World Facts

The 10 Most Populated Countries in South America

Brazil is the most populated country in South America, followed by Colombia and Argentina.

South America is a subcontinent (or continent, depending on opinion) located in the southern, western and partly in the northern hemisphere. The continent is the fourth largest continent in the world and is made up of 12 countries: Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, and Ecuador. The continent is also made up of three dependent territories found in the maritime regions of the continent such as the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and French Guiana. It has a total population of 426 million people. These are the ten most populous countries in South America.

10. Uruguay - 3.3 million

#10 Uruguay - 3.3 million

Uruguay is found in the southeastern region of South America. The country has a population of 3.3 million people and the lowest population growth rate of below 1 percent (0.8). About 1.8 million residents live in the metropolitan area of Montevideo, the largest city. Uruguay is the second-smallest country by area in South America, only after Suriname.

9. Paraguay - 7 million

#9 Paraguay - 7 million

Paraguay borders Argentina to the south and Brazil to the east and northeast. It is the ninth most populous country in South America with a population of 7 million people and an annual growth of 1.58 percent. Majority of the people occupy the eastern region of the country near the capital city, Asuncion, which hosts 10 percent of the population. Only 56 percent of the people of Paraguay live in urban areas which is the lowest percentage in South America.

8. Bolivia - 10.5 million

#8 Bolivia - 10.5 million

Bolivia, a landlocked country, is found in the western-central region of South America. It borders Brazil to the east and north and Paraguay to the south. The Andean mountain range covers about one-third of the total land area of Bolivia. The country has a population of 10.5 million people. In the last five decades, the population has tripled by a population growth rate of 2.25 percent annually. About 62.3% of Bolivians live in cities and major towns with the rest of the population in rural areas.

7. Chile - 18 million

#7 Chile - 18 million

Chile is a country found west of the Andes and occupies the long narrow strip bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It has an estimated population of 18 million people. Chile has a steady population growth rate of 1.05 percent which means that the population will continue to increase at a stabilized rate like most South American countries.

6. Ecuador - 16.3 million

#6 Ecuador - 16.3 million

Ecuador is in the northwestern part of South America, bordering Colombia to the north and Peru to the south and east. It is recognized as one of the famous 17 megadiverse countries in the world and has a very diverse population. As of 2017, Ecuador has a population of 16 million people and an annual growth rate of 1.57 percent.

5. Venezuela - 30.6 million

#5 Venezuela - 30.6 million

Venezuela is located on the northern coast of South America and is home to over 30 million people. Most of the population lives in urban areas making Venezuela one of the most urbanized countries in South America. Major urban centers and cities are in the northern part of the country. Only 5 percent of the population occupies the southern region.

4. Peru - 31.2 million

#4 Peru - 31.2 million

Peru occupies the western side of the continent, bordering Ecuador and Colombia to the north and Brazil to the east. It has a population of 31 million people, making it the fourth most populous country in South America. Most of the people, up to 75%, live in urban areas. In recent years, the growth rate has declined from 2.6% to 1.5% between 1950 and the year 2000. Lima, the country’s capital, is home to over 9.8 million residents.

3. Argentina - 43.1 million

#3 Argentina - 43.1 million

Argentina is the third most populous country with a population of 43 million people. The population density of Argentina is 15 persons per square kilometer which is much lower than the world average of 50 persons per square kilometer. The population growth rate stands at 1.03% annually which is among the lowest in South America.

2. Colombia - 48.5 million

#2 Colombia - 48.5 million

Colombia comes second in population in South America with an estimated population of 49 million people. The majority of the Colombian people are young - the country has a high proportion of children below the age of 15. Colombia has an annual population growth rate of 0.9 percent. The highest population density is found in the Andean highlands.

1. Brazil - 204.5 million

#1 Brazil - 204.5 million

Brazil is the most populous country in South America and the fifth most populous in the world with a population of 204 million people. It is also the largest country by the area covered measuring about 8.6 million kilometers squared. Brazil has a very high population growth rate that has surpassed previous projections. However, the population growth is expected to stabilize in the next few years.

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