Peru Demographics 1876

By | December 21, 2021

The last Peruvian census dates back to 1876: therefore the current number of residents is known only with an approximation. Then it turned out 2,699,000 residents, Which some estimates have increased to 4,634,000 in 1896, to 5,500,000 in 1921, to 6,170,000 in 1927 and 6,600,000 in 1933 (5 per sq. Km.). An evaluation for 1810 gave Peru 1,100,000 residents; its population, therefore, would have increased almost sixfold in 120 years.

It is believed that 53% of the population is made up of Mestizos, 32% from Amerindîs, 11% from Whites, 2% from Negroes and Mulattos and 2% from Asians (mainly Chinese). The Whites, descendants of the ancient rulers, live especially in the major cities and in their hands is a large part of the cultural, economic and political life of the country. The recent development of the coastal region has attracted some. many on large farms.

After the abolition of slavery, the planters imported many Canachi from the Marquesas Islands, but the overworking, mistreatment and climate quickly decimated them. From 1849 the importation of the Chinese began, sometimes hired by force, and by force kept in the country even after the expiration of the employment contract. They were used for plantation work and for the very hard work of guano deposits; for the often brutal treatment to which they were subjected there were several protests from the Chinese government: and not rare were the cases of revolt. Gradually, therefore, their importation ceased, many of them returned to their homeland, others emancipated themselves and dispersed throughout the country, dedicating themselves mainly to small businesses.

Among the foreign colonies, probably the most numerous is the Italian one, which in 1927 counted 13,000 individuals, preferably employed in industries and trade. It had and still has considerable importance in the economic and cultural life of Peru.

The population is very unevenly distributed: about 70% of them live in the Sierra, 26% in the coastal region, and only 4% in the Montaña. In this there are very large areas completely uninhabited, especially in the south, where the department of Madre de Dios, on an area greater than that of Czechoslovakia, hosts perhaps only 5000 residents, who live almost exclusively along the rivers. In the Sierra the population is concentrated on the plateaus and in the wider sections of the valleys, and particularly around the main mining areas; in the coastal region, in the numerous irrigated oases and in the coastal cities that serve as an outlet for them. Of the 24 departments into which the state is divided, 13 have a density above the average of the whole country, with a maximum of 15 residents per sq. km. in the department of Libertad (apart from the department of Callao which includes only a small area around the city of the same name). The factor that has most influenced the various densification of the population is the climate. It should be noted, however, that mining has pushed the population to settle even in very high areas with a very harsh climate, which otherwise would certainly have remained uninhabited.

Most of the population of Peru lives in scattered houses or in small rural centers and only 11% of it lives in centers with more than 5,000 residents. These are about thirty (population estimated at 1927), and include one with more than 100,000 residents, two with more than 50,000 and 7 with more than 20,000. Of the 10 major cities, 4 are in the Sierra, all at great height (Arequipa, 58,000 residents, at 2300 m.; Cuzco, 38,000 residents, at 3360 m.; Ayacucho, 25,000 residents, at 2716 m.; Huancayo, 20,000 residents, at 3340 m.), only one in Montaña (Iquitos, 25.000 residents) and the remaining ones in the coastal region (Lima, the capital, with 273.000 residents in 1931, and 374.000 with the suburbs; Callao, 67.000; Chiclayo, 30,000; Trujillo, 25,000; Chincha, 20,000).

The official language of Peru is Spanish, but Quechúa is widespread throughout the country, and Aymará in the extreme southern part. For Peru religion and languages, please check

The territory of the state is administratively divided into 24 departments, of which the surface, population and capital are given in the table (p. 879).

Peru religion and languages