South America Cities by Population 2023

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Although among the nations of South America, Buenos Aires in Argentina tops the list of most populous cities with its thirteen million residents, it is Brazil that features most heavily, with a total of nine cities in the top twenty. These include Sao Paulo, with a population of ten million, Rio de Janeiro (six million) and Salvador (2.7 million).

However, apart from the prevalence of Brazil, there is a good amount of diversity among the largest South American cities, with countries ranging from Peru and Colombia to Chile and Venezuela among the top ten – all have between three and seven million residents.

Brazil continues to dominate the mid-sized cities, such as Osasco (677,856), Teresina (744,512) and Sao Luis (917,237), although Argentina and Venezuela also feature quite heavily. There are certainly popular and well-known cities with relatively small populations – Valencia in Venezuela has 1.3 million residents, La Paz in Bolivia has a population of 812,799 and Argentina's La Plata has a population of 694,167.

Given its size, South America also has many much smaller cities with populations of under a quarter of a million. These include San Bernardo in Chile (249,858), Portoviejo in Ecuador (170,326) and Puno in Peru (116,552). The smallest city in South America is Tumaco in Colombia, with just 86,713 residents.

South America Cities by Population 2023