Family Life   in   Peru
All About
Families in Peru are very close. In one house you might find parents, children, grandparents and other relatives. In wealthier homes you might even find servants living with the families. Elderly people are looked after and often live with their children and grandchildren.

Families and communities celebrate many fiestas and all the important events in the lives of members - birthdays, baptisms, graduations, weddings and anniversaries.

Quechua Families
Native Quechua families usually have fewer members than families from Spanish ancestors. This is because Hispanic (Spanish) families have strong ties to both the mother's and the father's families, whereas Native families tend to be close only to the father's side. Property is passed on to the male children in these families. 
    Quechua Culture
Hispanic (Spanish) Families
Families whose members have come from Spanish or mixed (half Spanish and half Native) are usually led by the father or grandfather. The male family members usually make decisions and control how and where the family lives.
Women traditionally look after the home and raise the children. Today, women are making more of the decisions about how the family is run.  More women are also working at jobs outside the home.
For children of Hispanic families, going to school is expected. The more well-off the families are, the more likely it is that the children go to a private school. 
 Peru Family Life
Rural Family Life in the Highlands

Native Quechua people of Peru mostly live in the highlands near the Andes Mountains and along the coast. Those who live in the highlands are farmers. 

When these traditional families walk to market, each member carries their own bundles of goods to sell or trade, walking single file with the husband leading the way, followed by his wife and then the children. The grown-up children of these families often move to the large cities to look for jobs.

Rural families begin their day very early with chores. These usually include looking after the animals, cutting the eucalyptus firewood, fetching water, and many other smaller jobs. 

Working in the fields means walking to the faraway chacras, which are often much higher up in the mountains than the home and can only be reached by several hours of walking. If these chacras are very far away from the home, the farmers often build a rough hut to store tools or stay for a few days at a time. 

Horses and mules are more expensive to buy and keep than burros, which are the most common work animals in the highlands. Llamas and alpacas are found in the central and southern Andes, where they are still used a great deal for transportation, wool and meat.
Women and girls in the highlands always keep their hands at work spinning wool that will later to be woven into clothing, blankets, and ponchos.
People living in the highlands usually do not have modern items like televisions, electronic gadgets or appliances, but wealthier people in the cities often do. 
Life in the Andes
Crafts of the Andes

Rural Family Life in the Selva

People living in the Selva region depend on fishing, hunting, and gathering food from the forest. 
Farming also takes place in this region, but usually near a larger river or where rich soil exists. A farmer will grow as many as fifteen different crops on a small plot for only three to five years, then move to another fresh area. 
Farmers in this region will also plant one or just a few crops where flooding river water has left a deposit of silt.

Larger coffee plantations have begun to develop in this area. 

 Crafts of the Rainforest

Life in the Cities

The level of poverty especially in cities is quite high, with over half of the population having a difficult time meeting their needs each day.  People living in poverty in the larger cities often barely survive with little work, a small amount of money and living in houses made of scrap materials.

Something to Think About

The chart above shows how many years people in each of the countries are expected to live. 
Why would people be expected to live longer in some countries than in others?
This is a rice and bean farm in the selva region.
Almost half (47%)  of the people that live in Lima, the capital city of Peru, are squatters. These people have moved from rural areas to find work. They often live in homes built of found materials such as cardboard, bamboo, metal sheets and wood, on land that was not bought by them.

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A farm outside of Pukara in southern Peru.