This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Will Iranians Respond to the Government's Pronatalist Policies?

Iran has one of the lowest levels of fertility of any Muslim-majority country, helped along by a long-term government policy aimed at keeping family size at two children in order to promote economic development. This situation has bothered Iranian President Ahmadinejad ever since he was first elected to office in 2005. His view is that population growth is good, not bad, and the New York Times has reported that the government of Iran has implemented a pronatalist policy aimed at encouraging childbearing:
Under the new plan, each child born in the current Iranian year, which began March 21, will receive a deposit of $950 in a government bank account. The child will then receive $95 every year until reaching 18. Parents will be expected to pay matching amounts into the accounts. Recipients will then be permitted to withdraw the money at the age of 20 and can use it for education, marriage, health or housing.

It is not clear that the government can really afford this if a lot of couples took them up on it, nor is there much evidence from past experiences in other countries that this kind of incentive will be taken up by enough women to really make a demographic difference. Even more importantly, there is not yet any sign that the government has pulled back on the provision of contraception--that might well cause another set of protests.


  1. In my opinion, women (and men) in Iran are now so used to having a small family that getting them to change their fertility behavior would be extremely difficult. Monetary incentives have not shown much sucess in other countries. You're right though, about the only way they could probably bring about some change would be to stop supporting/providing family planning, and that could be quite dangerous.

  2. This is an interesting program, do we have any indication now, two years later, if it is working, or if many people have accepted it?