Food Culture

Peruvians Abroad

Peruvian Peppers in the San Francisco Farmer's Market (David Knowlton)

More than 10% of all Peruvians live outside their country. The country’s economy has shown a marked improvement over the last few years and, as a result, rates of emigration are down.  Nevertheless, the International Organization for Migration, in a 2012 report, held there were 3.5 million Peruvians who have emigrated to other countries and 2.4 million have emigrated just in the last 22 years.

Their main destination, according to the international body, has been the United States where almost a third of Peruvians abroad live. According to the US Census of 2012, 531,358 Peruvians reside in the US. This is the population born in Peru and does not include children born in the United States. Between 2000 and 2010 that number more than doubled.

Among the Peruvian immigrants to the US there are slightly more women than men, 51% versus 49% and 60% of immigrants to the US from the homeland of the Incas are between 18 and 54 years old. An additional 22% are younger than 18 years old.

The Peruvian community in North America is heavily concentrated in just four states: Florida, California, New Jersey, and New York.  Together they make up 60% of the Peruvian immigrant population in the US.

Only 28% of the Peruvians in the US, 24 and older, have some higher education. 31% has only a primary education while 28% has only secondary studies.

Peruvians fifteen and older find employment in the following sectors of the United States Economy.  25% are in the administration and professional sector, 28% are in services,  24% are in sales, 9.4 % are in construction, and 14% are in production and transport while only 0.3% are in agriculture, fishing, or forest culture.

If we look at these numbers more closely we find that almost 19% work in education, 15.2% in commerce, 14% are in activities related to arts and entertainment, 12% perform professional services, 9% are in manufacturing, 8% and in transportation, communication and information,8% are in construction and 7% offer financial services.

Peruvians who reside outside their country are an important source of income for families throughout the country.  In 2011 alone the country received 2,697,000,000$ in remittances.  33.5% of this came from the Untied States.

Besides the immediate income from money sent, remittances, this population has formed an important market for the development of exports of food from Peru as well as the formation of Peruvian restaurants, grocery stores, and wholesalers of food products abroad.  As such they are a key pillar int he strategy of the Peruvian government to develop food as a main part of its brand.

The IOM report from which this article has been drawn can be found here.

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