Peru occupies the fourth position after Brazil, Cambodia and Argentina, when it comes to the countries of South America containing the largest population. Its recorded population of the year 2006 was 27,968,000. Peru has witnessed a 1% fall in the demographic growth since 1950 and there are anticipations that the population level would touch a figure of 42 million in the year 2050. According to 2005 estimates, the percentage of people inhibiting rural areas was 27.4, while the urban area population consisted of 72.6%. The population residing in the prominent cities of Peru such as Piura, Chimbote, Lima, Cusco-constituted an approximate number of 200,000 inhabitants according to the statistical data of 1993.
The diverse ethnic groups that have existed in Peru over a period of 500 years have given it a unique social and cultural identity. Before the conquest of the Inca Empire by the Spanish people in the 16th century, a race of Amerindians existed in Peru. Their population took a downturn and reached a figure of 600,000 in 1620 due to the epidemic diseases. A concourse of African and Spanish people also teamed with the entire indigenous community from varied origins. Also, a huge number of people from the countries like Germany, France, Spain, England and Italy immigrated to live in Peru. In 1850, the arrival of Chinese people in Peru also resulted in the accumulation of the Peruvian population.
More than a quarter of the population speaks Spanish, which has acquired the status of the main language of Peru. Spanish is spoken along with many other indigenous languages. One of them is Quechua of American origin, which is used with many of its regional dialects. Apart from these languages, many foreign languages also form a part of these ethnic languages. Dividing population on the basis of their religion adoptions according to the 1993 census, a list has come up emphasizing the percentage of people being a part of it:
The literacy rate according to 2005 observations was 88.9%. However, it is comparatively higher in urban areas with 94.8% than a 76.1% literacy rate that exists in rural areas.
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