Regional Geography of Peru/ Southwest Pacific


1.     Physical Characteristics

o   Relative location

o   Landscape and Physical Environment

o   Weather and climate

2.     Human Characteristics

o   Population, Density and Age/Sex characteristics

o   Language and religion

o   Cultural/ethnic groups

3.     Economic Characteristics

o   Major economic activities

o   Imports and Exports

o   GNP and GNP per capita

4.     References

Physical Characteristics

The country of Peru is located along the west coast of South America. Peru is bordered with the Pacific Ocean to its west, Ecuador to the northwest, Colombia to the northeast, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast, and Chile to the south (Moore). Peru covers an area of 496,225 square miles that stretches among 25 regions.

††††††††† With Peru being so close to the equator, it is a tropical country, but also has a vast landscape. Peru is often described with three regions: the arid coastal plain on the west, the Andes Mountain range in the center, and the Amazon tropical rainforest on the east (Moore). The coastal plain can be broken into three sub-regions: north, central, and south, and they are divided by the level of coastal land (Moore). In the north, the plains reach up to 50 km wide, with a maximum width of 140 km in the Sechura Desert (Moore). The central region is narrower than the north and is mostly hills going from the Andes to the coast (Moore). And in the south, this is the narrowest part and is lined by low mountains (Moore). The Andes Mountains were created from tectonic plate movement and are like most mountain ranges in the Pacific Rim, unstable (Moore). This mountain range is much higher towards central Peru, with its peak, Mount Huascaran, at 22,205 feet (Moore). Going northwest of Arequipa is a volcanic chain that stretches in northern Chile, which includes Misti volcano (Moore). The tropical Amazonia occupies over 60% of Peruís area (Moore). This area is lined with jungle and has a pretty low elevation.

††††††††† Within Peruís three regions are three different climates. The coastal desert is very dry, along with most of the west coast of South America (Moore). Uniquely, this is a cool desert, with average temperatures around 66 F in the winter, and 72 F in the summer (Moore). The mountain climate varies due elevation (higher up you are, colder it becomes) with permanent snowfall on most peaks of this mountain range. The winter months in Cuzco are around 52 F and the summer months average around 47 F (Moore). The tropical rainforest climate is much different than the other two, averaging as much as 90 inches annually in Iquitos (Moore). Highs in Iquitos reach mid-90 F temperatures, while the night-time temperatures fall to around 60 F (Moore).

Human Characteristics

According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), Peru has a population of about 32.2 million people. Some of the dynamics of their population is there are 19 births per 1000 people; there are 6 deaths per 1000 people; the infant mortality rate is 16; and the total fertility rate is 2.4. This is a natural increase of 1.4% and projects Peru to be at 36.4 million people by 2030. And expects this to jump to 41.1 million people by 2050. Peru has a very young population, with roughly 27% being under age 15 and only 7% being over age 65. Life expectancy in Peru is 72 for males, 78 for females. Almost 80% of the population lives in urban areas, with a population of 775 people per square kilometer.

Religion has is large role in Peruvian history. In the 16th century, when Spanish conquests were happening, Catholicism was introduced. There is freedom of religion within Peru, in which Christianity has emerged strong. Almost 94% of the Peruvian population identify as a type of Christianity, with over 81% as Catholic and 12% identifying as Evangelical (Culture Atlas). The socio-economic status of the people typically decide what type of Catholicism is practiced. The middle-class go by many traditional methods of the Catholic Church, while poorer-urban practices tend to be more liberal interpretation (Culture Atlas). Peru is a Spanish-speaking country with several forms of native tongue as well. The official language is Spanish, while some of the dialects include Quechua, Aymara, and Ashaninka. These languages are specific to their regions, Ashaninka coming from the rainforest, Aymara from the Andes, and Quechua being to a few South American nations.

††††††††† The ethnic groups in Peru according to are Native Americans (45%), Mestizos (37%), White Europeans (15%), and several other small ethnic groups to make up the remaining 3%. The Native Americans, or Amerindians, inhabited the area before European expansion back in the 1500s. This ethnic group is divided into the Quechuas and the Aymaras and make up about 13.3 million people. These people are traditional and have bright colors and customs. Sadly, due to urbanization these traditions are being lost. The Mestizos are ďmixedĒ between the Amerindians and Europeans and make up about 11.5 million people. Most of these people are urbanized with heavy European influences. White Europeans, or white Peruvians, and the third large population group at around 5 million people.

Economic Characteristics

††††††††† The Peruvian economy was on a steady incline form 2009-13, by an average of 5.6% per year. This was due to Peruís metal and mineral exports, which account for over half of Peruís exports. This incline stopped in 2014 and has stayed down since then, due to the worldwide need for these products being down. This causes a heavy fluctuation in Peruís economy, basing it off the need of these products. Peru has free trade with several countries, including the United States, Canada, Singapore, China, Korea, Mexico, Japan, and the EU. Peru also has a trade pact with Chile, Colombia, and Mexico (Pacific Alliance), that seeks the integration of services, capital, investment, and movement of people (CIA) There are also trade deals with El Salvador, India, and Turkey. These deals have helped reduce the nation poverty rate by over 35% since 2004. With lower mining prices siting currently, the economy has been down, but when mining prices rise again, the economy will get a boost once again. Peru has a labor force of roughly 17.03 million people, which is of people age 14 and older (CIA). The labor force is broken down into almost 26% agriculture, 17% industry, and about 57% services (CIA). Industries include mining, steel, natural gas liquefaction, fishing, cement, glass, textiles, clothing, food processing, etc (CIA). The agricultural products include artichokes, asparagus, avocados, blueberries, coffee, cocoa, cotton, sugarcane, rice, potatoes, corn, plantains, oranges, guavas, medicinal plants, dry beans, poultry, beef, pork, etc (CIA).

Some of Peruís major imports include petroleum, chemicals, plastic, vehicles, vehicles, paper, cotton, corn, wheat, soybean, iron and steel. Their major partners for all imports include China (22.3%), the United States (20.1%), and Brazil (6%). In 2017 Peruís imports exceeded $38.65 billion. Some of Peruís major exports are copper, gold, lead, silver, natural gas, coffee, fruit, vegetables, fish, and alloys. Their major partners in exports are China (26.5%), the United States (15.2%), and Switzerland (5.2%). In 2017 Peruís exports were roughly $44.92 billion. According to, Peruís Gross National Product (GNP) was said to be 203.003 USD in 2017. This is an increase from 186.545 USD in 2016. T has been on a steady incline over the last 10 years, where in 2006 this number was at just 81.483 USD. The GNP per capita is at 6,397.831 USD in June 2017, which is up from 6,038.613 USD in June 2016.


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Submitted by Trey Mumma on 4.12.2019.