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Demographics of Peru

Most Peruvians are "mestizo," a term that usually refers to a mixture of Amerindians and Peruvians of European descent. Peruvians of European descent make up about 15% of the population; there also are smaller numbers of persons of African, Japanese, and Chinese descent. In the past decade, Peruvians of Asian heritage have made significant advancements in business and political fields; a past president, several past cabinet members, and several members of the Peruvian congress are of Japanese or Chinese descent. Socioeconomic and cultural indicators are increasingly important as identifiers. For example, Peruvians of Amerindian descent who have adopted aspects of Hispanic culture also are considered "mestizo." With economic development, access to education, intermarriage, and largescale migration from rural to urban areas, a more homogeneous national culture is developing, mainly along the relatively more prosperous coast.

Peru has two official languages--Spanish and the foremost indigenous language, Quechua. Spanish is used by the government and the media and in education and commerce. Amerindians who live in the Andean highlands speak Quechua and Aymara and are ethnically distinct from the diverse indigenous groups who live on the eastern side of the Andes and in the tropical lowlands adjacent to the Amazon basin.

Peru's distinct geographical regions are mirrored in a socioeconomic divide between the coast's mestizo-Hispanic culture and the more diverse, traditional Andean cultures of the mountains and highlands. The indigenous populations east of the Andes speak various languages and dialects. Some of these groups still adhere to traditional customs, while others have been almost completely assimilated into the mestizo-Hispanic culture.

Education
Under the 1993 constitution, primary education is free and compulsory. The system is highly centralized, with the Ministry of Education appointing all public school teachers. Eighty-three percent of Peru's students attend public schools at all levels.

School enrollment has been rising sharply for years, due to a widening educational effort by the government and a growing school-age population. The illiteracy rate is estimated at 12.5% (17.4% for women), 28.0% in rural areas and 5.6% in urban areas. Elementary and secondary school enrollment is about 7.7 million. Peru's 74 universities (1999), 39% public and 61% private institutions, enrolled about 322,000 students in 1999.

Population: 27,012,899 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 35% (male 4,776,074; female 4,628,899)
15-64 years: 61% (male 8,224,829; female 8,119,751)
65 years and over: 4% (male 579,465; female 683,881) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.75% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 24.48 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 5.84 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 40.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.01 years
male: 67.63 years
female: 72.5 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.04 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Peruvian(s)
adjective: Peruvian

Ethnic groups: Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%

Religions: Roman Catholic 90%

Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.7%
male: 94.5%
female: 83% (1995 est.)

See also : Peru



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