The settlement, which became a town in 1553, with the name of Santo André da Borda do Campo, experienced rapid growth beginning in the 1930s. It was originally named São Bernardo because the municipality district headquarters were in São Bernardo do Campo, now a city nearby. In 1938, the name was changed to Santo André, as the district government was transferred to Santo André. Industries include chemical engineering, textiles, oil, metal products, metallurgy and printed matter. It is an industrial city, but more than 60% of Santo André's total area are protected by environmental water laws.