Brazil is the most populous country in Latin America, as well as one of the most populous in the world. The population of Brazil in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 178,470,000, which placed it as number 5 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 6% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 30% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 97 males for every 100 females in the country in 2003. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2000–2005 is 1.24%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 201,970,000. The population density in 2002 was 20 per sq km (53 per sq mi).
The population is concentrated in the Atlantic coastal region, with the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Minas Gerais containing approximately 41% of the total; the states of Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco, and Ceará have about 23%, and the remaining units about 36%. It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 81% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001, up from 66% in 1980. The capital city, Brasilia, had a population of 1,949,000 in that 2002. Other major metropolitan areas and their estimated populations are as follows: São Paulo, 17,711,000; Rio de Janeiro, 10,556,000; Belo Horizonte, 4,160,000; Porto Alegre, 3,699,000; Recife, 3,307,000; Salvador, 3,180,000; Fortaleza, 3,007,000; Curitiba, 2,519,000; Campinas, 1,857,000; Belém, 1,634,000; Manaus, 1,432,000; Santos, 1,257,000; Goiania, 1,103,000; São Luís, 948,000; and São José dos Campos, 949,000. According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was 1.8%.
The southeast of the country is the most populated area. The majority of people live near the coastal regions. The vast interior of the country is sparsely populated, with the indigenous population somewhat concentrated near the Amazon River Basin.