Brazil is the smallest big country in the world. Although it is the fifth largest nation on the planet, four times the size of Mexico and more than twice that of India, the Brazil where most Brazilians live, work and play forms only a small fraction of the country's total landmass of 8,509,711 sq. km (3,285,618 sq. miles). One in four people crowd into five metropolitan areas in the southern part of the country.
Together, the southern and southeastern states contain more than 60 percent of Brazil's population yet account for only 16 percent of the country's geographic area. In effect, 98 million Brazilians live in an area slightly smaller than Alaska, while another 66 million populate an area the size of the continental United States minus Texas. What Brazil has is space - enormous regions of vast, empty space.
Insight Guide Brazil, 2000