Peru is the fourth most populous country in South America, after Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina, with 22,639,444 inhabitants, according to the IX Population Census in 19931. Most of the population (about 70%) lives in large cities, such as Lima, Trujillo, Cuzco, Piura, and Chiclayo, with the remaining living in rural villages. The total population is evenly divided between men and women. Currently, age distribution indicates that 37% of the population is under 15 years of age. The annual average growth from 1981 to 1993 was 2.2%, which continues the declining growth rate in the last 30 years. Fertility has declined in Lima (the capital) and in other major cities, but it is still high in rural villages among uneducated women. According to the most recent demographic surveys1, by the end of their reproductive lives, women without education will have four times more children than those with higher education, and women in rural areas will have three times more children than the residents of the capital. Infant mortality has declined from 73 per 1000 to 55 per 1000 in urban areas. However, in rural areas, infant mortality is still over 70 per 1000. These statistics show that Peru has not yet resolved some basic health problems. The primary factors are very little education, poverty, an unhealthy environment, and a lack of political resources to solve these problems.


Down Syndrome Infant Mortality Prenatal Diagnosis Spina Bifida Genetic Service 
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  1. 1.
    Inei. Peru: Resultados Definitivos. Perfil Socio Demografico Coleccion Analisis Censal No. 7 Lima, 1994.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ferrando, D. Aborto Inducido Una Realidad Latinoamericana. New York: The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Colegio Medico Del Peru. Salud Poblacion Y Desarrollo. Peruvian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1994.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

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  • Teresa Perez

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