Discover the 5 Most Populated Cities in Brazil

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: July 6, 2023
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Brazil is a beautiful country known for its immense rainforests, pristine coastal regions, and vibrant culture. Everybody knows that a country isn’t just its land but its people, too! Brazil is the 7th largest country by population in the world, just behind Nigeria.

Today, we will take a look at some of the most populated cities in Brazil and learn a little about them. Here’s a picture overview to get started:

Picture graph of the 5 Most Populated Cities in Brazil
As the seventh largest country in the world, Brazil has, of course, some very large cities.

Brazil is one of the largest countries by land mass and population. Spread between its borders are thousands of cities and municipalities, all with unique cultures and geography. Brazil is broken into states (the largest division) and municipalities. Overall, there are 26 states and one federal district in Brazil, with a massive 5,570 municipalities within. Today, we are going to learn a little about some of the most populated cities in Brazil. Let’s get started.

Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and one of the largest in the world.

© Siqueira

Sao Paulo isn’t just the biggest city in Brazil; it’s one of the largest in the world. As it stands, Sao Paulo is the 6th largest city in the entire world and is listed as an alpha global city (of primary importance in the global economic market. It’s the largest city in the Americas, the Western Hemisphere, and the Southern Hemisphere.

Sao Paulo is located in the state of Sao Paulo, the most populous and wealthiest state in Brazil. This region is so wealthy that it alone is wealthier than Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia combined. The region is incredibly diverse and is home to a large population of Italians that migrated during the 19th century. In fact, Sao Paulo has the highest number of Italians anywhere outside of Italy.

Rio de Janeiro

Discover the 5 Most Populated Cities In Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is home to some of the most famous landmarks in the world.


Although Sao Paulo is the largest and wealthiest city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is probably the most famous. This coastal city boasts beautiful geography and some of the most famous scenery anywhere in the world. It is the second largest city in Brazil and is listed as a beta global city. Rio is located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, the country’s third most populous state.

One of the most famous landmarks in the world, Christ the Redeemer, is located in Rio. The image of Jesus Christ standing with outspread arms on Corcovado Mountain is an image that is internationally recognized.


Brasilia is the governing capital of Brazil and the third largest city by population.


Brasilia is the third most populated city in Brazil and is the federal capital of the country (like Washington D.C.). The city is located in the Federal District and doesn’t belong to any official state. Although the city is extremely large, it was only officially founded as the nation’s capital in 1960. The governance move was intended to bring the governing city into a more centralized area, whereas it was located in Rio de Janeiro before.

Brasilia is divided into numbered blocks that are labeled for specified activities and governance (the Hotel Sector, the Banking Sector, etc.). It is extremely well-designed and is known for its artistic intentionality and modern architecture. A large artificial lake was built nearby in order to maintain humidity and provide easy access to water in the remote Brazilian highlands.


Salvador is the oldest city in Brazil and one of the oldest cities in the Americas.


Salvador is the 4th largest city in Brazil and is the capital of the state of Bahia. It is also known as São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, which translates to Holy Savior of the Bay of All Saints. Saviour is located on the Atlantic Ocean, about three-quarters of the way north along the coast. The city is the most populous in the northeast and one of the most cultural places in the country.

Salvador is one of the oldest colonized regions in the Americas and was first reached by Gaspar de Lemos in 1501. It was Brazil’s first capital city and was a major port for sugarcane and the slave trade. Additionally, it is the center of Afro-Brazilian culture in Brazil.


Fortaleza is a beautiful city that is known for its environmental organizations and diverse ecology.


The city of Fortaleza is the 5th most populous in the country of Brazil and is the state capital of Ceara. It’s located in the northeastern portion of Brazil along the Atlantic Ocean. It translates to Fortress in English. The city is the 12th richest and is the second most desired destination city in the country.

Fortaleza has a tropical climate and is home to seven different environmental conservation organizations. The unique ecology of the region is varied and rare, with the last enclave of the Atlantic Forest in an urban zone being protected in the region as well.

Summary of the 5 Most Populated Cities in Brazil

RankingCityState2021 Estimate
1Sao PauloSao Paulo12,396,372
2Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro6,775,561
3BrasiliaFederal District3,094,325

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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