Araxá is a city and municipality in southwest Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Its estimated population by IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) in 2012 is 95,888 inhabitants and the area of the municipality is 1,283 km², with 345 km² making up the urban perimeter.
The elevation of the city center is 973 meters. The highest point in the municipality is Serrra da Bocaina with 1,359 meters, and the lowest point is Rio Capivara with 910 meters. In 2004 the annual average temperature was 20.98°C. The annual rainfall was 1,905 mm.
- Population in 1970: 35,676
- Population in 1980: 53,404
- Population in 1991: 65,911
- Population in 2000: 78,997 (77,743 lived in the urban area)
- Population in 2010: 93,071
Origin of the name
The town was named after the Indian tribe "Araxas" who lived there at the time it was first discovered and the name means "the place from where the sun is seen first".
Araxá is a statistical micro-region including 10 municipalities: Araxá, Campos Altos, Ibiá, Nova Ponte, Pedrinópolis, Perdizes, Pratinha, Sacramento, Santa Juliana, and Tapira. The population of this micro-region was 171,936 (2000) in an area of 14,145.60 km².
Araxá is served by a good system of federal and state highways that link the municipality to the main economic centers of the country. The highways with access to Araxá are:
- BR 452 - Araxá/Uberlândia/Tupaciguara
- BR 262 - Belo Horizonte/Vitória/Corumbá)
- MG 428 - As far as the border of Minas Gerais - São Paulo
The Ferrovia Centro Atlântica S.A. passes through the city and is limited to cargo transport.
- Belo Horizonte: the state capital is 375 kilometers away
- Brasília: 600 km
- Rio de Janeiro: 848 km
- Uberaba: 108 km
- São Paulo: 549 km 
The economy is based on tourism, services, mining, industry, and some agriculture.
Araxá is famous in Brazil for its spa with medicinal mud and mineral waters. One of Brazil's most emblematic hotels, the Grand Hotel, is the center of attraction. Opened in 1944 by governor Benedito Valadares and President Vargas, the Hotel initiated an era of splendor to Araxa and the inland region of the state and it was the stage for huge social, political and cultural events. The hotel sector has 24 establishments offering 2,708 beds (2004).
One of Brazil's most famous soap operas, "Dona Beja", a mythical character of the city, was filmed here.
In addition to tourism the city has mines of niobium (columbium) used in jet engine components, rocket sub-assemblies, and heat-resisting and combustion equipment. Reserves are about 460 million tons, sufficient to satisfy current world demand for about 500 years. The largest enterprise in this sector is CBMM—Companhia Brasileira de Metallurgia e Mineração.
Araxá is a major producer of phosphate concentrate, essential for the production of fertilizers. The most important company in this sector is Vale Fertilizantes S.A., with the largest Single Super Phosphate production plant in Brazil.
The GDP in Brazilian Reais was 1,439,547 billion in 2005. This was generated almost evenly by services and industry. In 2005 there were 2,865 workers in industry, 1,478 in construction, 7,636 in commerce, 1,296 in restaurants and hotels, and 2,691 in public administration. There were 405 rural properties on 68,000 hectares. Around 1,500 persons were employed in agriculture. There were 65,000 head of cattle, most of which was for dairy production. The municipality produced approximately 500,000 liters a day (2004). There is also a large production of poultry and swine. There were 22 producers of cachaça, a Brazilian rum, in 2004. The main crops are coffee, corn, and soybeans.
Health and education
In the health sector there were 17 health clinics and 4 hospitals with 244 beds (2005). There were 6 clinical analysis labs and 34 pharmacies. Two of the hospitals are private and 2 are philanthropic. Educational needs of 10,500 students were met by 33 primary schools, 11 middle schoos, and 40 pre-primary schools. In higher education there were 2 schools: Centro Universitário Planalto de Araxá and UNIT – Universidade do Triângulo Mineiro.
There was one doctor for every 598 inhabitants (2004) and 3.5 hospital beds for every 1,000 inhabitants. The infant mortality rate was 8.70 deaths for every 1,000 live births (2004), well below the state and national average. In 2000 the number was 20.80.
- Municipal Human Development Index: 0.799 (2000)
- State ranking: 40 out of 853 municipalities as of 2000
- National ranking: 579 out of 5,138 municipalities as of 2000
- Literacy rate: 93%
- Life expectancy: 70 (average of males and females)
In 2000 the per capita monthly income of R$337.00 was above the state and national average of R$276.00 and R$297.00 respectively.
The highest ranking municipality in Minas Gerais in 2000 was Poços de Caldas with 0.841, while the lowest was Setubinha with 0.568. Nationally the highest was São Caetano do Sul in São Paulo with 0.919, while the lowest was Setubinha. In more recent statistics (considering 5,507 municipalities) Manari in the state of Pernambuco has the lowest rating in the country—0,467—putting it in last place.
- Prefeitura de Araxá
- Prefeitura municipal de Araxá
- Prefeitura municipal de Araxá