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PERU LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTION Peru is located in the southwestern region of South America It comprises an area of approximately 496222 square miles 28 million square kilometers which is about three times the size of California Its capital city is Lima with a population in excess of seven million The terrain is varied coastal plains with arid and mild weather on the west the rugged Andes mountains with temperate to frigid temperatures in the central region and lowlands with tropical rain forests and warm and humid climates on the east DEMOGRAPHICS Nearly 29 million people live in Peru 69 of whom live in cities The annual growth rate is two percent and infant mortality is a rather high 52 per 1000 births Perus ethnic structure is primarily made up of Indians 45 Mestizos 37 and Caucasians 15 Some Peruvians also are of African descent and Lima and other coastal cities have Chinese and Japanese communities Mestizos form a cultural bridge between the Hispanic-European and Indian societies Caucasians tend to be culturally homogeneous throughout the country whereas the Mestizos and Indians show greater cultural diversity Due to education economic development and the movement from rural to urban areas however a more homogeneous national culture is developing especially in major cities 1 Peru has two official languages--Spanish and the foremost indigenous language Quechua Spanish Government officials the media educators and those in commerce use Quechua Spanish Indians who live in the Andes speak Quechua and Aymara and are ethnically distinct from those who live in the jungle and the eastern side of the Andes These latter groups speak various languages and dialects Some of these tribes still live much as they have since prehistoric times while others have been almost completely assimilated into the Mestizo-Hispanic culture 2 The predominant religion is Roman Catholic The work force totals approximately 84 million with 35 working in agriculture 10 working in industry 12
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