On the whole, South American immigrants to the United States tend to be better educated and more prosperous than other Hispanic newcomers.
They tend to be middle-class people with technical skills and a strong belief in education. Many come from cities rather than rural areas.
One reason: travel to the United States is expensive. It is hard for a poor person to afford the airfare. The distance to New York City from Lima, Peru, is greater than that from London, England.
Another is that middle-class people have the most to lose from such problems as high inflation and governments that penalize a person for belonging to the wrong party.
With their education and skills, South Americans tend to adapt readily to life in the United States.
Because of a lack of English or necessary credentials, they may be forced at first to accept lower-status jobs than they might have held in their native country: a lawyer working as a clerk; an engineer working in a factory.
But many eventually achieve a standard of living higher than what they could have had at home.