Major Ethnic Groups Of Peru

A woman in traditional clothes in Cuzco, Peru.
A woman in traditional clothes in Cuzco, Peru.

Peru, a country in South America is officially known as the Republic of Peru. Ecuador and Colombia border it to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast, Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean in the west. It covers an area of 496,225 square miles with an estimated population of 31.2 million making it the most populous state in South America. Peru is a democratic republic divided into 25 regions recording a high human development index score and poverty level of approximately 25.8%. The main economic activities carried out include mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and fishing. It’s a multiethnic state with most of the population speaking Spanish which is the official language although some still speak native languages such as Quechua. Here is a look at the ethnic communities in detail.

The Major Ethnic Groups Of Peru

Native Americans

The Native Americans are the indigenous people in Peru also known as the Amerindians. They had inhabited the country before the Europeans discovered it in 1500. They form the largest number of general population at 45% which is approximately 13.3million. They constitute two major ethnic groups which are: the Quechuas and the Aymaras mostly found in the extreme southern Andes. Most of the indigenous population live in Andean highland and speak either Quechua or Aymara and have vibrant cultural traditions but these traditions are being dispersed due to urbanization in the area.


Mestizo is a term used in Spain and Spanish America to mean a person of a mixed Amerindian and European descent. During the colonial period, mestizos became the majority group and the term mestizo was part of the cast classification used during the colonial times and form 37% of the general population which is approximately 11.5 million. Most of them are urban dwellers and others show a stronger European inheritance in regions like La Libertad region.

White Europeans

They are also known as white Peruvians and form 15 % of the general population that’s approximately 5 million. Traditionally, they are known to be more dominant in the political, diplomatic, and commercial section in the society. They live mainly on the Peruvian coast in areas such as Lima, and their ethnic background includes Spanish, Italian, German, French, British, Croatian, and Irish. It is also home to about 42,000 Jews whose ancestors originated from several different places such as Germany. Their immigration to Peru began with the Spanish colonization of Peru in the year 1492.

Other Ethnic Groups Of Peru

These are the ethnic groups which from the least part of the population 3%. These ethnic groups are Asian, Afro-Peruvians, Mullato, Zambo, among others. The Asians in Peru are the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Koreans among others. They have made significant advancements in business and political fields in the past decade. The Afro-Peruvians are the citizens of Peru descended from Africans who were in slavery and were brought to western hemisphere towards the end of the slave trade. They are majorly found in the coastal cities south of Lima. The Mullatos are citizens of Peru from the African and European descent while the Zambos are of African and Amerindian ancestry. They constitute an important part of the population.

Major Ethnic Groups Of Peru

RankPrinciple AncestryShare of Population of Peru
1Native American45%
3White European15%

Asian, Afro-Peruvian, Mulatto, Zambo, and Others3%

More in Society