The population of Brazil on 9 June 2016 was 206,003,808 people.

Brazil’s population is growing at a rate of 0.8% per year, so it is likely that Brazil’s population will reach 207 million by the beginning of 2017.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, the largest country in South America, and the second largest country in the Americas (after the United States).

In August 2016 Rio de Janeiro in Brazil hosted the Olympic games for the first time. The Games took place during a period of concern about the Zika virus. The Brazilian government urged women to delay pregnancies and there is speculation that this could cause an alarming drop in the birth rate in Brazil.

How many people live in Brazil today?

The latest up to date population estimates can be found by visiting the official government of Brazil population clock, which is constantly updating.

The figures are estimated, based on extrapolations from the 2010 Brazilian census, which indicated that the Brazil population in 2008 was 190.8 million people.

Population of Brazil 2016 chart

The population of Brazil has been steadily growing since records were first kept. This chart shows population growth since the first census was taken in 1872. The underlying population data used to create this chart can be found in the table at the end of this article.

Ethnic groups in Brazil

Brazil is an ethnically diverse country, descended from three main populations:

  • Indigenous Brazilian peoples
  • European (mainly Portuguese) settlers
  • Sub-Saharan Africans, sent to Brazil as slaves

Over time the ethnic groups have mixed, leading to an ethnically diverse society.

Brazilian census data classifies people as one of five main groups. They are:

  • Branco (white)
  • Pardo (brown)
  • Preto (black)
  • Amaerlo (yellow)
  • Indigenous

The 2010 census reported the following breakdown:

Branco (white)91,051,646
Pardo (brown)82,277,333
Preto (black)14,517,961
Amarelos (yellow)2,024,288
Indigenous817,963

Racial identity is more fluid in Brazil than in many countries of the world. People often define their race based on physical appearance rather than genetic heritage, and people who are more successful are more likely to be considered (or to consider themselves) white.

Mixed into these groupings are substantial Japanese-Brazilian (largely in the São Paulo region) and Jewish (largely based in the Rio de Janeiro area) communities.

The indigenous people of Brazil are, as you would expect for such a geographically large country, from many distinct ethnic groups. Povos Indigenas no Brasil estimates that there are 246 different indigenous Brazilian peoples.

Around 100 indigenous Brazilian tribes are still isolated and uncontacted.

Religions in Brazil

Christianity is the largest religion in Brazil. According to the 2010 census, 86.8% of Brazilians are Christian.

Roman Catholic64.6%
Protestant22.2%
No religion8%
Spiritism2%
Other religions3.2%

Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian grouping within Brazil – 64.6% of Brazilians are Catholic, and Brazil has the largest single Roman Catholic population in the world today.

Another 22.2% are Protestants, largely Evangelical and Pentecostal. Protestantism, particularly Evangelicalism, is growing rapidly while the proportion of Roman Catholics is falling.

The other significant groupings are those with no religion (8%) and those who practise Spiritism (2%).

A further 3.2% practice other religions, including small Buddhist, Jewish and Islamic populations.

Languages in Brazil

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, and is spoken by almost everyone in the country.

Brazil is the only country in South America to have Portuguese as its official language. Over time, Brazilian Portuguese has diverged slightly from European Portuguese – in much the same way that American English has diverged from European English.

In addition to Portuguese at least a further 200 indigenous languages are spoken in Brazil today. They are all spoken by relatively small communities, however.

The most widely spoken indigenous language in Brazil is Kaiwa Guarani which has around 15,000 native speakers. Most are in the Southern Brazilian province of Mato Grosso do Sul. A few hundred additional speakers are across the border in Northern Argentina.

There are also substantial numbers of Japanese speakers (around 380,000), Spanish speakers (around 480,000) and Korean speakers (around 37,000) in Brazil.

Education and literacy rate

Brazil has a comprehensive and well funded state education system. The constitution of Brazil guarantees that a proportion of state taxes (25%) and federal taxes (18%) is set aside each year for education funding.

The administration of education in Brazil is decentralised, being mostly run by individual states and municipalities.

Education is compulsory for all children aged from 6-14 years.

There are more than 2,400 universities in Brazil. Around ten percent of Brazilian universities are publicly funded; the remaining 90% are private universities or run by charitable organisations.

Access to university education in Brazil is limited – only 11% of the working age population has a degree. The university sector has expanded rapidly in recent years, however, from just under 600,000 students in 1997 to 1.6 million students in 2010. Most of this growth has been in the private university sector.

The University of São Paulo is regarded as the best university in Brazil. According to the Times (UK) it is ranked between 201st and 250th in the world.

Literacy rate

The literacy rate in Brazil (2015 UN estimate) is 92.6%. The literacy rate for women (92.9%) is slightly higher than for men (92.2%).

Literacy rate (total)92.6%
Literacy rate (male)92.2%
Literacy rate (female)92.9%

Literacy rates for younger Brazilians are higher, at 98.9% for people aged 15-24 years. For males aged 15-24 the literacy rate is 98.6% and for females it is 99.2%.

Literacy rate (total, 15-24)98.9%
Literacy rate (male, 15-24)98.6%
Literacy rate (female, 15-24)99.2%

Altho gh lower than the Brazilian government would like, the Brazilian literacy rate has improved dramatically over the past 50 years. In 1960 the literacy rate was around 60%.

Literacy rates vary widely across Brazil, however. The 2010 census indicated that rates ranged from 97% in Distrito Federal to 77% in Alagoas.

Population density in Brazil

Brazil is one of the least densely populated countries in the world.

Population density in Brazil is 23.8 people per square kilometer or 62 people per square mile.

This makes Brazil the 192nd most densely populated country in the world.

The majority of the Brazilian population is located in Brazil’s eastern, coastal states. As a result, it’s north-western, interior, states are much less densely populated.

The most densely populated states in Brazil are the Distrito Federal (493.5 people per square km) and Rio de Janeiro (376.0 people per square km).

The least densely populated states are Roraima (2.2 people per square km) and Amazons (2.5 people per square km). These two states are about as densely populated as Mongolia.

Largest cities in Brazil

The population of São Paulo is 12,038,175 (2016 estimate). This makes São Paulo the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in South America, the largest city in the Americas and the 11th largest city in the world today.

The next largest city is Rio de Janeiro, with a population of 6,453,682.

Brasília, the capital city, is the fourth largest city in Brazil. Although Brasília was only founded in 1960, today it is home to 2,852,372 people.

Here is a list of the ten largest cities in Brazil.

City namePopulation
São Paulo 11,895,893
Rio de Janeiro6,453,682
Salvador2,902,927
Brasília 2,852,372
Fortaleza2,571,896
Belo Horizonte2,491,109
Manaus2,020,301
Curitiba1,864,416
Recife1,608,488
Porto Alegre1,472,482

Other Brazilian demographic data

Unless otherwise stated, data in this section is from the CIA Factbook, and dated 2015.

Sex ratio

The sex ratio at birth in Brazil is 1.05 male(s) to every female. The overall sex ratio is 0.97 male(s) to every female.

Sex ratio at birth1.05 male(s) / female
Sex ratio across population0.97 male(s) / female

Life expectancy

Life expectancy in Brazil at birth is 73.53 years. For males, life expectancy is 69.99 years and for females it is 77.25 years.

Overall life expectancy73.53 years
Male life expectancy69.99 years
Female life expectancy77.25 years

Median age

The median age in Brazil is 31.1 years. For males it is 30.3 years and for females it is 31.9 years.

Median Age31.1 years
Male Median Age30.3 years
Female Median Age31.9 years

Birth and death rate

Brazil’s birth rate is 14.46 births / 1,000 population.

Birth Rate14.46 births per 1,000 population
Death Rate6.58 deaths per 1,000 population

Its death rate is 6.58 deaths / 1,000 people.

Fertility rate

Fertility rate in Brazil is 1.77 children per woman.

Fertility rate: Brazil1.77 children / woman
Fertility rate: replacement level2.33 children / woman
Fertility rate: USA1.88 children / woman

This relatively low fertility rate is causing some concern because it is below the replacement rate of 2.33 children per woman and lower than the fertility rate in the United States (1.88 children per woman).

Brazil population pyramid

Here is the latest (2016) Brazil population pyramid.

Brazil population pyramid

It demonstrates that Brazil has a comparatively young population.

Brazil population by year table

This table details the population growth of Brazil, with an entry for every year in which a census took place in Brazil.

The first census was held in 1872 and censuses have been held roughly every ten years since then.

The table also includes population data for 2016, based on the official Brazilian population clock on 9 June 2016.

YearPopulationIncrease% increase
18729,930,478n/an/a
189014,333,9154,403,43744.34
190017,438,4343,104,51921.65
192030,635,60513,197,17175.67
194041,236,31510,600,71034.60
195051,944,39710,708,08225.96
196070,119,07118,174,67434.98
197093,139,03723,019,96632.82
1980119,070,86525,931,82827.84
1991146,917,45927,846,59423.38
1996157,079,57310,162,1146.91
2000169,544,44312,464,8707.93
2010192,755,79923,211,35613.69
2016206,003,80813,248,0096.87