Bertrand de Solere Blog

The number of “billionaire” cities on the rise in Brazil

While a large majority of Brazilian cities are in the red, other municipalities are doing like a charm. They are even more likely to have exceeded one billion reais in revenue, according to the latest study by the Municipal Information Observatory.

Between 2017 and 2018, ten Brazilian cities became billionaires, going from 77 to 87 in total. In detail, this represents only 1.5% of the municipalities in the country. Their total revenue reached R$290.188 billion in 2018, or 41.90% of the total revenue of all their counterparts. If the average revenue per inhabitant was 3,369.54 reais in all the cities of Brazil, it was 3,872.59 reais in the 87 billionaire cities.

The richest cities are not necessarily the ones you think

Brazil’s “wealthiest” cities are obviously among the largest and most populous with São Paulo (57.3 billion reais in revenue), Rio de Janeiro (28.6 billion), Belo Horizonte (10.9 billion) and Curitiba (9.1 billion). But if we look at the average revenue per capita, the ranking is very different.

The top 10 “richest” cities are then dominated by much smaller municipalities in terms of population. Six are located in the state of São Paulo and three in that of Rio de Janeiro. The state of Santa Catarina has one, Itajai. The podium is occupied by Paulinia (São Paulo), with an average revenue per capita of 15,064.59 reais (much more than the 4,712.50 reais of the state capital), followed by Maricá (Rio de Janeiro – 13,159.14 reais) and São Sebastião (São Paulo – 11,421.04). Their population ranges from 87,598 inhabitants for the latter to 511,786 for Niteroi (Rio de Janeiro – 10th position). Their average population is around 100,000.

Despite a lackluster national economy, revenues in Brazilian cities still grew by 9.66%. The 87 billionaire municipalities have benefited in particular from royalties and other special contributions, as well as from the increase in the various grants from the Federal State.

For example, the “wealthiest” city, Paulinia and its 106,776 inhabitants, is home to the largest oil refinery in Brazil. Also Maricá, like other towns on the fluminense coast, receives significant income from oil production off the coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro.


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