Commuting and regional integration: an analytical methodology for the metropolitan regions of Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo

Abstract The existence of controversies in the academic literature about the limits and configuration of metropolitan regions in Brazil is not uncommon. Apart from the criteria’s lack of precision in the definition of these regional outlines, it seems relevant to consider the meaning and scope of commuting in the regional population dynamics. The objective of this article is to investigate the level of integration of the peripheral municipalities that are part of the metropolitan regions of Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Using microdata samples from the 2010 Demographic Census, the Metropolitan Integration Index was proposed, aggregating Internal Pendularity Ratios, Pendular Connectivity and Nuclear Pendularity. In general, the results indicated sensitive regional differences beyond the expected effect of the distance variable, allowing to identify cases of low integration levels.