Population of Azerbaijan has been estimated at 9593,0 thousand people as of beginning of 2015, with its high majority being in the productive age of between 15 and 64 years. With the population age averaging at 27.7 Azerbaijan has quite young, vibrant and dynamic population. Positive population growth rate of 0.66% (as of 2010), with birth rate being 20.74 births/1,000 population and death rate at the level of 9.75 deaths/1,000 population for the same period help to offset net migration rate of -4.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population.
Azerbaijan is known for rather low infant mortality despite the social and healthcare issues unresolved due to the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh conflict, which still is burdening the statistics.
Azeris 91,6%, Dagestani peoples 2,0%, Russians 1,3%, Armenians 1,3%, Other (Jews, Georgians, Kurds, Talyshs, Tatars, Tats, and Ukrainians) 2,2%
Note: Almost all Armenians live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region
Azerbaijan is also home to numerous smaller groups, such as Georgians, Kurds, Talysh, Tatars and Ukrainians. Some people argue that the number of Talysh is greater than officially recorded, as many of them are counted as Azerbaijanis. Around the town of Quba in the north live the Tats, also known as the Mountain Jews, who are to be found in Dagestan as well. Many Tats have immigrated to Israel in recent years, though this trend has slowed down and even reversed more recently. The country’s large Armenian population mostly emigrated to Armenia and to other countries with the beginning of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. During the same period, Azerbaijan also received a large influx of Azerbaijanis fleeing Armenia and later NagornoKarabakh and adjacent provinces occupied by the Armenians. Virtually all of Azerbaijan’s Armenians now live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The term Azerbaijan Diaspora’ today means Azerbaijanis settled in foreign countries. The definition of the notion “Azerbaijanis living in foreign countries” is given in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “About the state policy on the Azerbaijanis living in foreign countries”. It says that “Azerbaijanis living in foreign countries” are the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan and their children living abroad the Republic of Azerbaijan, former citizens of Azerbaijan SSR or the Republic of Azerbaijan living abroad the republic of Azerbaijan and their children, and individuals relating themselves to Azerbaijan on ethnic, language, cultural or historical ground.
Migration of Azerbaijanis to foreign countries was more intensive in early 20th century. Anti-Muslim and anti-Turk policy of tsarist Russia aimed at weakening the dominant position of Azerbaijanis in the Caucasus. The genocide carried out by Armenians during 1905-1906 and in 1918 and the policy of ethnic cleaning had the same strategic purpose.
After establishment of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan in 1918 the migration to the foreign countries lessened. The collapse of the Democratic Republic formed new situation. Serious persecutions of founders and supporters of the Democratic Republic by the Bolsheviks made them leave the country. This period is characterized by mass migration of Azerbaijanis to foreign countries.
The first attempt towards organization of Azerbaijan Diaspora was establishment of “Azerbaijan Culture Circle” in Ankara, Turkey on February 1, 1949. Saleh bey Sheykhzamanli, the son of Nagi bey Sheykhzamanli, the Minister of National Security of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, established in 1956 the ‘Azerbaijan society of America’ in the USA. Today the society is led by the granddaughter of Saleh bey, Ms. Tomris Azeri. Thus, establishment of Azerbaijan Diaspora started in the middle of the last century. We don’t have any earlier facts evidencing establishment of the communities and unions uniting Azerbaijanis. After World War II new period in the history of Azerbaijan Diaspora started. Number of compatriots
living in foreign countries during the war and peace increased. Those were Azerbaijanis taken hostages in the war and those who for various reasons left for Europe after the war. Cruel and merciless punishment mechanisms and bloody repressions of the Soviet regime prevented their return.
For years after World War II hard border regime applied by the Soviet Government prevented general flow abroad the USSR. But dissident movement was becoming greater in numbers. Soviet Azerbaijan was not an exception.
Since early 1970s national revival, development of economy, culture, science and education, perfection of moral values stimulated national self-consciousness. In 1970-80s Heydar Aliyev did his best to preserve the historical memory of the people, spurring development of culture and making Azerbaijan more popular in the world.
The Diaspora issues were driven backstage because of the existing political realities. Nevertheless, serious attempts were made to develop culture, art, and science. Intensification of cultural relations in foreign countries, development of translation, and establishment of the Azerbaijan Cultural Relations Society with the help of the Azerbaijanis living abroad «Veten» society served the unification of compatriots and strengthened their relations with the Motherland. The thorough development of our country awoke the feeling of national pride and increased the interest and bounds of Azerbaijanis to their homeland.
Heydar Aliyev paid particular attention to intensification of scientific and intellectual potential. More than 15,000 Azerbaijanis got the opportunity to get education in leading educational institutions of the USSR. Majority of the professional community returned to Azerbaijan and served its development. Another part settled in the cities they were studying in.
The events of the January 20, 1990 remained in the history as great example of the national unity of Azerbaijani people. The tragedy united them and revealed the power of world Azerbaijanis. Heydar Aliyev’s statement in Moscow in the aftermath of January 20th expressed the political will of the people, stimulating nationalistic feelings.
There still is a need to find out a more favorable solution for the problems and difficulties in formational processes of the national Diaspora living in foreign countries. About 300 communities and organizations function in the majority of the world countries today. Common purpose united many societies and associations functioning separately, such as All-Russia Azerbaijani Congress, the Congress of Ukrainian Azerbaijanis, Federal National – Cultural Autonomy of Azerbaijanis in Russia, German Federation of Azerbaijan Societies, Sweden-Azerbaijan Federation, ‘Turan’ congress of Azerbaijanis from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan and Social Association “Azeri” in Kyrgyzstan. As a result of concerted efforts, about 40 new Azerbaijani communities were established in 2004 in Europe, Northern America, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, Poland, United Arabian Emirates, Arabic Republic of Egypt, Turkey, the US. The State Committee on the Affairs with Azerbaijanis living Foreign Countries follows the main objective of achieving unification of Diaspora organizations in foreign countries. The committee aims to gather all the Azerbaijanis living in foreign countries in communities and associations.