List of largest cities in Brazil

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Population distribution in Brazil.

Brazil has a relatively high reported level of urbanization, with 81 out of every 100 Brazilians living in cities. The criteria used by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) in determining whether households are urban or rural, however, is based on political divisions, not on the built environment.

A town is any seat of a district (the lowest political division); a city is the seat of a municipality. Nowadays, the country has more than 5,564 municipalities.[1] About 81.3% of Brazilians live in an urban area.[2]

State capitals are usually also the largest city in their respective state, exceptions being Vitória in Espírito Santo, and Joinville which is the largest city in Santa Catarina state surpassing the capital city Florianópolis; there are also non-capital metropolitan areas in São Paulo (Campinas, Santos, Paraíba Valley[citation needed]), Minas Gerais (Vale do Aço), Bahia (Feira de Santana)[citation needed], Rio Grande do Sul (Sinos Valley)[citation needed] and Santa Catarina (Joinville & Itajaí Valley).

Most of the non-capital large cities in Brazil are in the states of São Paulo (25), Rio de Janeiro (9), Minas Gerais (8), Rio Grande do Sul (7), Paraná (6) and Pernambuco (5).

Some of the main Brazilian cities are planned cities; the most famous of these is the capital city, Brasília, which represents the Modernist school of architecture and urbanism. Belo Horizonte and Goiania are also very large planned cities in Brazil.

Top 115 most populous cities and state capitals[edit]

This list here of the 115 most populous cities is based on the population of the municipality where the city is located, rather than its metropolitan area.

IBGE estimates of 2010[3]
State capitals are in bold. Second Rank* is by capitals and non-capitals. Palmas is the only state capital not listed.
1 – São Paulo
3 – Salvador
4 – Brasília
5 – Fortaleza
7 – Manaus
8 – Curitiba
9 – Recife
10 – Porto Alegre
11 – Belém
12 – Goiânia
13 – São Luís
14 – Maceió
15 – Natal
16 – Teresina
17 – Campo Grande
18 – João Pessoa
20 – Aracaju
RankRank*CityState/DistrictPopulation
11São Paulo São Paulo11,244,369
22Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro6,323,037
33Salvador Bahia2,676,606
44Brasília Distrito Federal2,562,963
55Fortaleza Ceará2,551,806
66Belo Horizonte Minas Gerais2,375,444
77Manaus Amazonas1,802,525
88Curitiba Paraná1,746,896
99Recife Pernambuco1,536,934
1010Porto Alegre Rio Grande do Sul1,409,939
1111Belém Pará1,392,031
1212Goiânia Goiás1,301,892
131Guarulhos São Paulo1,222,357
142Campinas São Paulo1,080,999
153São Gonçalo Rio de Janeiro1,016,128
1613São Luís Maranhão1,011,943
1714Maceió Alagoas1,002,675
184Duque de Caxias Rio de Janeiro872,762
195Nova Iguaçu Rio de Janeiro865,089
2015Natal Rio Grande do Norte806,203
2116Teresina Piauí802,537
2217Campo Grande Mato Grosso do Sul787,204
236São Bernardo do Campo São Paulo765,204
247Osasco São Paulo730,051
2518João Pessoa Paraíba702,235
268Jaboatão dos Guararapes Pernambuco687,688
279Santo André São Paulo683,336
2810Uberlândia Minas Gerais634,345
2911Contagem Minas Gerais625,393
3012São José dos Campos São Paulo615,871
3113Feira de Santana Bahia591,707
3214Sorocaba São Paulo586,311
3315Ribeirão Preto São Paulo563,107
3419Cuiabá Mato Grosso550,562
3520Aracaju Sergipe544,039
3616Juiz de Fora Minas Gerais526,706
3717Aparecida de Goiânia Goiás510,770
3818Londrina Paraná510,707
3919Ananindeua Pará505,512
4020Belford Roxo Rio de Janeiro501,544
4121Joinville Santa Catarina497,331
4222Niterói Rio de Janeiro479,384
4323São João de Meriti Rio de Janeiro469,827
4424Betim Minas Gerais441,748
4525Campos dos Goitacazes Rio de Janeiro434,008
4626Santos São Paulo433,502
4727Mauá São Paulo427,512
4828São José do Rio Preto São Paulo425,261
4929Vila Velha Espírito Santo413,548
5030Caxias do Sul Rio Grande do Sul410,166
5121Florianópolis Santa Catarina408,161
5231Serra Espírito Santo404,688
5332Diadema São Paulo401,217
5433Olinda Pernambuco397,268
5534Carapicuíba São Paulo392,701
5635Campina Grande Paraíba383,764
5722Porto Velho Rondônia382,829
5836Mogi das Cruzes São Paulo375,268
5937Piracicaba São Paulo368,843
6023Macapá Amapá366,484
6138Cariacica Espírito Santo365,859
6239Montes Claros Minas Gerais363,227
6340Bauru São Paulo359,429
6441Itaquaquecetuba São Paulo359,253
6542Jundiaí São Paulo349,929
6643Ribeirão das Neves Minas Gerais349,307
6744Pelotas Rio Grande do Sul345,181
6845Anápolis Goiás335,960
6946Maringá Paraná335,511
7047Caucaia Ceará334,364
7148Canoas Rio Grande do Sul332,056
7249Franca São Paulo330,938
7350São Vicente São Paulo330,795
7451Foz do Iguaçu Paraná325,137
7524Vitória Espírito Santo320,156
7652Paulista Pernambuco319,373
7753Vitória da Conquista Bahia318,901
7854Petrópolis Rio de Janeiro315,119
7955Ponta Grossa Paraná314,681
8056Guarujá São Paulo308,058
8125Rio Branco Acre305,954
8257Blumenau Santa Catarina299,416
8358Caruaru Pernambuco298,501
8459Uberaba Minas Gerais296,261
8560Cascavel Paraná296,254
8661Petrolina Pernambuco285,339
8762Suzano São Paulo284,356
8863Limeira São Paulo281,583
8964São José dos Pinhais Paraná279,297
9065Santarém Pará276,665
9166Taubaté São Paulo273,426
9267Barueri São Paulo270,173
9368Gravataí Rio Grande do Sul269,446
9469Santa Maria Rio Grande do Sul268,969
9526Boa Vista Roraima266,901
9670Governador Valadares Minas Gerais263,274
9771Volta Redonda Rio de Janeiro261,403
9872Viamão Rio Grande do Sul260,740
9973Novo Hamburgo Rio Grande do Sul257,746
10074Juazeiro do Norte Ceará249,829
10175Praia Grande São Paulo249,551
10276Embu São Paulo248,722
10377Colombo Paraná247,268
10478Ipatinga Minas Gerais244,508
10579Magé Rio de Janeiro244,334
10680Mossoró Rio Grande do Norte244,287
10781Juazeiro Bahia243,896
10882Sumaré São Paulo241,077
10983Várzea Grande Mato Grosso240,038
11084Imperatriz Maranhão236,691
11185Santa Luzia Minas Gerais231,607
11286Itaboraí Rio de Janeiro228,996
11387Camaçari Bahia227,955
11488Taboão da Serra São Paulo227,343
11589Marília São Paulo225,938

Brazil's population, as recorded by the 2008 National Household Survey, was approximately 190 million inhabitants (22.31 inhabitants per square kilometer), with a proportion of men and women of 0,95:1 and 83.75% of the population defined as urban. The population is heavily concentrated in the Southeast (79.8 million) and Northeast (53.5 million), while the two wider regions, the Midwest and North, which form 64.12% of Brazil, have a total of just 29.1 million inhabitants. Brazil's population increased significantly between 1940 and 1970, due to a decline in mortality, although the birth rate has also declined slightly in the past period. In the 1940s the rate of annual population growth was 2.4%, rising to 3.0% in 1950 and remaining at 2.9% in 1960, life expectancy rose from 44 to 54 years and 72, 6 years in 2007. The rate of population increase has been declining since 1960 of 3.04% per annum between 1950–1960 to 1.05% in 2008 and expected to drop to a negative value of −0.29% in 2050, thus completing demographic transition. The major metropolitan areas of Brazil are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte – all in the Southeast – 19.5, 11.5 and 5.1 million inhabitants respectively. Almost all capitals are the largest cities in their states except Vitória, capital of Espirito Santo, and Florianópolis, the capital of Santa Catarina. There are also non-capital metropolitan areas in the states of São Paulo (Campinas, Santos and Paraíba Valley), Minas Gerais (Steel Valley), Rio Grande do Sul (Sinos River Valley), Santa Catarina (North/Northeast) and (Itajaí River Valley) and Ceara (Juazeiro do Norte - Cariri Metropolitan Region).

Largest metropolitan areas[edit]

as of 2009, IBGE officially recognizes 16 major Metropolitan Regions (Região Metropolitana; Metropolitan Region in English), where approximately 32% of the Brazilian population (55 million people out of 180 million) live. These RMs are responsible for approximately half of the Brazilian GDP and more than 70% of the Brazilian annual industrial production.

IBGE estimatives of 2007, 2008 and 2009[3]
Metropolitan areas of state capitals are in bold.
RankMetropolitan AreaStatePopulation
1São Paulo São Paulo19,889,559 3
2Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro11,902,701 2
3Belo Horizonte Minas Gerais5,397,438 2
4Porto Alegre Rio Grande do Sul4,200,413 3
5Recife Pernambuco4,150,004 2
6Brasília Distrito Federal3,768,902 3
7Fortaleza Ceará3,502,319 2
8Salvador Bahia3,451,549 1
9Curitiba Paraná3,172,357 1
10Campinas São Paulo2,633,523 1
11Manaus Amazonas2,178,405 2
12Goiânia Goiás2,162,097 3
13Belém Pará2,142,185 3
14Vitória Espírito Santo1,624,837 1
15Baixada Santista São Paulo1,606,863 1
16Natal Rio Grande do Norte1,398,123 4
17São Luís Maranhão1,211,270 3
18Maceió Alagoas1,160,393 2
19João Pessoa Paraíba1,146,461 4
20Teresina Piauí1,116,303 2
21Florianópolis Santa Catarina1,012,831 4
22Campo Grande Mato Grosso do Sul991,420 4
23Cuiabá Mato Grosso815,392 2
24Petrolina and Juazeiro Pernambuco and  Bahia812,515 1
25Aracaju Sergipe794,475 3
26Londrina Paraná766,682 3
27Campina Grande Paraíba687.545 3
28Arapiraca Alagoas629,197 4
29Maringá Paraná570,094 2
30Juazeiro do Norte Ceará554,945 2
31Macapá Amapá510,704 2
32Vale do Aço Minas Gerais449,340 2
33Imperatriz Maranhão334,650 2


1 Data of 2007.
2 Data of 2008.
3 Data of 2009.
4 Data of 2010

12 Largest Cities Outside State Capital Metro areas[edit]

These are the fastest growing regions in Brazil throughout 2025.

Their metro areas expect double digit growth for the next decades.

The main city population does not reflect the metro area, which could be more than double the city population.

1 - Campinas (SP) Pop: 1.098.630

2 - São José dos Campos (SP) Pop: 643.603

3 - Ribeirão Preto (SP) Pop: 619.742

4 - Uberlândia (MG) Pop: 619.536

5 - Sorocaba (SP) Pop: 600.692

6 - Feira de Santana (BA) Pop: 568.099

7 - Joinville (SC) Pop: 526.338

8 - Juiz de Fora (MG) Pop: 525.225

9 - Londrina (PR) Pop: 515.707

10 - Campos dos Goytacazes (RJ) Pop: 472.300

11 - Caxias do Sul (RS) Pop: 446.911

12 - São José do Rio Preto (SP) Pop: 415.769

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Territorial units of the municipality level" (in Portuguese). Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b "Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics". 2008. Retrieved 2007-06-27. "@Cidades"