On 17 May 1980, the eve of Peru's presidential election, groups of armed youths attacked polling places in the southern Andean department of Ayacucho. This marked the beginning of the Shining Path's revolutionary uprising against the government of Peru. The indigenous communities of the southern Andes proved to be the most fertile ground for Sendero's efforts. For many of these communities, a land reform program had left them worse off economically than they had been prior to land reform. Population density in Ayacucho had increased by over 25 percent between 1961 and 1980. Life expectancy was 44 years in the southern highlands versus 54 on the coast.