Demographic Transition in Iran: Changes and Challenges

  • Meimanat Hosseini-Chavoshi
  • Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi


Iran has experienced remarkable demographic changes over the last three decades. After a major political shift from a monarchy to an Islamic Republic in 1979, the new government took a pronatalist ideology which resulted in the suspension of family planning programs and encouragement of early marriage and high fertility. However, the high fertility regime was short lived, and the government reversed population policies and programs in favor of fertility control in late 1980s. Rural development, advancement of education particularly for girls, and nationwide health network system providing free primary health care and family planning services accelerated fertility decline in all provinces as well as in the rural areas. Total fertility rate fell from around 7.0 births per woman in the early 1980s to the replacement level in 2000, and to the below replacement level by mid-2000s. These fertility changes have led to a population with a young age structure which in combination with the expansion of education created the so called ‘demographic window’ for the country. While potentially this ‘golden opportunity’ can result in economic prosperity, the current economic and political situation may hinder the positive prospects in the foreseeable future. Further fertility decline is projected for Iran, and the dynamics of current population calls for the revision of population policies and plans in the country.


Total Fertility Rate Fertility Decline Divorce Rate Family Planning Service Family Planning Program 
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Some portions of this chapter draw upon previous unpublished report supported by the UNFPA-Tehran.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meimanat Hosseini-Chavoshi
    • 1
  • Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Australian Demographic and Social Research InstituteAustralian National UniversityActonAustralia
  2. 2.Demography DepartmentUniversity of TehranTehranIran

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