The population is irregularly distributed
throughout the islands of the Azores. The majority of the residents
live in São Miguel (53%), followed by Terceira (24%), Pico (6%),
Faial (6%), São Jorge (4%), Santa Maria (3%), Graciosa (2%), Flores
(2%) and Corvo (0.2%).
The breeding of livestock
is very important to the local economy. In Sao Miguel there is
almost one cow per person. Fresh milk is the primary raw material
used in the Azorean transformation industry. Cheese, butter and
powdered milk are the principal goods exported. Meat production
is also important to the Azorean economy. High quality beef is
exported to both Madeira and continental Portugal. Pork and eggs
are primarily produced for the regional market.
The fishing industry provides
a major potential for future growth. The economic exclusive
zone of the Azores contains a rich and diverse aquatic population,
providing a vast array of fresh fish for export as well as canning.
Recently some companies have begun smoking fish for domestic
consumption and export. Economically the most important species
is tuna, which is the principal catch of the commercial fishing
fleet. The major catch of the nonindustrial or artisan fishing
fleet includes herring, sea bream, conger eel, fork beard and
Representing a small
percentage of the economy are the sugar beet, chicory, tea,
passion fruit and pineapple. The pineapple (Ananassa Sativus,
Lindl.) is grown in greenhouses on Sao Miguel (Ponta Delgada,
Lagoa and Vila Franca). It was brought to the Island from South
America as an ornamental plant about the middle of the 19th
century. It was grown on the islands to supply the tables of
The transformation industries focus on the production
of foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco in conjunction with smaller
industries processing lumber and cork. The majority of these
industries is found in São Miguel. Thermal energy is the base
for the production of electricity in the region, however other
alternatives such as hydro, geothermal and wind generated electricity
are in the experimental stage.
within the national borders provides the primary market
for Azorean products. Nevertheless foreign trade plays
an increasingly important part in the regional economy.
Imports are concentrated in products such as cereals,
fuels, machinery, transportation materials and primary
materials. The most significant export for the Azorean
economy are fish preserves. The principal product, canned
tuna is marketed mainly in Italy.
geographical dispersion of the archipelago generates increased
movement of merchandise due to the transfer of essential
products that are not available on the smaller islands.
The distance which separates the region from continental
Portugal, also contributes to the increased traffic especially
in terms of passengers travelling to the region and between