U.N. Stats: Iran's Slow Population Growth

April 1, 2013

            Iran’s low fertility rate has produced a rapidly aging population, according to a new U.N. report. The rate has declined from 2.2 births per woman in 2000 to 1.6 in 2012. This has pushed the median age of Iranians to 27.1 years in 2010, up from 20.8 years in 2000. The median age could reach 40 years by 2030, according to the U.N. Population Division. An elderly and dependent population may heavily tax Iran’s public health infrastructure and social security network.

In mid-2012, the Islamic Republic announced plans to cut back the family program that had brought down the fertility rate from 6.6 births in 1977 to about 2 births per woman in 2000. The supreme leader said it was “wrong” to continue the family planning program in later years, and he called on women to have more children. Iran's annual population growth rate is projected to be just one percent until 2015. The following table is an excerpt from the 2013 U.N. Human Development Report.


a Projections based on medium-fertility variant.
b The natural sex ratio at birth is commonly assumed and empirically confirmed to be 105
male births to 100 female births.
c Data are annual average of projected values for 2010–2015.
d Data are average annual estimates for 2000–2005.
Population: De facto population in a country, area or region as of 1 July.
Annual population growth rate: Average annual exponential growth rate for the period specified.
Urban population: De facto population living in areas classified as urban according to the criteria
used by each area or country as of 1 July.
Median age: Age that divides the population distribution into two equal parts—that is, 50% of the
population is above that age and 50% is below it.
Total dependency ratio: Ratio of the sum of the population ages 0–14 and ages 65 and older to the population ages 15–64.
Total fertility rate: Number of children that would be born to each woman if she were to live to the
end of her child-bearing years and bear children at each age in accordance with prevailing age-specific fertility rates.
Sex ratio at birth: Number of male births per female birth.
Click here for the full report and summary.
Click here for the explanatory note on Iran.