Population in Urban Area, now
- World: 21st
- South America: 3rd
- Brazil: 2nd
Population in City Area, 2019-09-05
- World: 35th
- South America: 5th
- Brazil: 2nd
Rio de Janeiro Urban Area Population Graph
Rio de Janeiro Population Review
Rio is the second-most populated municipality in Brazil, after Sao Paulo. It is home to 13.4 million people in the urban area and around 6 million in the city area, making it the sixth-most populated city throughout the Americas.
Since 1950, the population of Rio has grown by over 10 million people, and continues to grow, with predictions it will reach 14.8 million residents by 2035. Founded in 1565 by the Portuguese, Rio is also the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
A World Heritage Site
A part of the city has actually been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on July 1 of 2012. UNESCO has deemed Rio de Janiero a ‘Cultural Landscape’ named “Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea”, the designation recognizes the city’s exceptional urban setting that have shaped Rio; including the highest points of Tijuca National Park’s mountains, right down to the sea. This designation also includes the city’s Botanical Gardens, the Corcovado Mountain—with its famous statue of Christ—and the hills surrounding Guanabara Bay.
A wealthy city
Rio has the second biggest municipal GDP of the entire country of Brazil (and the 30th in the world). Estimated at about $201 billion USD (or R$343 billion), the city’s GDP can mostly be attributed to oil, mining, and telecommunications companies. The city is also home to many universities and institutes and is the second-largest center for research and development in the country. Almost 17% of the national-scientific output could be attributed to Rio de Janeiro in 2005.
Risk of crime
Rio has a high crime rate and violent crimes, such as murder, armed robbery, assault, and kidnapping occur frequently. The level of crime and the increase in crime over the past 3 years are both high. The current homicide rate dropped by 19% in 2019, to about 3,995 murders. However, the rate of police killings has surged and increased by 18%. Foreign visitors to Rio de Janeiro are warned to be on the lookout for opportunistic crimes—such as purse snatching and pickpocketing—and most criminals in Rio are armed.
Brazil’s patriarchal justice system also means that crimes targeting women, including sexual violence, are rarely prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Femicide (homicide that targets women for their gender) is also high in the city, with over 300 women killed annually in the state of Rio.
A tourist mecca
The city of Rio is one of the most visited places in the Southern Hemisphere. Apart from its stunning natural settings, the city also attracts tourists for Carnival, samba, bossa nova, and its famous seaside resort beaches, such as Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Additionally, tourists visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer that sits perched atop the Corcovaco mountains. Named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Christ the Redeemer statue stands at 38 meters tall.
There are, on average, 2.25 million international tourists that visit Rio de Janeiro each year, and there are 1.7 million tourists that come to the city for the city’s famous Carnival alone.
Poverty in Rio
Rio’s favelas have become somewhat famous due to their depiction in the movie City of God. However, the favelas are a stark reminder that one fifth of Rio’s population live in several hundred favelas that are plagued by extreme poverty. The city has attempted to mitigate some of the issues of poverty and disease by offering a cash transfer program to familiar who agree to keep their children vaccinated and in school. Currently, Rio’s poverty rate is reflective of that of Brazil overall, where 18.57% of the population are considered to live in extreme poverty.