Socio-Environmental Development Index
for the State of Bahía
Leonardo Araújo, Elaine Fernandes and Patrícia Rosado

This work aimed to identify the link between socio-economic conditions and environmental conditions in the municipalities of Bahía, highlighting mainly those aspects related to income levels, the level of natural resources, human health conditions and sanitary infrastructure. The goal was to quantify the level of environmental quality in the municipalities and construct an alternative index to the hdi, considering environmental factors in addition to economic and social factors.

The results revealed that the State of Bahía attained an average eci of 0.34, lower than the level of environmental conditions for the State. It is important to highlight that 80.24% of Bahía’s municipalities attained eci values lower than 0.50 and merely two municipalities attained values greater than 0.80. The low level of forest preservation and the precarious state of access to basic sanitation services were the main indicators characterizing the municipalities with a low eci level.

It is worth noting that 82 municipalities that showed an eci greater than 0.5 are not adequately dealing with waste generated by the population, despite possessing relatively good urban infrastructure. Failure to collect refuse aggravates environmental conditions, given that when it is not collected it is burnt (which negatively affects air quality), or buried (having a negative impact on the ground and water sources), which in turn has a negative impact on the population’s living conditions.

The Socio-economic Environmental Development Index constructed obtained an average of 0.28, which led to the conclusion that the environmental conditions of the municipalities studied led to a drop in the level of human development, the majority of Bahía municipalities having been classified from 0.5 to 0.79 within the traditional hdi.

It is important to recognize that quality of life is related to environmental conditions. In this way, environmental improvements can result in advances in economic and social conditions (impacting on poverty). Waste recycling, water and energy conservation are examples of how to create jobs and improve the population’s quality of life. The State of Bahía is still far behind in terms of initiatives of this type.

It is important that government authorities are mindful of the importance of providing adequate basic services, particularly basic sanitation. The importance of adopting measures aimed at improving sanitary infrastructure, health, housing, conservation areas, the use of open spaces etc. etc. as well as the need to approach development in a sustainable way, have become fundamental at the present time. Measures taken towards this objective would lead to improvements in quality of life and environmental quality, benefitting communities and having a positive impact on the country as a whole.


Barbier, E., The Economic Linkages Between Rural Poverty and Land Degradation: Some Evidence from Africa, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 82, 2000, pp. 355-370.

Bojö, J., J. Bucknall, K. Hamilton, N. Kishor, C. Kraus, P. Pillai, Environment Chapter, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers’s Source Book, Washington dc, World Bank, 2001.

Braga, T. M. B.; Freitas, A.P.G.; Duarte, G.S.; Carepa-Souza, Julio. Índices de Sustentabilidade Municipal: O Desafio de Mensurar. 2003. Available at: Accessed December 15, 2010.

Corrar, L. J., E. Paulo, J. M. Dias Filho, Análise Multivariada, Fipecafi, São Paulo, Atlas, 2007.

dsd (Division for Sustainable Development), United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Available at: . Accessed July, 4, 2009.

Ekbom, A., J. Bojö, Poverty and Environment: Evidence of Links and Integration into the Country Assistance Strategy Process, 1999. Available at: aef806/wbpoben.pdf> Accessed October 20, 2011

Gallopín, G. C., “El ambiente urbano y la planificación ambiental,” in: Medio ambiente y urbanización, Buenos Aires, clacso/cifca, 1982.

ibge (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), Censo Demográfico 2000. Available at: =23&i=P. Accessed May 20, 2009.

___,Censo Agropecuário 2006. Available at: .br/bda/pesquisas/ca/default.asp?o=2&i=P. Accessed July 2009.

___,Pesquisa de Informações Básicas Municipais 2000. Available at: Accessed July 2009.

___, Indicadores de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, Brazil 2010. Available at: Accessed October 20, 2011.