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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Has Iran's Fertility Level Climbed Back up to Replacement?

A couple of months ago, I discussed the eye-popping drop in fertility experienced by Iran's population. In 1980 the average woman in Iran was having about 6 children, but by 2000 that had dropped to replacement level, and it has recently been below replacement level, according to data from the UN Population Division and the Population Reference Bureau. There may have been a recent rise back up to replacement level, however, according to a story in The Tehran Times that Abu Daoud linked us to. The report is from December 2017, but this is the first time that I had seen it:
Announcing the results of a research on ‘changes in population status’, Mohammad Jalal Abbasi highlighted that fertility rate has had a growing trend in recent years and that the replacement-level fertility has been achieved.
This in-depth research encompasses areas such as changes in fertility and childbirth rate, family and marriage variations, mortality and health status, domestic migration, urbanization, and population trends, ISNA news agency quoted Abbasi as saying.
The official went on to say that the growing trend of fertility rate in Iran can be a temporary result of modifying delayed childbearing and that taking measures to facilitate marriage and childbirth are needed to stabilize this rate.
I was impressed by the fact that Dr. Abbasi, who is Professor of Demography and Chair of the Division of Population Research of the University of Tehran, pointed out that the rise back up to replacement level might be a tempo adjustment. Fertility had fallen below replacement because women were delaying births, not necessarily deciding permanently not to have a child or another child. They have recently been making up at least some of those delayed births. Will the fertility level go back up above replacement level? My guess is that it won't, given the high correlation (mentioned in the article) between female education and the birth rate, and the fact that the rapid drop in fertility was accomplished by a combination of wide accessibility of contraceptives along with a sharp increase in female levels of education.

I'm guessing that the next round of population estimates by the UN Population Division and by the Population Reference Bureau will reflect this apparent uptick in Iranian fertility to a level right around replacement, especially since it already seems to have been picked up by the CIA in its World Factbook.

1 comment:

  1. There are a lot of migrants from countries with higher fertility (like Afghanistan), women from these countries tend to preserve their old fertility patterns for some time. This could contribute to the uptick.