|— City —|
|• Mayor||Lesley Ryan|
|• Total||0.53 sq mi (1.37 km2)|
|• Land||0.53 sq mi (1.37 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,083 ft (330 m)|
|• Estimate (2011)||868|
|• Density||1,632.1/sq mi (630.2/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0832047|
The first attempt to settle the community occurred in 1853 when some residents of Peru, Illinois. However troops from Fort Kearney forced them to leave because Nebraska Territory was still occupied by the Otoe (tribe). They then temporarily settled across the Missouri River at Sonora (now Watson, Missouri). In 1857 a community formed around a trading post called Mount Vernon on the bluffs above the river on the Nebraska side.
In 1857 settlers founded Peru down the hill from Mount Vernon directly on the Missouri River. In 1861 a Methodist school called Mount Vernon Academy opened. In 1867 the school (which became Peru State College) became the state's first normal school.
Floods in the 1860s changed the course of the river pushing it nearly a mile from Peru. An 1867 flood caused the Nebraska community of McKissick Island northeast of Peru to be surrounded by Missouri land and cause a border dispute that would not be resolved until 1999.
As of the census of 2010, there were 865 people, 225 households, and 99 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,632.1 inhabitants per square mile (630.2 /km2). There were 285 housing units at an average density of 537.7 per square mile (207.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.8% White, 4.3% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.
There were 225 households out of which 22.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.7% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 56.0% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.95.
The median age in the city was 21.4 years. 11.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 56.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 12.6% were from 25 to 44; 14.2% were from 45 to 64; and 4.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 54.3% male and 45.7% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 569 people, 246 households, and 132 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,060.5 people per square mile (406.8/km2). There were 290 housing units at an average density of 540.5 per square mile (207.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.66% White, 0.35% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 1.76% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.99% of the population.
There were 246 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.3% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 22.3% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 103.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.7 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $27,216, and the median income for a family was $39,875. Males had a median income of $28,125 versus $22,500 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,637. About 16.0% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.6% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.
In 2011, the city was selected by the Republic of Peru for its "Marca Perú" campaign to promote national pride. A film crew and a number of Peruvian celebrities, including world surfing champion Sofia Mulanovich, tenor Juan Diego Flores, Academy Award nominee Magaly Solier, Huayno singer Dina Páucar, and chef Gaston Acurio visited the city to film a documentary-style commercial. Páucar, dressed in ethnic Peruvian costume, led a llama through the streets; Peruvian foods such as their national style of cebiche, and Peruvian soft drink Inca Kola were served at a street festival; the Peruvian surfing team performed on tarpaulins in a college parking lot; and an acute accent was painted over the "u" on the city's water tower.
Peru State College, the first college in Nebraska, is located in Peru.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Documental Marca Peru". El Comercio, Peru. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- Gonzalez, Cindy. "From one Peru to another". Omaha World-Herald. 2011-04-17. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
- "Activities Along Main Street, College Campus Included in Peru Meets Peru". Nemaha County Herald. 2011-04-22. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
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