The population of Venezuela in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 25,699,000, which placed it as number 41 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 4% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 34% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 101 males for every 100 females in the country in 2003. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2000–2005 is 1.86%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 31,189,000. The population density in 2002 was 27 per sq km (71 per sq mi); in the relatively populous northwest, the density is more than twice the national average. Nevertheless, Venezuela remains one of the least densely populated countries in the Western Hemisphere. The Amazon River area (nearly 20% of the total) averages only about 0.3 population per sq km (0.8 per sq mi).
It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 87% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001. The capital city, Caracas, had a population of 3,127,000 in that year. Other large cities include Maracaibo, 1,857,000; Valencia, 1,817,000; Maracay, 1,077,000; and Barquisimeto, 914,000. According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was 2.1%.