RELIGION LIBRARY

Peru

COUNTRY PROFILE

Map of Peru

The country has an area of 496,225 square miles and a population of 29.5 million. Among the major religious groups are Roman Catholics, evangelicals and traditional Protestant denominations (including Baptist, Anglican, Assemblies of God, and Seventh-day Adventists), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Baha'is, Hare Krishnas, and Muslims. There also are indigenous communities practicing various forms of pre-Columbian and syncretistic (blending Christian and pre-Columbian) beliefs, as well as a local religious group, the Israelites of the New Universal Pact, which is unrelated to Israel or Judaism.
The 2007 National Census conducted by the National Statistics Institute found that 81.3 percent of the population is Catholic; 12.5 percent Protestant (mainly evangelical); and 3.3 percent includes Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Israelites of the New Universal Pact.
In the last 20 years, according to some estimates, Protestant (mostly evangelical) representation in the population grew from approximately 2 percent to 12.5 percent; however, the National Evangelical Council (CONEP) estimates that evangelicals represent at least 15 percent of the population. Historically, they resided in smaller communities outside of Lima and in rural areas; in the last 15 years their presence in urban areas increased significantly. There are small Jewish populations in Lima and Cuzco and small Muslim communities in Lima (mainly of Palestinian origin) and Tacna (mainly of Pakistani origin). The founder of the Israelites of the New Universal Pact organized the group in 1960 in Junín Department, but since his death in 2000 the membership has sharply declined; most adherents are concentrated in and near Lima. Some Catholics combine indigenous worship with Catholic traditions, especially in the Andean highlands. Some indigenous peoples in the remote eastern jungles also practice traditional faiths.

Population Population (2009 est.) 29,546,963
Religious Demographics Roman Catholic 81.3%, Evangelical 12.5%, other 3.3%, unspecified or none 2.9% (2007 Census)
Ethnic Groups Ethnic Groups Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%
Languages Languages Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages
Country Flag Flag of Peru