St. Petersburg’s permanent population accounts for 4.6 million people. The city has an area of 606 sq. km., including the immediate suburbs on the lowlands along the Neva River and the Gulf of Finland - 1439 sq. km. The city measures 44 km from north to south and 25 km from east to west. The metropolis is divided into 20 administrative districts.
Almost half a million of students study at 53 state and 47 private institutions of higher education. Academic institutions and the largest universities are seen as the backbone for establishing centres of innovation and technology, and industrial parks as well as the industrial technology transfer centre.
St. Petersburg is the largest scientific and educational centre in Russia; 11 percent of all Russian scientific potential is located there. 14 percent of Russian researchers work in St. Petersburg’s educational and scientific centres. There are 8 percent of Russian students and 13 percent of post graduates. 15 percent of the academic staff in St. Petersburg has attained doctor's degree.
St. Petersburg region is a host for 329 scientific organizations, 49 of them are members of Russian Academy of Sciences and other state Academies, 190 branch scientific organizations, and 12 state scientific centres. Scientific staff in St. Petersburg amounts to 170 000 people, including more than 18 000 PhDs and 5 400 Doctors of Sciences. Total amount of employees working in scientific centres is 300 000.
System of St. Petersburg higher and secondary professional education combines 48 state civil higher education institutions, 18 military higher education institutions, 46 private higher education institutions, and 75 secondary professional educational institutions. There are also 75 institutions for advanced professional education. Number of students is 520 000 and they are taught by 30 000 professors including 12 000 PhDs and 3 700 Doctors of Sciences.
The branch structure of Gross Regional Product (GRP) during the years of reforms is as follows: one quarter of the GRP is produced by industry, one fifth by trade and public catering, one sixth by transport and telecommunication services, and less than one tenth by construction. According to its macroeconomic structure St. Petersburg belongs to the post-industrial type of economies. The structure of the employees by sectors of economy does not differ much from the GRP structure. In the overall economic structure the most notable changes have been a decrease in the share of industry and civil construction (production of commodities) and an increase in the market services sector.
Several science and technology parks including one of the seven national technology parks are being built in St. Petersburg.
There are over 100 000 small enterprises in the city. Small business sector accounts for almost one third of the GRP and employs almost half of the working population. In autumn 2004, City Government approved the Concept of Development and Support of Small Entrepreneurship. Its implementation will create more small businesses in the manufacturing and innovative sectors. In 2004, the amount of foreign investments in St. Petersburg increased by 40 percent to USD 900 million.