Ethnic Groups Of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani folk dancers. Editorial credit: pcruciatti /
Azerbaijani folk dancers. Editorial credit: pcruciatti /

The Republic of Azerbaijan is located in the crossroad area of Southeastern Europe and Southwest Asia known as South Caucasus. Azerbaijan is bordered by Armenia, Russia, Iran, Georgia, and the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan has a population of more than 9 million with 52% being urban population while 48% being rural population. The vast majority of the country's residents are ethnic Azerbaijanis, while Lezgins are the largest ethnic minority. There are some other minority ethnic groups in Azerbaijan.

Ethnic Groups Of Azerbaijan


The Azerbaijani also known as Azerbaijani Turks are an ethnic group that is found in the independent Republic of Iran and Iranian Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani are the second most populous ethnic group among the Turkic peoples after the Anatolian Turks. The Azerbaijani are also known as Azeri which refers to the Turkic people of Azerbaijan who were initially referred to as Turkmens, Turks, Ajam, Muslims, and Persians back when religious identification prevailed over ethnic identification. The Azerbaijani are predominantly Shia'i Muslims with a mixed cultural heritage which includes the Iranian, Turkic, and Caucasian elements whose official dialect is Azerbaijani. The Azerbaijani are the largest ethnic group in Azerbaijan with a total of 92% of the population.


The Lezgins are the second largest ethnic group and the largest ethnic minority group in Azerbaijan. Lezgins mostly reside in Northeastern Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan and their primary language is Lezgian. The present day Lezgins are more familiar with the Northeast Caucasian dialects. Lezgins are both linguistically and culturally closely related to the Aghuls and distantly related to the Tabasarans, Tsakhurs, and Rutuls and together with the people of northern Azerbaijan make up the indigenous Lezgic people. The Lezgins are predominantly Sunni Muslims with a small group of Shia Muslims. The Lezgins are best known for folk art including folk dance and music, and they account for 2% of Azerbaijan's population.


The Russians are the second largest minority group in Azerbaijan. The Russians first arrived in Azerbaijan during the first half of the 19th century as civilian Settlers after the Treaty of Turkmenchay was ratified. In the other half of the 19th century, Orthodox Russian immigrants started settling in the South region of Caucasus without any authorization. Interethnic conflicts together with the suppression from the Azerbaijan army led to most of the Russian population moving to the North of Caucasus. Russian is the main dialect for the Russians of Azerbaijan, and they are predominantly Orthodox Christians. Russians in Azerbaijan account for 1% of the population.


The Armenians of Azerbaijan once lived in large numbers in both modern state and Soviet Azerbaijan. Due to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, most of the Armenian ethnic group in Azerbaijan had to flee the country with the remaining living in the Nagorno-Karabakh which is controlled by the breakaway region. Most of the Armenian population in Azerbaijan are either married to the Azeri or are of both Armenian and Azeri descent. The Armenians on Azerbaijan are at risk of Azeri attacks and the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Armenians account for 1% of Azerbaijan's population.


The Talyshi are an indigenous ethnic group that is shared between Azerbaijan and Iran. The Talyshi speak the Talysh dialect in the southern parts of Azerbaijan. The Talyshi originated from the southwest region of the Caspian Sea. The Talyshi are said to have anthropologically belonged to the Iranian Indo-European people. The Talyshi accounts for 1% of the Azerbaijan population.

Demographics Of Azerbaijan

The demographic trends in Azerbaijan saw a notable change caused by both the Nagorno-Karabakh War and the fall of the Soviet Union which resulted in a significant number of ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan leaving the country. Apart from the primary ethnicity in Azerbaijan being Azerbaijani, there are some other minority ethnic groups aside from the three mentioned above. The other ethnic minority groups in Azerbaijan include the Avars, Ashkenazi Jews, and Georgians who account for 2% of the population.

Ethnic Groups Of Azerbaijan

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Population in Azerbaijan
1 Azerbaijani 92%
2 Lezgin 2%
3 Armenian 1%
4 Russian 1%
5 Talyshi 1%
Other Ethnic Groups 2%

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