In the basins and valleys of the Highlands, the population is predominantely Indian. Spanish is spoken by about two thirds of the population, the majority of Indians still speak Quechua and Aymara too. About 93 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.
Most of Peru is sparsely populated, with large areas in the Andes and eastern lowlands almost inhabited. The average population density for the country as a whole is 17 inhabitants per square kilometer (43 per square mile). Only a comparatively small part of the country - the coastal region and the high level surface of the Andes- has a dense population.
Extensive internal migrations and demographic changes have taken place since the beginning of the twentieth century. Many people migrated from the higher and poorer settled areas of the highlands to the coastal region and the eastern lowlands. Toward the end of the nineteenth century about 70 percent of the Peruvians lived in the highlands, 25 percent in the coastal region, and 5 percent in the eastern lowlands. In early 1990, only about one third of the population lives in the highlands, and more than half dwells in the coastal region.About 71 percent is urban, 25 percent of which lives in the conurbation of Lima, which includes the capital, its port Callao, and a number of satellite towns.