Demographics of Peru

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Peru, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Peru is a multiethnic country, which means that it is home to people of many different historical backgrounds. Therefore, it is a multicultural country as well. Since it is a multiethnic society, Peruvian people usually treat their nationality as a citizenship instead of an ethnicity. The Peruvian census does not contain information about ethnicity so only rough estimates are available. Its population can be composed of Amerindians: 45%[1], Mestizos: 37%[2], European: 15%[2], Afro-Peruvians: 2%[3], Asians and others: 1%[4]. Amerindians are found in the southern Andes, though a large portion, also to be found in the southern and central coast due to the massive internal labor migration from remote Andean regions to coastal cities,during the past four decades. While the Andes are the "heart" of the indigenous populations of Peru, White people are mostly found in the coast and are mostly of Spanish, Italian, British, French, German, Irish and Croatian descent.[citation needed]

Contents

Overview

Peru is a multiethnic country formed by the amalgamation of different cultures and ethnicities over thousands of years. Amerindians inhabited the land for several millennia before the Spanish conquest in the 15th century; their cultures and influence represent the foundation of today’s Peru.

As a result of European contact and conquest, the population of the area now known as Peru decreased from an estimated 9 million in the 1520s to around 600,000 in 1620.[5] This happened mostly because of the unintended spread of germs and infectious diseases. In fact, the spread of smallpox greatly weakened the Inca empire, even before the Spanish arrival. The Amerindians did not have as much natural immunity to the disease as did the Europeans who had been exposed to smallpox for roughly two centuries [6]. For this reason, several Amerindian populations were decimated. Furthermore, the disease killed Inca ruler Wayna Capac, triggering a civil war in the Inca empire that preceded the conquest efforts the Spaniards. Thus, the conquest was facilitated by the weakness of the Inca empire which was recovering from both a civil war and epidemics of unknown diseases.

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