Rio Grande do Sul (RS) is one of the 26 states that make up the Federative Republic of Brazil. Located in the southernmost part of the country, it has a population of 10.693.929 residents*, or approximately 6% of the total Brazilian population. The State has a total area of 281,730.2 km2 (including Patos Lagoon and Mirim Lake)**.
It presents a differentiated framework regarding social indicators when compared to the other states of the Federation. It stands out by its low infant mortality rate, that is already approaching the number of 10 deaths per thousand inhabitants; one of the longest life expectancies - above 74 years of age; and literacy rate above than 95%. These data place the State in a privileged level in terms of quality of life in the country.
Its economic production is also important, RS contributes about 7% of the national total GDP, ranking fourth in economic production among Brazilian states. Its per capita GDP is approximately 27 thousand reais.
RS has a rich cultural diversity and varied landscape. The State population descends mainly from indigenous peoples, Africans and Europeans. The relief has altitudes that range up to 1,398 m, its subtropical climate is characterized by low temperatures and its vegetation is varied presenting important residual areas of Atlantic Forest and grasslands, that characterize the Campanha Gaúcha plains and Southern Plateau highlands.
* IBGE. Censo Demográfico 2010
** IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística – Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), Resolution 05, dated Oct 10, 2002.