Peru: The Facts

The following facts provide basic information about Peru. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask us. We’ll track down an answer.

The Basics

Location: Peru is located in South America. It borders the South Pacific Ocean and shares borders with Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Bolivia.

Area: 496,225 square miles (1,285,216 sq km)

Land Borders: Total 4,636 miles (7,461 km): 668 miles (1,075 km) with Bolivia, 1,861 miles (2,995 km) with Brazil, 106 miles (171 km) with Chile, 1,118 miles (1,800 km) with Colombia, and 882 miles (1,420 km) with Ecuador.

Total Coastline: 1,500 miles (2,414 km)

Capital City: Lima

Highest Point: Nevado Huascaran at 22,205 feet (6,768 m)

Lowest Point: Pacific Ocean at 0 feet (0 m)

Temperature Range: Temperatures depend on the season and location. It can reach below freezing (0°C or 32°F) in the Andes and be over 100°F (37.7 °C) along the northern coast.

Average Rainfall: Rainfall depends on the season and location. The Amazon Basin can see rain throughout the year, while regions like the North Coast are dry for much of the year.

Humidity: Humidity depends on the season and location, but can range from 50% to 100%. The Amazon Basin is much more humid than the Andes Mountains, for example. The average humidity is around 85%.

Population: 30,147,935 (2014)

Population Growth Rate: 0.99% (2014)

Population Density: 22.72 people per sq. km (8.77 sq. mi.) (2010)

Ethnicities: 45% Amerindian, 37% mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white), 15% white, 3% black, Chinese, Japanese, and other.

Official Language: Spanish

Religion: Roman Catholic and Evangelical

Dialing code: 51

Quality of Life

Life Expectancy: 73.23 years

Life Expectancy of Men: 71.23 years

Life Expectancy of Women: 75.33 years

Fertility Rate: 2.22 births per woman (2014)

Literacy: 89.6%

Poverty Rate: About 25.8% of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line, which is defined as an income that is insufficient to purchase basic goods and services.

Airports: 191 total; 59 airports have paved runways and 132 have unpaved runways.

Roadways: 87,409 miles (140,672 km) total. Of this, some 11,618 miles (18,698 km) are paved.

Railways: 1,184 miles (1,907 km) total

Waterways: 5,473 miles (8,808 km), many of which are tributaries of the Amazon.

Ports: Puerto Callao, Puerto Matarani, and Puerto Paita.

Government and Economy

Government Type: Constitutional Republic

Head of Government: President Ollanta Humala Tasso (elected July 2011)

Legislative Branch: Unicameral Congress of the Republic of Peru (130 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

Independence Day: July 28, 1821 (from Spain)

National Constitution: There have been several previous constitutions. The latest was enacted on December 31, 1993. This constitution has been amended several times, with the last amendment coming in 2009.

Suffrage: 18 years of age (is universal and compulsory until the age of 70)

National Symbol: Vicuña (a camelid that is related to llamas)

Currency: Peruvian Nuevo Sol

GDP per Capita: $11,100 (2013)

Industry: Mining and refining of minerals; petroleum extraction and refining, natural gas and natural gas liquefaction; steel, metal fabrication; fishing and fish processing; cement, textiles, glass, clothing, beer, rubber, soft drinks, machinery, chemicals, and furniture.

Exports: Gold, copper, lead, zinc, tin, iron ore, silver; crude petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas; coffee, asparagus, and other fruits and vegetables; chemicals; alloys.

Agriculture: Asparagus, coffee, cocoa, cotton, rice, corn, potatoes, sugarcane, oranges, pineapples, grapes, bananas, guavas, apples, pears, lemons, tomatoes, coca, mangoes, palm oil, onions, wheat, dry beans, fish, dairy products, beef, pork, and guinea pigs.