In 1991, the population estimates estimated the country’s residents to be 21,998,000 and, in the same year, the population of the capital, Lima, amounted to just under 6.5 million. (in the urban agglomeration). The prevailing ethnic group is always the Amerindo of the Pueblo-Andean race (settled in the Sierra), which comprises 47% of the total population. The second most important group is that of mestizos (32%); followed by the Creoles (12%) – settled mostly in the narrow coastal strip and minimally in the cities of the interior – the blacks and mulattoes. Finally, a small minority of Amazonian Indians lives in the jungle.
The distribution and density of residents are affected by the morphological differences existing between the various parts of the country: thus the coastal region, which is more hospitable and more developed from an economic point of view, hosts over half of the population; since it is a territorially restricted area, the population density reaches rather high levels (193 residents / km 2 in the department of Lima).
The population, taking into account that it records a very high annual growth (2.5% in the period 1986-91), linked to a high birth rate (33%), is young, looking for a job that cannot be found and abandoning the poor countryside to the cities, and especially for the capital; the adaptation of resources to new needs is therefore difficult. Illiteracy, although decreasing, still affects 15% of the population, with higher rates in the countryside than in the cities.
In addition to the political and administrative management, the capital is concentrated a considerable part of the country’s economic potential. For Peru 1999, please check estatelearning.com.
Economic conditions. – The economy of Peru is going through a rather difficult period. GNP increases, but not always at rates higher than population growth and, therefore, per capita income tends to decrease in real terms. In 1991, World Bank estimates attributed the country to GDP per capita just over $ 1000. The foreign debt is heavy: in 1991 it amounted to 20,000 million dollars (against a GNP of 38,000 million dollars). In 1991, 33% of the assets were employed in the primary sector, which contributed in a limited way (13.6%) to the formation of GNP. The arable land covers 2.9% of the territorial surface, the permanent pastures 21.1%, 53.4% is given by forests and woods, while the remainder remains uncultivated. Agriculture is unable to meet internal food needs. The main products are rice (8.2 million q in 1991), corn (6.7 million q), potatoes (14.5 million q) and, for export, coffee (820,000 q), cotton (650,000 q of fiber and 1,150,000 q of seeds) and cane (5.5 million q of sugar). The latter come almost entirely from the fertile coastal areas, while subsistence agriculture is practiced in the region of the highlands. Peru is also one of the world’s largest producers of coca, which contributes to significantly raise income with illicit earnings.
Industry provides for 39.4% of GNP training, employing 16.9% of the active population. The mining industry is highly developed; in particular, in 1991 the silver mines gave 1,769,200 kg of ore, a quantity that placed Peru in third place in the world ranking of producing countries. Copper production is also good (381,200 t): others have been added to the central Andean fields in the southern and northern sector of the country. Rich oil wells (6.9 million t in 1990) and natural gas deposits (1200 million m 3 in 1991) are located in the North and in the montaña. Three quarters of electricity production is from water and in 1990 it reached 14,000 million kWh. The installed power was 4.15 million kW (2.4 million of hydroelectricity).
Transport is strongly influenced by the morphology trend. The railway network has a development of 3500 km (with the highest sections of the earth: almost 5000 m asl), while the roads extend over almost 70,000 km. The Pan-American highway crosses the country for about 3,350 km of travel. Lima has an international airport; main ports are Callao, San Nicolás, Talara, San Juan and Chimbote.
The industry concerns the refining of minerals and the smelting of metals, the processing of natural (cotton, wool) and synthetic fibers, the processing of food products, the production of fertilizers. The trade balance in 1991 showed a deficit of US $ 165 million, while the balance of payments deficit reached US $ 1478 million. Agricultural products, food and raw materials represent the main items of import while oil, copper and zinc are the most important export products. The major partner for both exports and imports is the United States (respectively with 22.1% and 24.9% of the total); followed by Japan, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and the United Kingdom.