The vast majority of the inhabitants of the Azores are Portuguese, descendants of 15th century immigrants from Algarve and from Minho, with a minor Dutch admixture (particularly from Flanders). The nature of the economy dictated that African slavery never became common in the Azores because they were sent to Brazil and the Caribbean, only a few remained in the Azores to help with domestic chores, although the islands sometimes served as a waypoint for ships carrying African slaves.


Since the 17th century, many Azoreans have emigrated, mainly to Brazil, the United States and Canada. Rhode Island and South-eastern Massachusetts, especially the cities of New Bedford and Fall River have been, and continue to be the primary destination for Azorean emigrants. Northern California was the final destination for many of the Massachusetts immigrants who then moved on to the San Joaquin Valley. In 1919, there were approximately 300,000 people in the Azores while there were 100,000 Azoreans in the United States. Many Azoreans also moved to Bermuda and pre-US. Hawaii. From 1961 to 1977, about 150,000 Azoreans immigrated to the United States.


Florianópolis and Porto Alegre in the Southern Region of Brazil were founded by Azoreans, who accounted for over half of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina's population in the late 18th century.