Brazil is the sixth most populous country in the world after China, India, the United States, Indonesia and the Russian Federation. Its poulation is approximately 185 million, and is predominantly young: 62% of Brazilians are under 29 years of age. Brazil's rate of population growth, high throughout the early and mid-20th century, has decreased significantly since 1970, due largely to economic modernisation and a dramatic urbanisation process.

Brazil's average population density is low compared to that of many other countries. Most people live on or near the Atlantic coast of the south-eastern and north-eastern states. Since about 1970 there has been intense migration from the north-east to the south-east, as well as from rural to urban areas. Recently the population flow has also turned towards the less inhabited central-western and northern regions.

Brazil is a racially mixed country in which the majority of people have ancestors in more than one of the three main groups: white Europeans (mostly Portuguese); black Africans (mainly from the west of the continent); and the original indigenous Indian population. In the first half of the 20th century, as a consequence of war and economic pressures, sizeable contingents of immigrants came to Brazil from various parts of western, central and eastern Europe. The first 500 or so immigrants from Japan arrived in Brazil in 1908, to be followed by another quarter of a million over the the next sixty years. It is a little-known fact that today Brazil contains the largest number of people of Japanese ancestry outside Japan, most of whom live in São Paulo state or the south of the country.

For the latest estimate of the population of Brazil, you can visit the website of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).