Brazil Country Overview
Where is Brazil located? Brazil is a very large country, both in terms of area and population, located in South America. It occupies a full 47% of the continent. On the world time zone map, countries are divided into world time zones based on their time offset from the official world time (also called UTC). Because of its size, Brazil is in 3 of these time zones. Most of the Brazilian population lives in the Brasilia time zone (UTC-3). The famous cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo are also located here. The time is 3 hours behind the world clock. In summer, most parts of this time zone change to daylight saving time, which is 2 hours apart from universal time. The second time zone is called ‘Brasilia time +1’ and is found on some of the Brazilian Atlantic islands. There is no daylight saving time change. The third time zone is called ‘Brasilia time -1’ and here the difference to world time is 4 hours. Daylight saving time is only implemented in some areas.
As of 2023, the latest population of Brazil is 211,715,973, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate||0.67%|
|Birth rate||14.10 births per 1,000 people|
|65 years and above||8.61%|
|Median age||31.10 years|
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)||0.98|
|Population density||24.86 residents per km²|
|50% European, 43% African-European, 6% African descent, 0.4% indigenous people (around 300 ethnic groups)|
|Catholics (Roman Catholic) 80%|
|Human Development Index (HDI)||0.761|
|HDI ranking||79th out of 194|
People in Brazil
Around 210 million people live in Brazil. Brazil has the fifth largest population of all countries in the world. Many Brazilians are descendants of people who came here from Europe, initially mainly from Portugal, but later also from Italy, Germany, Spain, Ukraine or Poland.
8 percent are black. They are descendants of slaves who were brought from Africa until 1888. These Afro-Brazilians mainly live in the northeast of the country. One percent are of Asian origin. Their ancestors came to Brazil in the 19th century mainly from Japan, Korea, Lebanon and Syria.
87 percent of Brazilians live in cities. The cities are growing fast. Poor settlements are forming in the outskirts, initially without electricity or water pipes. The people live in huts and tin houses they have built themselves. These settlements are called favelas in Brazil.
The vast majority of Brazilians live in the east and south of the country. Most of the cities are also located there. In contrast, hardly any people live in the rainforest.
Before the Europeans came, the Indians lived in Brazil. This original population now only includes 0.1 to 0.2 percent. Most live on reservations in the Amazon. The rainforest, however, is threatened by deforestation and companies that look for mineral resources here are destroying the environment, which is the basis of life for the Indians. Many indigenous people are also displaced by the state-planned resettlement of the many landless farm workers. That is why they often move to the cities, where their culture is increasingly lost.
In total there are more than 200 Indian groups in Brazil! The largest indigenous people in Brazil are the Guaraní, who also live in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia. In Brazil they live in the south and south-west. Other larger groups are, for example, the Kaingang, the Ticuna or the Terena.
But there are also indigenous peoples who completely avoid contact with the rest of the world. At least 40, probably more than 70, such “isolated peoples” still exist in Brazil. Some groups consist of only 50 people, others from 50 to a maximum of around 400 people.
The isolated peoples live in remote areas. In this way they protect themselves against diseases such as flu or measles, against which they have no defenses and from which many of them can quickly die. In addition, they can also preserve their old traditions.
- Children: Every woman in Brazil has an average of almost two children, mathematically 1.8. With us, every woman has an average of 1.4 children. Until the 1960s, the population of Brazil grew very rapidly. This has now turned around and the population is getting older.
- Urban and rural areas: 85 percent of Brazilians live in cities, 15 percent in rural areas.
Languages in Brazil
Portuguese is spoken in Brazil. This is because Brazil was a Portuguese colony for a long time. Brazil is the only country in South America where Portuguese is the official language. It is also the largest among the Portuguese-speaking countries and the one with the most speakers.
Almost all Brazilians (97 percent) speak Portuguese as their mother tongue. However, a total of 188 languages are spoken in Brazil! German, Italian and Korean are still spoken as the mother tongue of original immigrants.
Brazilian Portuguese is somewhat different from the Portuguese spoken in Portugal. The pronunciation, the spelling, the grammar and also the vocabulary show differences.
The indigenous peoples partly keep their languages. These include the languages of the Guaraní, Maku, and Tupi languages. They are particularly preserved in the Amazon region, where the influence of Europeans has always been minimal.
In the border area between Brazil and the neighboring Spanish-speaking countries, a kind of mixed language between Spanish and Portuguese is spoken: Portuñol. Since the vocabulary of both languages is 90 percent the same, you can understand Portuñol if you have one of the two languages as your mother tongue. There are no hard and fast rules in Portuñol. You just try to imitate the way the other language is spoken as well as possible.
Religions in Brazil
65 percent of Brazilians are Catholics, 22 percent are Protestants. The majority therefore belong to a Christian church.