Peru Country Overview
Where is Peru located? The state of Peru is located in western South America. It owes its name to the Spanish conquerors. Peru attracted a lot of attention because of the ruined city of Machu Picchu, which was built by the Incas and is very well preserved. Machu Picchu is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. The time zone map places Peru in a world time zone called “Peru Time” which has a 5-hour time offset from Universal Time. Peru is 5 hours ahead of universal time (UTC-5). Even in the summer months, this difference remains the same, since no time change is made.
Bordering Countries of Peru
According to abbreviationfinder, Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The boundary line between Peru and Ecuador begins at the confluence of the Marañon and Santiago rivers in the north and extends southward along a line that roughly follows latitude 4° S. At this point, it turns eastward along longitude 79° W until reaching its terminus at latitude 4° S.
Brazil shares a 1,560 km (970 mi) border with Peru that starts in the northeast corner of Peruvian territory at latitude 4° S. This boundary follows longitude 69º W until it reaches latitude 2º S where it turns southward along parallel 2º S until reaching longitude 57º W. At this point, it turns eastward along this meridian until reaching its terminus at latitude 4º S. Bolivia has a 900 km (560 mi) border with Peru that begins in the southeast corner of Peruvian territory at latitude 14° S. The boundary then follows longitude 68º W northward until reaching its terminus at latitude 4° S. Lastly, Chile has a 160 km (99 mi) border with Peru that starts in the southwest corner of Peruvian territory at latitude 18° S. This boundary follows longitude 81º W westward until it reaches its terminus at latitude 18°S.
As of 2023, the latest population of Peru is 31,914,989, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate||0.92%|
|Birth rate||17.80 births per 1,000 people|
|Overall life expectancy||72.98 years|
|Men life expectancy||71.01 years|
|Women life expectancy||75.05 years|
|65 years and above||7.61%|
|Median age||27.30 years|
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)||0.97|
|Population density||24.83 residents per km²|
|approx. 45% indigenous, 37% European-indigenous, 15% of European descent; Minorities mainly of African, European-African, Asian descent|
|Catholics (Roman Catholic) 92.5%; Protestants 5.5%; Other 2%|
|Human Development Index (HDI)||0.759|
|HDI ranking||82nd out of 194|
People in Peru
Almost 32 million people live in Peru. Together with Guatemala and Bolivia, Peru is one of the countries with the highest proportion of indigenous populations. The proportion of Indians in the total population is estimated at 31 to 45 percent. They are distributed among more than 60 races. The majority of the Indians speak a Quechua or an Aymara language. About 15 groups of uncontacted Indians live in the rainforest on the border with Ecuador.
More than 3 million of the Indians in Peru belong to a Quechua people. Most of them live in the Andes, only the Llacuash are at home in the rainforest. With around 400,000 people, the Aymara form the second largest group of indigenous peoples. The Aymara live on the Altiplano (plateau) in southern Peru. The third largest group are the Ashaninka (around 60,000 to 90,000). You speak an Arawak language with nine other Peruvian ethnic groups and live in the rainforest.
The proportion of common descendants of whites and natives is similarly large. The figures vary between 37 and 44 percent. 15 percent are white, mostly descendants of Spaniards, but also from other European countries. About 4 percent have black ancestors, the Afro-Peruvians. Their ancestors came here as slaves from the 16th century. And around 3 percent are of Asian origin, mostly from Japan or China.
There are some peoples in South America who live without contact with the outside world. Fifteen such “uncontacted” Indians live in Peru alone. They have been assured that they can continue to live like this. If people came to them, they could, for example, like many of their ancestors in the 16th century, die of flu because they had no defense against such diseases. However, there are companies that want to drill for oil in their areas, for example. This is not only a danger for the environment, but also for the life of the Indians. The Indians complain against it. Illegal logging in the indigenous areas can also be fatal for them: in the 1990s, half of the Murunahua tribe died after contact with the loggers.
Urban and countryside
78 percent of the population of Peru live in the city. Many people move from the country to the city (rural exodus). Around a quarter of the entire population now lives in the capital Lima and its surroundings. Most of the cities are on the coast, some also in the Andes. Around half of the population lives in the coastal region, 38 percent in the mountains and only 9 percent in the rainforest of the east.
More than two million Peruvians have emigrated in the last 20 years alone. They live mainly in the USA, but also in Spain, Argentina, Italy, Chile and Japan. They emigrated in the hope of better living conditions. Every year more than 200,000 Peruvians are still drawn abroad.
Languages in Peru
Spanish is the official language of Peru. Around 84 percent speak Spanish as their mother tongue. 13 percent learn Quechua as their first language (3.2 million speakers). 1.8 percent have Aymara as their mother tongue (435,000 speakers). All other indigenous languages comprise around 60 in number, which can be assigned to 16 language families. Together they only have about 220,000 speakers.
Spanish in Peru
The Spanish spoken in Peru is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. For example, while in Spain the c is usually pronounced like an English th, i.e. between the teeth, (as in the English word through), in Peru (and in all of Latin America) the c is pronounced like a sharp s (as in see). This is called Seseo.
There are also many regional specialties and dialects. The Spanish on the coast of Peru sounds different from that in the Andes and that different from the Spanish in the rainforest.
Words from Quechua have also found their way into Peruvian Spanish. The oral use of the Voseo is typical of the Andes region, which means that “you” say vos instead of tu. On the other hand, there is the yeísmo on the coast: unlike in Spanish, a double l (ll) is not pronounced as lj (for example in the word llamar), but only as j.
Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language in South America. There are around 7 million speakers, most of them in Peru, slightly fewer in Bolivia and Ecuador. In other countries they only speak minorities. The researchers could not yet agree whether there are many dialects in Quechua, or whether Quechua is divided into different languages and even then only designates one language family.
Religions in Peru
81.3 percent of the population are Catholics. 12.5 percent belong to a Protestant church. So the vast majority of Peruvians are Christians. 3.3 percent belong to another religion. The remaining 2.9 percent said they were not religious. The high proportion of Christians is a result of the missionary work of the Spaniards after the conquest.