Tocantins State Profile
|Population (as at 2010)||1,383,445|
|Urban Population (found under Synopsis of the 2010 Population Census) (as at 2010)||1,090,106|
|Population Density (inhab / km²) (as at 2010)||5|
|Number of Municipalities||139|
|Occupied Private Housing Units (as at 2010)||399,506|
|Average of Residents in Occupied Private Housing Units (as at 2010)||3|
|Housing Deficit (as at 2008)||59,681|
|Number of Active Construction Companies (as at 2009)|
|Employed Personnel in Construction Companies (as at 2009)|
|Total Salaries and Other Compensation (as at 2008)|
|Credit Operations Total (as at 2009)||R$ 3,436,537,829|
|Savings Total (as at 2009)||R$ 974,969,335|
|Average Monthly Household Income from Work (as at 2009)||R$ 1,202|
|Average Monthly Household Expenditure on Housing (as at 2009)||R$ 557|
|Average Multiple of Minimum Wage (as at 2009)|
|Population Earning No Income||6.8 %|
|Population Earning up to 3 Times the Minimum Salary (as at 2008)||84.6 %|
|Population Earning Between 3 and 5 Times the Minimum Salary (as at 2008)||6.2 %|
|Population Earning Between 5 and 10 Times the Minimum Salary (as at 2008)||1.2 %|
|Population Earning 10 Times and Over the Minimum Salary (as at 2008)||1.2 %|
|Gini Coefficient (as at 2009)||0.47|
|UN Human Development Index Rating (as at 2009)|
|Permanent Private Households with a Septic Tank (as at 2009)|
|Number of Municipalities with Solid Waste Management (as at 2009)||139|
|Poverty Incidence (as at 2009)||41 %|
|GDP at Current Prices (as at 2008)|
|GDP per Capita (as at 2008)|
Tocantins is officially Brazil’s most modern state and has witnessed a solid level of growth in terms of infrastructural development and investment. The entire region was formerly part of the Goiás state; however, although not officially classed as such, separation occurred since the 17th century due to accessibility issues which were further exacerbated as a result of political feuds between inhabitants. National pressure led to the federal government officially separating the two states in 1988.
The state is home to the largest hydro basin in South America and, as well as having some of the unique characteristics of the Amazon, possesses the largest open pastures in the country complemented by above average irrigation (due to the many rivers that cross the state). Other interesting features of the region include the south westerly Ilha do Bananal – the largest river island in the world; massive tracts of floodplain – via the Araguaia river – and a huge variety of vegetation (ranging from open fields of grass to babaçu palms and thick bark trees). The states dry season occurs from May to October and the average annual rainfall is 1000mm.
Today, Tocantins is considered as one of the fastest growing states in Brazil with an economy that is largely based upon the agriculture as well as having prominent services, commerce and industrial sectors (with the latter focused on chemical production, textiles, wood processing, non-metallic minerals, information technology, software production amongst others). UNICA, the national sugarcane trade body, has also reported a natural gentrification of the industry into the area due to the cheaper land and fertile soils (the majority of Brazil’s sugarcane mills are currently located in the São Paulo and Goiás states) and several leading organisations are using the region to investigate new breeds and test more efficient methodologies of production.
The state has become an increasingly important beneficiary of funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in the form of provision for irrigation and drainage infrastructure expansion (dams, canals, sewage cleaning systems, pumps); basic infrastructure (roads, electricity, gas and water supply) as well as subsidies, grants and loans to encourage the ever-growing agricultural industry whilst boosting employment and improving the welfare of the regions inhabitants. Such development has, however, not always faced open arms – particularly by environmentalists. As an example, the Cana Brava dam construction in 2002 led to the flooding of the Tocantins River completely displacing the Avás-Canoeiros people – despite feasibility and research studies pointing to the fact that such events would never occur. None of the people affected by the flood have been compensated and resettlement was only offered to 300 of the 1,000 families. Whilst developers and government officials are keen to highlight the positive economic effects, this particular case has been used as a precedent of the impact that dam construction can have on the environment and local people throughout Brazil.
The governance of the region has been nationally commended and Tocantins has been one of the highest receivers of funding from the PAC government grant subsidies (Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento). According to the Governo do Tocantins (the local government body), the housing deficit at the close of 2009 stood at over 86,000 with this figure expected to rise as more migration occurs. Combined with national housing programmes such as the ‘Minha Casa, Minha Vida’ and an improved financing ability, an increased presence of real estate developers has become apparent.
As can be seen on the map to the left, there are three airports serving the state with the largest being the modern ‘Palmas Complex’ which has a total passenger area of 370,000m² and currently serves over 50,000 passengers per month. Tocantins will also be one of the main passing points of the Ferrovia Norte-Sul (the national north to south trainline), an unprecedented national project inaugurated in 2008. There are a handful of prominent national universities in the region including the Universidade Federal do Tocantins (Federal University of Tocantins, UFT); the Fundação Universidade do Tocantins (Foundation University of Tocantins, UNITINS) and the Escola Técnica Federal de Palmas (Palmas Techical School, ETF).