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
Rank Rank* City State/District Population
1 1 São Paulo  São Paulo 11,244,369
2 2 Rio de Janeiro  Rio de Janeiro 6,323,037
3 3 Salvador  Bahia 2,676,606
4 4 Brasília  Distrito Federal 2,562,963
5 5 Fortaleza  Ceará 2,551,806
6 6 Belo Horizonte  Minas Gerais 2,375,444
7 7 Manaus  Amazonas 1,802,525
8 8 Curitiba  Paraná 1,746,896
9 9 Recife  Pernambuco 1,536,934
10 10 Porto Alegre  Rio Grande do Sul 1,409,939
11 11 Belém  Pará 1,392,031
12 12 Goiânia  Goiás 1,301,892
13 1 Guarulhos  São Paulo 1,222,357
14 2 Campinas  São Paulo 1,080,999
15 3 São Gonçalo  Rio de Janeiro 1,016,128
16 13 São Luís  Maranhão 1,011,943
17 14 Maceió  Alagoas 1,002,675
18 4 Duque de Caxias  Rio de Janeiro 872,762
19 5 Nova Iguaçu  Rio de Janeiro 865,089
20 15 Natal  Rio Grande do Norte 806,203
21 16 Teresina  Piauí 802,537
22 17 Campo Grande  Mato Grosso do Sul 787,204
23 6 São Bernardo do Campo  São Paulo 765,204
24 7 Osasco  São Paulo 730,051
25 18 João Pessoa  Paraíba 702,235
26 8 Jaboatão dos Guararapes  Pernambuco 687,688
27 9 Santo André  São Paulo 683,336
28 10 Uberlândia  Minas Gerais 634,345
29 11 Contagem  Minas Gerais 625,393
30 12 São José dos Campos  São Paulo 615,871
31 13 Feira de Santana  Bahia 591,707
32 14 Sorocaba  São Paulo 586,311
33 15 Ribeirão Preto  São Paulo 563,107
34 19 Cuiabá  Mato Grosso 550,562
35 20 Aracaju  Sergipe 544,039
36 16 Juiz de Fora  Minas Gerais 526,706
37 17 Aparecida de Goiânia  Goiás 510,770
38 18 Londrina  Paraná 510,707
39 19 Ananindeua  Pará 505,512
40 20 Belford Roxo  Rio de Janeiro 501,544
41 21 Joinville  Santa Catarina 497,331
42 22 Niterói  Rio de Janeiro 479,384
43 23 São João de Meriti  Rio de Janeiro 469,827
44 24 Betim  Minas Gerais 441,748
45 25 Campos dos Goitacazes  Rio de Janeiro 434,008
46 26 Santos  São Paulo 433,502
47 27 Mauá  São Paulo 427,512
48 28 São José do Rio Preto  São Paulo 425,261
49 29 Vila Velha  Espírito Santo 413,548
50 30 Caxias do Sul  Rio Grande do Sul 410,166
51 21 Florianópolis  Santa Catarina 408,161
52 31 Serra  Espírito Santo 404,688
53 32 Diadema  São Paulo 401,217
54 33 Olinda  Pernambuco 397,268
55 34 Carapicuíba  São Paulo 392,701
56 35 Campina Grande  Paraíba 383,764
57 22 Porto Velho  Rondônia 382,829
58 36 Mogi das Cruzes  São Paulo 375,268
59 37 Piracicaba  São Paulo 368,843
60 23 Macapá  Amapá 366,484
61 38 Cariacica  Espírito Santo 365,859
62 39 Montes Claros  Minas Gerais 363,227
63 40 Bauru  São Paulo 359,429
64 41 Itaquaquecetuba  São Paulo 359,253
65 42 Jundiaí  São Paulo 349,929
66 43 Ribeirão das Neves  Minas Gerais 349,307
67 44 Pelotas  Rio Grande do Sul 345,181
68 45 Anápolis  Goiás 335,960
69 46 Maringá  Paraná 335,511
70 47 Caucaia  Ceará 334,364
71 48 Canoas  Rio Grande do Sul 332,056
72 49 Franca  São Paulo 330,938
73 50 São Vicente  São Paulo 330,795
74 51 Foz do Iguaçu  Paraná 325,137
75 24 Vitória  Espírito Santo 320,156
76 52 Paulista  Pernambuco 319,373
77 53 Vitória da Conquista  Bahia 318,901
78 54 Petrópolis  Rio de Janeiro 315,119
79 55 Ponta Grossa  Paraná 314,681
80 56 Guarujá  São Paulo 308,058
81 25 Rio Branco  Acre 305,954
82 57 Blumenau  Santa Catarina 299,416
83 58 Caruaru  Pernambuco 298,501
84 59 Uberaba  Minas Gerais 296,261
85 60 Cascavel  Paraná 296,254
86 61 Petrolina  Pernambuco 285,339
87 62 Suzano  São Paulo 284,356
88 63 Limeira  São Paulo 281,583
89 64 São José dos Pinhais  Paraná 279,297
90 65 Santarém  Pará 276,665
91 66 Taubaté  São Paulo 273,426
92 67 Barueri  São Paulo 270,173
93 68 Gravataí  Rio Grande do Sul 269,446
94 69 Santa Maria  Rio Grande do Sul 268,969
95 26 Boa Vista  Roraima 266,901
96 70 Governador Valadares  Minas Gerais 263,274
97 71 Volta Redonda  Rio de Janeiro 261,403
98 72 Viamão  Rio Grande do Sul 260,740
99 73 Novo Hamburgo  Rio Grande do Sul 257,746
100 74 Juazeiro do Norte  Ceará 249,829
101 75 Praia Grande  São Paulo 249,551
102 76 Embu  São Paulo 248,722
103 77 Colombo  Paraná 247,268
104 78 Ipatinga  Minas Gerais 244,508
105 79 Magé  Rio de Janeiro 244,334
106 80 Mossoró  Rio Grande do Norte 244,287
107 81 Juazeiro  Bahia 243,896
108 82 Sumaré  São Paulo 241,077
109 83 Várzea Grande  Mato Grosso 240,038
110 84 Imperatriz  Maranhão 236,691
111 85 Santa Luzia  Minas Gerais 231,607
112 86 Itaboraí  Rio de Janeiro 228,996
113 87 Camaçari  Bahia 227,955
114 88 Taboão da Serra  São Paulo 227,343
115 89 Marília  São Paulo 225,938

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.
Rank Metropolitan Area State Population
1 São Paulo  São Paulo 19,889,559 3
2 Rio de Janeiro  Rio de Janeiro 11,902,701 2
3 Belo Horizonte  Minas Gerais 5,397,438 2
4 Porto Alegre  Rio Grande do Sul 4,200,413 3
5 Recife  Pernambuco 4,150,004 2
6 Brasília  Distrito Federal 3,768,902 3
7 Fortaleza  Ceará 3,502,319 2
8 Salvador  Bahia 3,451,549 1
9 Curitiba  Paraná 3,172,357 1
10 Campinas  São Paulo 2,633,523 1
11 Manaus  Amazonas 2,178,405 2
12 Goiânia  Goiás 2,162,097 3
13 Belém  Pará 2,142,185 3
14 Vitória  Espírito Santo 1,624,837 1
15 Baixada Santista  São Paulo 1,606,863 1
16 Natal  Rio Grande do Norte 1,398,123 4
17 São Luís  Maranhão 1,211,270 3
18 Maceió  Alagoas 1,160,393 2
19 João Pessoa  Paraíba 1,146,461 4
20 Teresina  Piauí 1,116,303 2
21 Florianópolis  Santa Catarina 1,012,831 4
22 Campo Grande  Mato Grosso do Sul 991,420 4
23 Cuiabá  Mato Grosso 815,392 2
24 Petrolina and Juazeiro  Pernambuco and  Bahia 812,515 1
25 Aracaju  Sergipe 794,475 3
26 Londrina  Paraná 766,682 3
27 Campina Grande  Paraíba 687.545 3
28 Arapiraca  Alagoas 629,197 4
29 Maringá  Paraná 570,094 2
30 Juazeiro do Norte  Ceará 554,945 2
31 Macapá  Amapá 510,704 2
32 Vale do Aço  Minas Gerais 449,340 2
33 Imperatriz  Maranhão 334,650 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"