Latest data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) shows that the Brazilian population is becoming increasingly concentrated in big cities. Of the country’s over 5,500 municipalities, only 48 have over 500,000 inhabitants, and these are home to 66.5 million Brazilians.
In other words, 31.7 percent of Brazil’s population is currently living in 0.9 percent of the country’s cities. When going slightly deeper, a further 54.2 million people reside in cities of between 100,000 and 500,000 inhabitants, meaning over half of the people are concentrated in 5.8 percent of municipalities.
With elevated levels of unemployment across the country, the IBGE’s hypothesis is that workers are flocking to larger cities in search of more job opportunities.
These figures come from the IBGE’s Population Estimation study, a yearly survey monitoring the populations of Brazil’s states and municipalities.
The data is used by the public and private sectors to map the demand of education, health, and other services.
In absolute terms, the IBGE has shown that the Brazilian population has surpassed the 210 million mark, which makes Brazil the sixth largest country in the world in terms of population.
The estimated total of 210.1 million is a 0.79 percent increase on 2018’s figures, when the IBGE tabulated the Brazilian population at 208.5 million people.
Looking at historical data from IBGE, Brazil’s population has risen 21.9 percent over the last 18 years.
However, the rate of growth is slowing, which, according to economist Marcelo Neri, founder of the Social Politics Center at thinktank Fundação Getúlio Vargas, signals toward the increased ageing of the population.
“On the one hand you’ve got an increased life expectancy, and on the other, a fall in birth rates, largely spontaneous and due to family planning,” he explained.
Brazil’s senior citizen population is set to triple over the next 30 years, according to World Health Organization data. By 2050, the population over 65 will account for almost a third of the entire country.
Not all states grow at the same pace
Analyzing the data from state-level, we see that populations in all 27 Brazilian states increased over the last year, but at significantly varied rates. São Paulo remains by far and away the biggest state in Brazil, but saw its population increase only 0.83 percent since 2018 to a total of 45.9 million.
The northernmost state of Roraima, on the other hand, jumped 5.06 percent to 605,000, yet still remains the country’s smallest in terms of population. This increase has been attributed to the inflow of Venezuelan refugees across the border, fleeing economic hardship in their home country. The population of the state rose by 29,193 in the last 12 months.
The state which saw the smallest increase was Piauí, with 8,696 new inhabitants since 2018, representing a rise of only 0.27 percent.