Peru Migration Profile Confirms that Peruvians Continue to Migrate Despite Economic Crisis

Peru - The IOM Migration Profile for Peru, published this week in Lima, confirms that Peruvians continue to migrate at a rate of some 100,000 each year.

It is estimated that 3.5 million Peruvians, more than 10 per cent of the population, have migrated abroad. Some 2.4 million of them did so in the past 22 years.  Of this total, more than 70 per cent left the country to improve their economic situation.

Ninety per cent of Peruvian migrants are living in seven countries: United States 31.5 per cent; Spain 16.0 per cent; Argentina 14.3 per cent; Italy 10.1 per cent; Chile 8.8 per cent; Japan 4.1 per cent; and Venezuela 3.8 per cent.

Some 75 per cent of Peruvian migrants are aged between 19 and 49, with women representing a slight majority.  Amongst these, 15 per cent are scientists, professionals and technicians.   

“Although the country has seen a marked increase in the availability of jobs and salaries, and the economy has been growing at an annual rate of 7 per cent in the past five years, Peruvian migration continues.  At the height of the economic crisis, in 2008-2009, many Peruvians left the country and have yet to return.  The rate of returning migrants is small compared to the numbers that are opting to leave the country.  But in 2010 we saw a reduction of 4.9 per cent in the number of persons leaving. This may signal a new trend,” explains José Ivan Dávalos, IOM Chief of Mission in Peru.

Remittances are vital for families left behind.  According to Peru’s Central Bank, between 1990 and 2011, the country received a total of USD 24 billion in remittances.  In 2011, remittances increased by 6.4 per cent from the previous year to reach a total of USD 2.697 billion.   Remittances were sent mainly by Peruvian migrants in the United States (33.5 per cent), followed by Spain (15.9 per cent), Japan (9.2 per cent), Italy 8.2 per cent, and Chile (6.0 per cent).

Internal migration from rural to urban areas began in the mid-20th Century, and was mainly prompted by upheaval in the agricultural sector and the growth of industry, trade and services in the cities that initially provided jobs.  By 2010 the number of internal migrants reached 6.5 million persons.  The population living in Lima’s metropolitan area rose from 800,000 persons in 1940 to nine million today.  Peru’s urban dwellers account for 76 per cent of the population.

The Profile also reports an estimated 63,000 foreign residents, mainly from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and the United States.  

To address the increasing needs of the Peruvian diaspora, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs created the Sub-Secretariat of Peruvian Communities Abroad in 2001.  The same ministry also established the Roundtable for Migration Management, composed of public and private institutions, whose objective is the coordination, evaluation, proposal, prioritization and supervision of migration policies and actions.

The Profile underscores the need for the Government of Peru to strengthen its institutional capacity to address migration challenges, including the development of a national policy, as well as procedures for mainstreaming the rights of migrants.
The Profile also recommends modifying the current Migration Incentive Law, to provide greater support for the reintegration of migrants wishing to return to Peru.

The IOM Migration Profile for Peru is part of the EU-funded project “Strengthening the Dialogue and Cooperation between the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean to Establish Management Models on Migration and Development Policy”.

The main sources of information for the IOM Migration Profiles are the National Census, National Household Surveys and administrative registries.

Other IOM Migration Profiles in the Western Hemisphere include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Jamaica, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The Profile for Peru is available in Spanish at:

For more information please contact  

Carolina Santos
IOM Peru
Tel: +511 221 7209 Ext.145
Mobile: +51 968 216 777