Latest official estimates put the 2016 population of São Paulo (the city)  at 12,038,175. The population of São Paulo (the state) is 44,396,485 (2014 data).

This makes São Paulo the largest city in Brazil, South America, the Americas, and even the entire Southern Hemisphere. São Paulo is also the 11th largest city proper in the world.

The population of the wider São Paulo metropolitan area is 21,090,791, making it the largest metropolitan area in Brazil, South America and the Southern Hemisphere. São Paulo is however only the second or third largest metropolitan area in the Americas, after Mexico City and, depending on how its population is counted, New York City.

Additionally, the population of the São Paulo urban area, which includes a number of smaller commuter towns nearby has been estimated by the Brazilian government to be 32.2 million people. This would make São Paulo the second largest urban area in the world, after the Tokyo-Yokohama urban area (37.7 million people).

São Paulo State Population

The population of São Paulo state is, based on 2014 data from the Brazilian government, 44,396,485. This makes São Paulo the largest state in Brazil.

São Paulo State is so populous that it is home to more people than many countries. In fact, the only country in South America (outside of Brazil) with a higher population than São Paulo is Columbia. Argentina, with its population of 43 million is almost as large as São Paulo.

The State of São Paulo is also the most populous non-national region (state) in the entire Americas, whether North, Central or South America.

São Paulo Population Growth

São Paulo is a rapidly growing city. When the 2010 IBGE census was carried out, the population of São Paulo was 10.7 million people. This had increased to 12.0 million people by 2016.

However population growth in São Paulo today could be considered slow in comparison to its growth during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Between 1950 and 1980, São Paulo’s population almost quadrupled from 2.2 million in 1952 to 8.5 million in 1980.

São Paulo overtook Rio de Janeiro as the largest city in Brazil in 1980.

Population  Year
1900 239,820
1920 579,033
1940 1,326,261
1950 2,199,096
1960 3,781,446
1970 5,924,615
1980 8,493,226
1990 9,646,185
2000 10,434,252
2010 11,253,503

São Paulo Population Density

Based on 2010 population data the population density of São Paulo 7,398 people per km².

São Paulo Ethnicity

São Paulo is one of the most cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse cities in Brazil.

Although Brazil is widely thought of as a country with Portuguese heritage, people with Italian ancestry make up the largest single group of people in São Paulo.

There are thought to be between 5 and 7 million people of Italian descent in São Paulo – that’s around half of the city’s population. In fact, there are more people with Italian ancestry in São Paulo than there are in Rome.

São Paulo is also home to large numbers of people of Portuguese (3 million people) and African descent (1.7 million people). It is also home to the largest populations of Arabic (1 million) and Japanese (665,000) people in Brazil.

When it comes to ethnicity, the largest single ethnic group in São Paulo is White (60.6%) followed by Pardo, which can be translated as multiracial (30.5%).

White60.6%
Pardo30.5%
Black6.5%
Asian2.2%
Amerindian0.2%

Other ethnic groups in São Paulo are Black (6.5%), Asian (2.2%) and Amerindian (0.2%).

São Paulo Religion

According to the 2010 IG PE census, Christianity is the largest religious group in São Paulo. Eight in 10 people in the city reported in the census that they were Christian.

Catholic58.2%
Protestant22.11%
No religion9.38%
Spiritist4.73%

Nearly 6 in 10 people (58.2%) reported that they were Catholic and nearly a quarter of people (22.11%) reported that they were Protestant.

Other religious groups with more than 1% of population are no religion (9.38%) and Spiritist (4.73%).

The next largest groups are Buddhist (0.67%), Umbanda and Candomblé (0.62%) and Jewish (0.39%).