Rio de Janeiro, or Rio, is the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro and the second-largest city of Brazil. Rio is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere, home to many famous landmarks such as the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain, which was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. In 2016, Rio de Janeiro will become the first South American and Portuguese-speaking nation to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Rio de Janeiro has an estimated population of 6.45 million in 2016.
Rio de Janeiro has an estimated 2016 population of 6.45 million, which ranks 2nd in Brazil. It is also the third largest metro area and agglomeration in South America, and the 6th largest city in the Americas.
City Size and Population Density
The city proper has a population density of 5,377 people per square kilometer, or 13,930 per square mile. The city proper covers a total surface area of 1,221 km2 (486.5 sq mi), while the metro region expands out to 4,539.8 km2 (1,759.6 sq mi). The metro population of Rio de Janeiro is much larger, however, with an estimated 12 million residents in 2016.
Rio de Janeiro Demographics
The Portuguese make up the main population of this bustling city, with more people of Portuguese descent than Brazil’s capital, Lisbon. However, Portuguese citizens are not the only people that fill the street of Rio de Janeiro. Other ethnicities that call this city home include those of Asian, European and African descent. People with African roots are often referred to as Afro-Brazilians among the scholarly community specializing in anthropology outside of Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro History
By the mid-16th century, French settlers called an island just off of Rio de Janeiro their home – but, not for long. A war was waged to expel the French from the land and to claim the property as theirs, in accordance with the Treaty of Tordesillas. The Portuguese population continued to expand in this area, as the French were pushed out of the land.
After Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro was once the official capital of Brazil before it won its independence from Portugal and became its own country. It earned the title (which was taken from the city of Bahia) of being the capital during the year 1763, further allowing the popular city to expand beyond its original size. During this city’s early years, the main source of income for many settlers was sugar plantation and fishing. During the gold and diamond rush of the 18th century, the city’s population swelled when people heard of the discovery of the valuable commodities which were available in the neighboring town of Minas Gerais.
During the early 18th century, diamond and gold mining enticed European settlers to migrate into the city, bringing the population up to a whopping 24,000 by 1749. By the early 19th century, the Royal Family of Portugal fled their homeland in an attempt to escape Napoleon’s presence in Portugal. They settled in Rio de Janeiro, bringing along with them their servants and noblemen. Unfortunately, many lower class citizens within the community were ousted from their homes in order to make room for the royalty’s entourage.
Rio de Janeiro Population Growth
Today, this grand city continues its prosperous growth rate. Even after Rio de Janeiro lost its title of being the capital of Brazil in 1960, its population still swelled to an additional seven million people within sixty years of the announcement. Rio de Janeiro is still home to millions of citizens – with 3.9 million people added to the population census in 1950.
The city is home to more civilians than its neighboring suburban communities and continues its growth even today. In a 2010 population estimate by Demographia, Rio de Janeiro was the home of more than 11.6 million residents. Estimated projections for 2025 show the population will grow to at least 13.1 million people. By 2030, that number is projected to reach over 13.6 million citizens. Luckily, expansive amounts of land make additional urban development strategies a possible option for this swelling city.