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In order to remain in the demographic window of opportunity, the total fertility rate should not fall below 2.
In order to remain in the demographic window of opportunity, the total fertility rate should not fall below 2.

Higher Marriage Age, Infertility Hindering Larger Families

Currently, 70% of Iran’s population of 80 million is between the ages 16 and 64, which means the country still has a demographic window of opportunity

Higher Marriage Age, Infertility Hindering Larger Families

About 20% of married couples (or three million couples from the total 15 million couples in the country) suffer from some kind of infertility problem.
“Although most of the couples can have children after treatment, the procedures for infertility are time-consuming (as well as costly), and therefore even those who are prepared to go in for treatment may not be able to beget as many children as they desire,” said Dr Mohammad Mohammad Eslami, technical deputy of the Health Ministry’s Family, Population and School Health Office.
The other obstacle to larger families is the increase in average marriage age. The figure is 23.7 years for women and 27.5 for men, the Persian-language journal ‘Salamat’ reported.
Eslami cited the migration of men to bigger cities from rural and semi-urban regions in search of jobs, and consequently the delay in marriage, as one of the reasons for low population growth rate which is presently 1.3%.
“Delay in marriage and starting families contributes to an ageing population,” he noted.
Currently, 70% of Iran’s population of 80 million is between the ages 16 and 64, which means the country still has a “demographic window of opportunity.” Demographic window is defined as the period of time in a nation’s demographic evolution when the proportion of population of working age group is particularly prominent.
Demographic window of opportunity lasts for three to four decades depending upon the country. Because of the mechanical link between fertility levels and age structures, the timing and duration of this period is closely associated to fertility rates.
When birth rates fall, the age pyramid first shrinks with gradually lower proportions of young population (under 15), and there is decrease in dependency ratio, or age-population ratio of those typically not in the labor force (the dependent parts, ages 0 to 14 and 65+) and those typically in the labor force (the productive parts, ages 15 to 64). Dependency ratio is used to measure the pressure on productive population.
  Declining Fertility Rates
“In order to remain in the demographic window of opportunity, the total fertility rate (TFR) or the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime, should not fall below 2.1,” said Dr Mohammad Mirzaee, professor of demography and a board member of Tehran University.
Currently TFR is 2 in the country and therefore implementation of reproductive health programs and removing obstacles in the way of having more children is a necessity, he told the publication.
The TFR was 1.8 before implementation of the 2014 Health Reform Plan. Under the health reforms, free-of-charge infertility treatment services are given to infertile couples.
The TFR also varies among the provinces. It is between 1.8 and 2.1, with the highest in Sistan-Baluchestan with a rate of 2.1 and the lowest in Gilan and Tehran with 1.3 and 1.4 respectively, said Mohammad Esmaeil Motlaq, head of the Population, Family and School Health Office.
“When 15% of the population becomes older than 65, the country is considered ageing. Many European countries today are considered as aged,” he said.
Thanks to the provision of health packages to expectant mothers in deprived areas as well as dispensing midwives across all health centers, the rate of infant mortality decreased to 9.5 per 1000 live births in 2016.  The under-five-mortality rate also decreased to 15 per 1000 live births.

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