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Census Finds Alarming Rise in Urban Growth

Over the past five years, 4.7 million people relocated, with urban areas accounting for 84% of the destinations
 Iran’s population is just above 79.92 million, which is 4.77 million more compared to the last official figure reported in 2011. Iran’s population is just above 79.92 million, which is 4.77 million more compared to the last official figure reported in 2011.
During the 2011-16 period, the median age increased from 29.8 to 31.1 — the first time ever it exceeded 30

The findings of the recent National Population and Housing Census show that during the past five years (March 2011-16) the urban population increased by 2.6%, accounting for 74% of the total population.

“Now hardly 26% of Iranians live in rural areas,” said Pedram Soltani, the deputy head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.

Iran’s population is just above 79.92 million, which is 4.77 million more compared to the last official figure reported in 2011.

“The average size of Iranian households has also decreased from 3.5 members per household to 3.3 members,” he said on his personal channel on the messaging app Telegram.

Average size of rural households has also decreased from the previous 3.7 members to 3.4  per household, “which means that for the first time in Iran the average family size in both rural regions and large urban areas is almost the same.”

The shrinking size of families in rural areas and their dwindling growth rates can be attributed to high rates of rural-urban migration and absence of fathers as many men leave their families behind to seek jobs in big cities.

Over the past five years, 4.7 million people relocated, with urban areas accounting for 84% of the destinations.

Although there are some reports on ‘reverse migration’ – from bigger cities to nearby smaller towns and suburban areas – in recent years, they seem to contradict ground realities.

Only 15.6% of the total migration over the past 10 years was to rural areas.

Earlier Abolfazl Razavi, deputy to the first vice-president for rural development and deprived areas, had said that out of the 64,000 villages in the country 33,000 have been deserted and 25,000 are each inhabited by less than 20 households.

  Aging Population

Stating that the population growth rate has dropped from 1.29% to 1.24%, Soltani said, “The declining rate is 0.73% in rural areas and 1.97% in urban areas.”

During the 2011-16 period, population in the 15-29 age bracket decreased by 6.4% and the 30-64 group increased by 5.5%. Also, the median age has increased from 29.8 to 31.1.

“It is the first time that the median age has exceeded 30,” he said.

The results also indicate that single-member families account for 8.5% of Iranian households. The figure has increased by 20% compared to 2011.

“The reason for the increase could be attributed to the rapidly aging population and sharp decline in marriages,” he said.

Driven by falling fertility rates and remarkable increase in life expectancy, the average age of the population will continue to rise.

As people age, their health needs tend to become more complex as a result of the increased likelihood of having one or more chronic ailments.

Health systems need to be transformed so that they can ensure affordable access to evidence-based medical interventions that respond to the needs of older people and can help prevent care dependency later in life.

The population and housing census used to be conducted once a decade in Iran between 1956 and 2006. The first such census was undertaken by the Bureau of General Statistics in 1956; subsequent censuses were conducted by the SCI in 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996 and 2006.

The Cabinet passed a ruling in 2007 whereby the interval for population and housing census was reduced from 10 years to five.

The 2011 census was the seventh and the latest National Population and Housing Census of the country.

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