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Introduction: This report examines demographic and socioeconomic factors concerning Peruvians in the United States between 1980 and 2008.

Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.

Results: The Peruvian population of the U.S. increased dramatically between 1980 and 2008 from about 70,000 to over 550,000 people. Migration increased in each decade and there is no reason to believe that migration from Peru will decrease in the near future. Because of this continued migration the foreign-born sector of the Peruvian population has not diminished proportionally, despite the increase in the U.S.-born population of Peruvian origin in absolute numbers. The percentage of Peruvians living in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut has decreased between 1980 and 2008. Peruvians living in California have also decreased in relative terms, while Florida has become a major state of Peruvian settlement. Peruvians have relatively high median household incomes compared with other race/ethnic groups in the U.S. and other Latino national subgroups. These incomes have improved since 1980 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Discussion: Over time since 1980 more Peruvians who were born abroad became naturalized citizens and the citizenship rate rose continually to 2008. On the complex issue of race, more Peruvians declared themselves to be of some other race in 2008 than in previous census years, although a majority self declared as white. There were no major socioeconomic differences between Peruvians declaring themselves to be white or some other race. A very small percentage of Peruvians self-declared as black. Peruvian household heads preferred to marry other Peruvians, or other Latinos. Nevertheless, domestic-born Peruvian female household heads increasingly married non-Hispanic whites.


For additional information about this collection see

Citation information: Bergad, L. (2010). Peruvians in the United States 1980—2008. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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