for Municipal Human Development (M-HDI)1 is 0.822, which is considered high, ranking it behind only the Distrito Federal (Federal District).

The good conditions of human development enjoyed in Santa Catarina are reflected in, for example, a life expectancy of 73.7 years, above the national average. People in Santa Catarina live five years longer than the average Brazilian and almost two years longer than the gauchos, who rank second in that aspect.

Among the 33 Metropolitan Regions in the Country, the top four in the M-HDI ranking are in Santa Catarina: Greater Florianópolis, Joinville, Blumenau and Tubarão. Among the top ten, only four are in other states. Santa Catarina has 27 cities ranking among the 100 Brazilian cities with the best HDI. Of the 573 cities with a high level of human development, 123 (over 20%) are in Santa Catarina. Florianópolis is considered the capital with the highest quality of life, and the fourth best city in the country to live in, according to the United Nations (UN).  

Florianópolis is also the Brazilian city that has most increased in wealth over the last three decades. Its GNP per capita increased, on average, 6% per year and is currently at US$ 10 thousand – almost twice the Brazilian average. According to a study carried out by the Brazilian School of Public Administration, Florianópolis is the eighth best Brazilian city for a professional career. In addition, it is the top Brazilian capital city and the third in the country in the digital inclusion ranking prepared by the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), with a 33.29% rate. Seven cities in Santa Catarina are among the top 50 in this category.  

Santa Catarina has the best rating in the Brazilian Juvenile Development Index (JDI), which is prepared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), rated first in items such as education, health, and income quality, and second in adequate schooling. Youth illiteracy was practically eradicated in Santa Catarina, which ranks first in this area, with a rate of less than 1%.

While the Brazilian average of child deaths (the number of deaths of children up to one year old, per 1,000 born alive) – is 25.8, Santa Catarina’s figures are far lower at 17.2.

The path for Santa Catarina to remain on the development trail has already been planned: the education of its people. One of the state’s characteristics is constant preoccupation with education, from the elementary to higher levels, making it a model for the rest of the country. There are 108 institutions of higher learning, distributed throughout 28 cities in all regions. With such, 15.3% of Santa Catarina’s workforce has a university degree. 43.5% have at least completed high school. At the same time, Santa Catarina’s youth continue to be carefully prepared for the future. According to data from the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institution (BGSI), the State holds the best schooling rate in the country for children aged 7 to 14, with 93.8% receiving elementary education, compared to the national average of 89.8%.

The cost of living is lower than in other states, the schools are good and the purchasing power per capita is among the highest in the country.

More education and greater quality of life, associated with an efficient public safety system, are attributes that directly reflect on violence rates. In Santa Catarina, such rates are far below the national averages. According to data by the Ministry of Justice, the life-threatening crime rate in the State is 11.5 per 100 thousand inhabitants, compared to a national average of 30. For effect, look at the neighboring states: the life-threatening crime rate in Rio Grande do Sul is more than double that of Santa Catarina and Paraná’s is nearly five times higher.

According to the Brazilian Cities Violence Map, a study published by the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), Santa Catarina is the state with the lowest homicide rate in Brazil, with a rate of 11 per 100 thousand inhabitants (the Brazilian average is 25.9).  Of the 293 cities in Santa Catarina, only 6 are on the list of the 556 most violent cities in the Country: Planalto Alegre, Santa Cecília, Passos Maia, Irati, Vargem and Palmeira, small lumber towns located in the West and Mid-West regions.

It is no wonder that in its July 3rd European edition, the North American magazine Newsweek placed Santa Catarina’s capital as one of the 10 most dynamic cities in the world. The publication points out that Florianópolis’ “virtuous cycle” began when the city prohibited heavy industries on the Island of Santa Catarina.

Tourism in Santa Catarina has gone up every year – the summer of 2007 was the best in the past ten years. The number of tourists reached 3.1 million, generating an estimated revenue of US$ 777 million and a hotel occupation rate of 70.16%.

Atlas of Human Development in Brazil

Metropolitan Region
M-HDI 2000
M-HDI 1991
Relative Growth (%)
1st Florianópolis 0,859 0,801
7,2
2nd North/Northeast Santa Catarina
0,853
0,802
6,0
3rd Vale do Itajaí 0,850 0,802
6,0
4th Tubarão 0,835 0,788
6,0
5th Campinas
0,835 0,778
7,3
6th Porto Alegre
0,833 0,782
6,6
7th São Paulo
0,828 0,792
4,5
8th Metropolitan Expansion Area of the MR Vale do Itajaí 0,826 0,758
8,9
9th Metropolitan Expansion Area of the MR Carbonífera
0,824 0,737
11,7
10th Curitiba
0,824 0,763
8,0
Source: PNUD.

Santa Catarina

Area 95,442 Km2 (1.12% of Brazilian territory)
Population 5.9 million inhabitants (2006 estimate)
Populational density 62.5 inhabitants/km2
Capital Florianópolis
Exports US$ 5.9 billion (2006)
GNP per capita US$ 7,913 billion (2006 estimate)
GNP US$ 45.9 billion (2006 estimate)
Highest point Mt. Bela Vista (Urubici), 1,827 meters
Average temperatures Between 55,4°F and 77°F
Low: 23°F / High: 95°F