The social gaps and income gaps are very large in Peru. More than one in five residents are estimated to live in poverty. There are major differences between the city and the countryside. The proportion of poor people is the largest in the Andes.
Poverty has declined sharply since the turn of the millennium. The proportion of the population that was considered poor was halved in ten years until 2017, when it increased again a snap. During the same period, the proportion considered extremely poor has decreased from 11 to just under 4 percent of the population. The indigenous peoples are over-represented among the poor.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Peru, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
There are major shortcomings in the healthcare sector and this is particularly noticeable in the countryside as doctors and health care facilities are concentrated in Lima and other major cities. The most common diseases are respiratory tract infections, stomach ailments, malaria and tuberculosis.
There is a state social insurance system, funded by employers, employees and the state, but it mainly covers those who have a formal employment. A general health insurance is being created.
A large part of the social activity is run by non-profit organizations. There are many grassroots organizations that run soup kitchens, nursing homes, day care centers and more.
The daily life of the different social classes differs greatly, although some boundaries have become more unclear as parts of the highland’s Native American population have moved to the cities for a long period of years. There, with time, some people began to speak Spanish and in other ways changed their lifestyle so that they could not always be distinguished from the large group of masters (see Population and languages). The origin of the fertilizers is usually Native-European, but they may also have African or Chinese ancestors.
The dominant class markers are skin color and appearance, but also body length, behavior, dress, language and educational level. Peruvians of European origin are thus a finite elite while the harshest discrimination is directed at the black minority. The Andean and Amazon Indians, as well as to some extent the Asians, are also met by condescending attitudes.
In recent years, some changes have taken place, partly due to new laws against racial discrimination. Bars and nightclubs have been fined since they refused to let in the dark-skinned, and in 2001 the country got its first president from the indigenous people, Alejandro Toledo.
The typical household consists of five people; thus a nuclear family. In most families, the often authoritarian father has the highest status even though it is the woman who makes many of the decisions in the household. However, this old patriarchal pattern has weakened: partly because so many men in the countryside spend long periods of work in the cities, and partly because social problems in the townships have caused a lot of women and children to be abandoned by the man.
Among the Quechua Indians there is yet another family tradition believed to have roots in the Inca people. In the extended family, the wife and children are counted only as the father’s family, while the wife’s parents and other relatives do not formally belong to the community. This has caused disputes because the laws of the country require that a person’s full name consists of both the husband’s and the woman’s family name.
Most parents, especially among the masters, attach great importance to the schooling of the children as higher education gives higher status. Similarly, many want sons and daughters to marry someone with brighter skin – even if young people decide. Many young couples live a time spent together, sometimes in a parent’s home, until they or the family can afford marriage, a wedding party and a new home.
The children are taught early to respect the elderly, to obey and work hard. Poverty and low social status increase the risk of children being exposed to discrimination, violence and sexual abuse. Men and women have the same inheritance right, but sometimes the woman has to act decisively or take legal advice to avoid being disadvantaged. Even otherwise, the gender has formally the same rights, which is at least noticed by the urban population.
Both upper and middle class household help is common. The more well-off have service staff and sometimes more than one home. It may be a holiday home, but it also happens that men have an extra home for a mistress and also common children. Divorce and remarriage are legal, but the negative view of the Catholic Church on this may have affected some of these men’s behavior. Abortion is prohibited unless the woman’s life is in danger.
Discrimination due to sexual orientation is prohibited but still common. Marriage only occurs between man and woman. However, according to a 2018 ruling in the human rights court that belongs to the regional organization OAS, same-sex marriage must be approved by all countries that have signed an American human rights convention.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 11 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 89.9 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 74.3 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 5.3 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 316 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 28 percent (2018)
The government is replaced
Prime Minister Salomón Lerner submits his resignation, which means that the entire government must resign. Lerner gives no reason, but his departure is linked to the ongoing battle over the Conga mining complex in northern Peru (see November 2011). Lerner has tried to mediate in the conflict. Lerner is replaced by Minister of the Interior Óscar Valdés, who is installing a new government a day later. Ten of the nineteen ministers are new to their posts. More technocrats are hired while people with left profiles are allowed to leave their posts.
State of emergency after protests
A two-month long state of emergency is introduced in the Cajamarca region of northern Peru after several protesters protesting against plans to build a planned mine were injured in clashes with police. The protesters claim that the mine, Conga, will destroy the groundwater reserves in the area. The unrest is causing the American company building the mine to temporarily stop work.
Police officers are allowed to go into corruption cleansing
President Humala dismisses 30 of the 45 highest police chiefs in the country in a sudden campaign against police corruption. Shortly thereafter, Humala’s vice president, Omar Chehade, is at the center of a scandal when a newspaper reports that he has tried to bribe one of the deposed police chiefs to help a company take an illegal action to take over a sugar plantation. Humala withdraws from Chehade who refuses to resign but who later gets separated from his post.
State of emergency in five provinces
The state of emergency applies in Marañó, Huamalies, Leoncio Prado, Tocache and Padre Abad in northeastern Peru. The reason is to try to cope with guerrilla operations and illegal drug dealing in the area.
New law gives indigenous people influence
President Humala signs a law that gives indigenous people (Indians) the right to have a say in the team in connection with the exploitation of their traditional lands. The law means that companies must seek to agree with local residents regarding projects that affect the landscape. However, residents do not have the right to veto. Former President García vetoed the law, which he felt would constitute a barrier to investment. However, an application of the law will be delayed. An ape is that there are no guidelines as to what requirements an organization must meet to be considered a “union of indigenous people”.
New government takes office
In Parliament, 90 members support their declaration of government presented by Chief Minister Salomón Lerner Ghitis. A few days later, Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla presents parts of the upcoming budget with major investments in social programs, education and health care. At the same time, a reserve is saved if the world economy deteriorates. The government gets the thumbs up from the credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s, which raises Peru’s credit rating one step.
Humala takes over
Ollanta Humala is sworn in as President of Peru, promising to end poverty and social exclusion. At the same time, he wants to maintain the free market economy.
New regional free trade block
Peru forms a new free trade bloc, the Pacific Alliance (Pacific Alliance), together with Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
Humala wins the presidential election
Former Army officer Ollanta Humala wins in the decisive round with 51.5 percent of the vote. Humala has lagged in opinion polls but towards the end received important support, including from former president Alejandro Toledo, who was eliminated in the first round. When Humala’s victory is complete, the stock market falls by over 12 percent, the largest case recorded on a single day. However, it recovers the next day.
Substantial expansion of hydropower
The government decides to build 20 hydroelectric power plants on the Marañón River in northern Peru over a 15-year period. The investment will secure the country’s electricity supply for 40 years and make the country the region’s largest exporter of renewable energy, according to President García.
Left success in elections
The first round of the presidential election results in the left candidate Ollanta Humala and the right candidate, Alberto Fujimori’s daughter Keiko, moving on to round two, in June. Humala is supported by 32 percent of voters and Fujimori by 24 percent. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who is running for the Alliance Center for Big Change candidate, gets 19 percent and ex-president Alejandro Toledo 16 percent. In the parliamentary elections, Humala’s Gana Perú will be the largest with 47 out of 130 seats, followed by Fujimori’s Party Strength in 2011 with 37. Toledo’s party A possible Peru gets 21 seats, Alliance for big change 12, National solidarity 9 and PAP / Apra 4.