Reverse Migration New Trend

Reverse Migration New Trend
Reverse Migration New Trend

The emergence of a new wave of “reverse migration” in the country, from bigger cities to nearby smaller towns and suburban areas, cannot be overlooked in the two-way process of migration.

There are two primary reasons for this growing trend. In the first place, the population shift from mostly smaller cities to suburban areas and nearby towns of metropolises or bigger cities can be attributed to better employment opportunities in the metropolises, like Tehran, which are within commuting distance, ‘Eqtesad’ online reported.

For instance, it is seen that currently, many people from bigger cities are shifting to smaller towns around Parand industrial zone located in Tehran Province, 45 km southwest of the capital Tehran. According to figures, nearly 4,672 people are employed in the industrial zone spread over 260 hectares. The several factories in the area produce farm tools, auto parts and home appliances.

Most suburban growth is a consequence of people moving from rural areas and small towns to the major metropolitan areas. It is the appeal of large metropolitan places that drives suburban growth.

Larger metropolitan areas have more lucrative employment opportunities and generally have higher incomes than smaller metropolitan areas. This is particularly the case in developing countries. As a result, the big urban areas attract people seeking to escape what are often the stagnant or even declining economies in smaller areas, according to

In addition to job opportunities, there are other reasons too for the shifting population trends.

  Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is the second main reason why people move from cities, where the cost of living is far too high, to smaller places. In the past few years, many people have migrated to the northern provinces including Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan with the main aim of buying a permanent home. The pleasant climate and comparatively low cost of housing has encouraged people to move lock, stock and barrel to these areas.

Ahmad Shamloo, deputy of rural development at the Housing Foundation of Islamic Revolution, recently said that in the forthcoming five-year economic development plan (2016-2021), provision of incentives to encourage people to move from cities to smaller towns and rural areas has been considered.

“These will include providing agricultural lands (in places where the foundation owns land) at lower rates to applicants, and sanctioning bigger loans to prospective entrepreneurs,” he said, quoted by ISNA.

Elaborating on the foundation’s current plan, he said if 200 families come together to form a group to launch a business enterprise, they are eligible for loans at 3% and 0% interest rates, for people in villages and border areas, respectively.

The interest rates would be 10% in villages and 7% in border areas, if a group comprises less than 200 families, he added.

Semnan Province, due to its proximity to the northern provinces, has seen large population shifts mainly to Golestan and Mazandaran. Many people living in the smaller cities of Semnan Province have left their hometowns in search of affordable housing in the lush, beautiful northern villages.

Gilan and Mazandaran are also close to Tehran Province and it is seen that many Tehranis, particularly from the smaller provincial towns are opting for the northern provinces to purchase a home.

Environmental experts, meanwhile, have expressed concern that the high volume of migration to the northern provinces can lead “to a change in the environmental and cultural textures” of the region.

At present, the destination of 17% of all urban to rural migrations is the three provinces to the north.

  Deserted Villages

According to figures released by Iran’s Statistical Research and Training Center affiliated to the Management and Planning Organization (MPO), following a recent study on ‘migration within the country’, it is seen that in 59% of the population shifts, people have chosen to move to provinces near to their native towns and not far-flung places.

Although it appears that the rural-urban migration trend is reversing in the country, however, the movement of people from rural areas to bigger cities is still far higher than urban to rural. Statistics show that in the year 1956, the rural population comprised 70% of the total population of 19 million, while in the year 2015, the rural population stood at 28% from the total population of 80 million.

Currently, several thousand villages in various parts of the country have been completely deserted and in fact abandoned partly due to the consecutive years of drought in the past decade and a half that saw a large influx of people migrating to cities in search of jobs.

Earlier, experts had warned that if the trend continues, the rural population will further decline to 22% by the year 2031.