The City of Santa Maria
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  2. The City of Santa Maria

The City of Santa Maria

The city of Santa Maria is located in the central region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. According to IBGE1/2014 estimates, Santa Maria is a medium-sized city of significant importance in the central region of the state. In terms of population, it is the fifth city in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and by far the largest in the region. Santa Maria has an area of 1,779,556 square kilometres and has around 274,838 inhabitants (IBGE / 2014), 10,284 students enrolled in high school (IBGE/2012), and 29,302 students enrolled in one of the seven formal higher education institutions (ADESM2/2012).

The city has an IDHM3 of 0.784 (UNDP/2010) with a GDP of R$ 4,424,627.00 (IBGE/2011) and GDP per capita of R$ 16,864.00 (IBGE/2011). The available city data show the high importance of the tertiary sector, especially in regards to trade and public services, including the ones provided by The Federal University of Santa Maria and by the military. Santa Maria stands out as a city that provides its people with different services in the following areas: trade, education, health, transport, and defence forces. These services involve more than 80% of the working population of the city, especially the ones related to trade and education. Still, in relation to the socio-economic sector of the city, the primary sector (agriculture) occupies the second place, and the secondary sector, specially developed by small and medium industries which focus on metallurgy, furniture, footwear, agricultural and dairy products, among others, occupies the third place.

Besides, according to IBGE (2010), literacy (96.13%) and education (80.45%) rates rank the city in the 5th place in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Therefore, higher education training has contributed to people’s professional development, which promotes education, better services and life quality in society.