Santana includes six parishes, within a rugged mountainous environment, most occupying river-valleys: Arco de São Jorge, Faial, Ilha, Santana - the parish (and town) has a population of 3,275 (in 2011), in an area of 19.01 km², São Jorge, São Roque do Faial.
Santana parish has the largest number of residents, while Arco de São Jorge is both the smallest, physically, and has the lowest number of residents, while Faial is the largest parish.
Santana is known for the traditional homes constructed with sloping triangular rooftops, and protected with straw. These were mainly rural homes, used by local farmers, during the settlement of the island, with white-painted walls, red doors and windows with blue trim. Most of the surviving buildings are tourist attractions, and maintained (for example, the straw roofs are replace every four to five years).