Brazil: Largest Cities, by population
CityInhabitants,
in millions
São Paulo (SP)11.45
Rio de Janeiro (RJ)6.21
Brasília (DF)2.82
Fortaleza (CE)2.43
Salvador (BA)2.42
Belo Horizonte (MG)2.32
Manaus (AM)2.06
Curitiba (PR)1.77
Recife (PE)1.49
Goiânia (GO)1.44
Porto Alegre (RS)1.33
Belém (PA)1.30
Guarulhos (SP)1.29
Campinas (SP)1.14
São Luís (MA)1.04
Maceió (AL)0.96
Campo Grande (MS)0.90
São Gonçalo (RJ)0.90
Teresina (PI)0.87
João Pessoa (PB)0.83
  • Region: Brazil
  • Time period: 2022
  • Published: Jun 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 27, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

São Paulo leads with highest population

São Paulo (SP) stands out significantly with a population of 11.45 million, making it the largest city in Brazil by a substantial margin. This figure is nearly double that of the second-largest city, Rio de Janeiro (RJ), which has a population of 6.21 million.

Top three cities exceed 2 million inhabitants

The cities of São Paulo (SP), Rio de Janeiro (RJ), and Brasília (DF) are the only cities in Brazil with populations exceeding 2 million inhabitants, showcasing a significant urban concentration in these areas.

Distinct gap between top two and the rest

A distinct population gap exists between the top two cities and the others, with Rio de Janeiro (RJ) having over 3.39 million fewer inhabitants than São Paulo (SP) and 3.79 million more than the fourth-largest city, Fortaleza (CE).

Southern and Southeastern cities dominate top ranks

Cities from the Southern and Southeastern regions, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte (MG), and Curitiba (PR), dominate the top ranks, indicating these regions' significant urban development.

Capital cities lead in population size

Most of the largest cities by population are state capitals, highlighting the trend of capital cities being major population centers in Brazil.

Population density varies widely

The variation in population sizes, from São Paulo's 11.45 million to João Pessoa's 0.83 million, reflects the wide disparities in urban density and development across the country.

Northeastern cities show significant urban presence

Cities from the Northeast region, such as Salvador (BA), Fortaleza (CE), and Recife (PE), also feature prominently in the list, underscoring the region's substantial urban presence.

Two cities from São Paulo state in top 15

São Paulo state not only has the largest city but also features two more cities in the top 15: Guarulhos (SP) and Campinas (SP), highlighting the state's significant urban concentration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which city in Brazil has the highest population?

The city with the highest population in Brazil is São Paulo with 11.45 million inhabitants.

How many cities in Brazil have a population exceeding 2 million inhabitants?

Only three cities in Brazil have a population exceeding 2 million inhabitants: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasília.

Terms and Definitions

Population refers to the total number of individuals living in a specific area, such as a city, state, or country, at a given time. These individuals can be of different ages, genders, races, or religions.

Urbanization is the process where an increasing number of people migrate from rural areas to urban areas due to several factors, such as better job opportunities and improved lifestyle conditions. This phenomenon increases the population of a city.

Population density refers to the number of people living per unit area. It's usually calculated by dividing the total population of a region by the size of that area.

A metropolitan area, or simply metro, refers to a region that includes a city and the surrounding areas that are highly developed and densely populated. Metropolitan areas usually integrate socially and economically with the main city.

Demographics refers to statistical data related to the population of an area. It describes population characteristics such as age, gender, nationality, socioeconomic status, among others.

Urban areas are regions characterized by high population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. These areas include cities and towns and are developed with infrastructure like buildings, roads, bridges, etc.

Population growth rate is the increase in a population over a specific period of time. It's often expressed as a percentage of the population and calculated annually.

Migration refers to the movement of individuals from one geographical area to another. This movement often occurs due to factors like economic reasons, social factors, political instabilities, or environmental causes. In urban contexts, people usually migrate from rural areas to cities.
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