Last week, the Brazilian government statistics agency, IBGE, announced findings from the 2010 census, showing demographic shifts in neighborhoods of cities throughout the country. In Rio de Janeiro, the trends were clear: with skyrocketing real estate prices, particularly in the Zona Sul and traditionally wealthy neighborhoods, as well as limited space downtown, more and more people are moving to the Zona Oeste, including both the nouveau riche areas of Barra and Recreio as well as the working class suburbs of Jacarepaguá and Campo Grande.
Housing prices in Rio are on the rise, especially in the Zona Sul; in Leblon, for example, apartment prices have quadrupled in the past year. So with more space and lower prices, more people have been flocking to the Zona Oeste, and its population rose 150 percent in 10 years with 278,000 new inhabitants. Campo Grande is actually now the largest neighborhood in the city with nearly 330,000 inhabitants, and ten of the city's largest neighborhoods are now in the Zona Oeste, including Bangu, Santa Cruz, Realengo, Jacarepaguá, Barra da Tijuca, and Guaratiba. Recreio's population increased 110 percent in 10 years, and other neighborhoods nearby grew above 100 percent as well. Though the population increased, experts have noted that infrastructure, public transportation, and sanitation have not kept up with the pace of new inhabitants.
Graphic: Estadão (click the image or link and roll over map for neighborhood names and stats)
Meanwhile, in the same period, the Zona Sul's population decreased. The neighborhoods with the largest decreases were Humaita (-12.5 percent), Ipanema (-8.7 percent), Gávea (-8.4 percent), Jardim Botânico (-7.9 percent), and Flamengo (-6 percent), and Laranjeiras, Leblon, and Copacabana also saw decreases. Just a few Zona Sul neighborhoods grew in the past ten years including Lagoa, Catete, and Botafogo. Plus, Copacabana is now the neighborhood with the highest concentration of senior citizens in the entire country.
Despite a rise in salaries, a reduction in unemployment, and the expansion of the middle class, some of the city's favelas grew at a higher average rate than the rest of the city. Rocinha grew the most -- 23 percent in the last decade -- and now has an estimated 69,300 inhabitants. Maré, considered a neighborhood, grew 14 percent, and now has 129,700 inhabitants, and the Complexo do Alemão favela grew 6.3 percent, and now has nearly 70,000 inhabitants. (Interestingly, Cidade de Deus, one of the largest favelas in the high-growth area of Zona Oeste, saw a population decline of 4 percent). But another sign of development did show in favela populations: fertility rates are decreasing. Another new, but more limited phenomenon in the favelas in the Zona Oeste are all out destruction: as the city makes way for World Cup and Olympics venues, a few favelas are being razed to the ground.
For more interactive census information, check out the sectors map from IBGE. You can see demographic changes by neighborhood all over Brazil (mainly by age and gender).