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Family Representation, Consequences, Explanations, Conclusion

Peru has a population of 26 million people, of whom 72 percent are concentrated in urban areas. Poverty is a major characteristic, with half of the population (48% in 2000) living in poverty. Even this striking statistic hides the extreme situations, especially in the mountains and rural areas of the Andes Mountains. According to 2000 data, 37 percent of people in urban areas live under the poverty line and 4 percent experience extreme poverty. Conversely, in rural areas, 70 percent of people live under the poverty line, and 36 percent are extremely poor (INEI 2000).

Peru is also characterized by its structural heterogeneity and its cultural pluralism. The Indian population make up between one-third and twothirds of the population (Le Bot 1994; Weismantel 1998). Socioeconomic inequalities, including those based on class, race, and gender, are present in the social order and daily life (Henríquez 1995).

In the social history of the country, the colonial period gave rise to ethnic and cultural discrimination against the Indian population. The colonial period also saw the beginning of the domination of an oligarchic elite in the political and economic sectors. This domination is reflected today by the Lima centralism and the dominance of the coast over the mountains. The dichotomies of white/Indian, rich/poor, exploiter/exploited began with the same root, which over time, produced different inequalities (Figueroa et al. 1996).

One form of inequality is reflected in the monthly average income. The upper stratum have incomes of between US$2,200 to $4,700 monthly, the low and the very low levels earn only US$270 and $123 monthly (Henríquez 1995). In another example of inequality, although illiteracy decreased, on average, from 18 percent to 12 percent between 1981 and 2000, large differences in literacy rates persist between men (6%) and women (17%). These differences are more pronounced between urban women who are not poor (6%) and poor rural women (43%) (INEI 2000).

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural Aspects