Rapid Migration Leads to Rural Desertion

Rapid Migration Leads to Rural DesertionRapid Migration Leads to Rural Desertion

Migration from villages to metropolises is a phenomenon that has increased rapidly over the past two decades, and even historically important villages, which have the potentials to improve the country’s tourism industry, have been facing this problem.

Migration is an inevitable global phenomenon and stems from economic and social development; but this process has taken a rapid pace in Iran; from a 70% rural population in the year 1956, today only 28% of the population remains in the rural areas. Several villages in various parts of the country have been completely deserted and in fact abandoned, Mehr News Agency quoted Abbas Asgari Nadoushan, professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Yazd University, as saying.

Yazd is also among the provinces where the rural population has declined sharply and from a population of 1.74 million, only 200,000 villagers have stayed behind. As Yazd Province is located in the country’s arid part, it has faced drought for 16 years in the past two decades. Rural migration is more common in this province and from its 3,438 villages, 2,295 villages are now abandoned.

 Water Crisis

Although there are many factors influencing migration from rural provincial areas to large cities including attractions of the metropolises and lack of job and educational facilities in rural areas, however, the impact of the water crisis shouldn’t be ignored.

The rural population is further set to decrease from the current 28.5% to 22% by the year 2031.

Migration is a selective process and doesn’t affect everyone equally. As an example, usually the migration rate is higher among young, single, male, educated people, Nadoushan said. The process will have a number of implications for the village inhabitants. As an example, with migration of younger people, the rural population is aging and “the elderly population which may not be necessarily productive will have different requirements.” In addition, a change in gender composition has led to an increase in marriage age of girls with many “having lost their chances of marriage and bearing children as their biological clock stops.”


At present, in several villages, many development measures have been taken for restoration of ancient castles and other historical attractions.

 “With tourism potentials increasing, it can prevent further decline in the village population,” Nadoushan added.

One of the employment opportunities that can be considered to achieve sustainable livelihoods of rural people is sustainable tourism. And given that tourism can help inject urban income into rural areas, it will be effective in reversing the migration process; and perhaps even seen an urban movement to rural areas to capitalize on the tourism opportunities, he said.