Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Book
Title National and provincial level fertility trends in Iran, 1972-2006
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Publisher Springer
URL http://demography.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publications/working-papers/94.pdf
The Islamic Republic of Iran has experienced major cultural, religious, political, economic and
demographic changes during the last three decades. The three decades following the 1966 Census
are very important as they reveal the demographic changes occurring due to different population
policies in Iran; an antinatalist policy adopted by the monarchy during 1967–78; a pronatalist
policy during 1979–1988; and an antinatalist policy introduced by the Islamic government since
1988. Therefore, Iran is a remarkable case study of the interwoven processes of cultural, social,
economic, political and demographic change.
This paper aims to review the trends and changes in fertility in Iran. Own-children data from the
1986 and 1996 Censuses as well as the 2000 Iran Demographic and Health Survey (IDHS) allow
us to analyze single-year fluctuations of fertility over the last three decades. The paper describes
the levels, trends and patterns of fertility in Iran by rural and urban areas during the period 1972–
2000. Then, provincial-level fertility trends and patterns are examined at both rural and urban
areas. Next, attention is then given to the attainment of below-replacement level fertility in various
provinces of Iran. Finally, the future prospect for fertility is discussed.
The results show that Iran experienced modest decline in fertility during the 1970s followed by a
rise in fertility during the 1976–1984 period, partly due to the suspension of the family planning
program by the government. The rise was, however, short lived. The Total Fertility Rate began to
decline from 1985 and has declined sharply since 1988 dropping from 5.5 in 1988 to below 2.8 in
199. It reached near-replacement level (2.26) during the period 1998–2000. The figure for the year
2000 is 2.17. The decline has been observed in all provinces and urban and rural areas of the
country despite varying levels of socio-economic development. Several provinces and urban as
well as rural areas of the country have experienced below-replacement level fertility. We argue
that fertility in Iran will continue to fall in the present decade and, maybe, beyond this decade. A
long period of below replacement fertility that corresponds with the years in which the very large
post-revolutionary birth cohort passes through the childbearing years would be a favourable
outcome for Iranian development as it would limit the expected rise in births ensuing from the
baby-boom generation’s echo effect, so long as this does not lead to social entrenchment of very
low fertility (under 1.5 births per woman).

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