An Overview of Peruvian American in the U.S.
The soft drink giant Coca-Cola owns the Inca Kola trademark in almost every country–but Peru chooses to keep its own. Created in 1935, the bubblegum flavored, almost golden drink is one of Peru’s national icons. And besides colorful tapestries and the ingenuity of Machu Picchu that wowed the world, Peruvians are also known for their strong sense of family and religion. Today, there are 567,153 (0.18 percent of the population) Peruvian Americans in the U.S. according to the 2010 American Community Survey.
The largest wave or Peruvian immigrants arrived after World War II mainly because of Peru’s economic and political instability back then. Strong family ties allowed waves of Peruvian immigrants to continue to move and settle with established families in the U.S. for the search of a better economic life. Most have settled in metropolitan cities including Paterson, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Besides their strong family ties (76.4 percent of Peruvian Americans live in a family household), the Catholic Church have also strongly helped them assimilate with society as more than 90 percent of Peruvian Americans are Roman Catholics. Although 43.2 percent speak English less than “very well,” their native language, Spanish, all the more helped them adjust and identify with one of the largest ethnic groups—Hispanics.
Although only 29.7 percent of Peruvian Americans 25 years and over have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 74.2 percent of 16 years and over are employed mostly in service, sales and office occupations. Their median household income of $49,672 comes close to the national average of $51,369. Some of their most celebrated holidays are Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Christmas. Actors Benjamin Bratt, Josh Keaton and Manuel Pablo Amao are only some of the most notable Peruvian Americans we know today.