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The Iran Primer

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Iran by the Numbers: Women

Katayoun Kishi 

Iran has closed some gender gaps, although Iranian women still do not have equal rights and protections under the law and in practice. Female literacy has almost quadrupled since 1980 and was within ten percentage points of male literacy in 2015. Since 2000, women have made up about half of all university students and have increased as a percentage of students enrolled in primary education. The adolescent fertility rate has dropped precipitously since 1980, due to better reproductive health and sexual education for women.
 
Women are increasingly participating in the political sphere, despite legal and societal impediments. President Hassan Rouhani appointed four women as vice presidents and three women as governors following his 2013 election. Women won an all-time high number of seats in the 2016 parliamentary election.
 
  • Women in Parliament: Went up to 17 seats in 2016 – the highest in the history of the Islamic Republic. Not as high, however, as the 22 seats held by women in the last parliament under the shah.
     
  • Women in University: Increased slightly since 1996, but has generally remained at about half of students.
     
  • Female Primary Education: Female enrollment in primary education generally increased from a low of 40 percent in 1982 to a high of 50 percent in 2014.
     
  • Adolescent Fertility Rate: As high as 140 births per thousand women aged 15-19 in 1982, to as low as 27 births per thousand in 2014. 

 

Sources:
(1980-2016): The Iran Primer; The Iran Primer source: Ministry of Interior

 

Source: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics

 

Source: World Bank; World Bank source: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics

 

Source: World Bank; World Bank source: United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects

 

Katayoun Kishi is a research assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

 

Iran by the Numbers: Parliament

Katayoun Kishi 

The make-up of Iran’s parliament has gradually shifted since 1980. Political participation is up. More than 12,000 Iranians registered to run in the 2016 election. Women, in particular, signed up in large numbers—a total of 1,434. Both set a new record. Meanwhile, the proportion of clerics in Parliament has steadily decreased from some 61 percent in 1980 to six percent in 2016. For the first time, females outnumber clerics. These changes, along with the rejection of hardliners in the 2016 election, could shape the future of the revolution.
 
  • Women in Parliament: From 4 women in parliament 1980 to a high of 17 women in the incoming 2016 parliament.
     
  • Clerics in Parliament: Down from 61 percent of Parliament in 1980 to 6 percent in 2016.
     
  • Candidate Registration: Up from a low of 1,592 registered to run for Parliament in 1984 to 12,123 registered in 2016. 

 

Source: The Iran Primer; The Iran Primer source: Ministry of Interior 

 

Source: The Iran Primer; The Iran Primer source: Ministry of Interior

 

Source: The Iran Primer; The Iran Primer source: Ministry of Interior

 

Source: Iran Data Portal; Iran Data Portal source: Ministry of Interior

 

Katayoun Kishi is a research assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

 

Iran by the Numbers: Oil and Natural Gas

Katayoun Kishi 

Oil and natural gas have been integral to the Iranian economy for decades, although the oil industry’s share of the overall economy has been declining since the mid-1990s. Oil production and exports have suffered from international sanctions. Meanwhile, domestic oil consumption has consistently increased since 1980 – posing a potential supply problem for Iran in the years to come. Natural gas production has increased as well, although it has generally matched rising consumption levels. Iran’s proved reserves of natural gas have grown since 1980, helping it rise among world rankings of natural gas producers.
 
  • Oil Exports: Increased to about 2 million barrels a day following the end of the Iran-Iraq War, but dropped precipitously after new international sanctions were introduced in 2010.
     
  • Oil Production: As low as 1.4 million barrels per day in 1981, and as high as 4.2 million barrels in 2011.
     
  • Oil Consumption: Has been generally increasing since 1980, peaking in 2008 at 1.98 million barrels a day.
     
  • Oil Economy: The oil industry accounted for only 10 percent of total GDP in 2014, a 34-year low.
     
  • Natural Gas Production: Has been increasing since 1980, from a low of 210 billion cubic feet in 1981 to a high of 5,696 billion cubic feet in 2012.
     
  • Natural Gas Consumption: Increased from 232 billion cubic feet in 1980 to 5,556 billion cubic feet in 2012, growing in tandem with production.
     
  • Natural Gas Reserves: Iran’s proved reserves of natural gas have more than doubled since 1980, from 490 trillion cubic feet to 1,201 trillion cubic feet in 2014.
     
  • Natural Gas Ranking: Iran has climbed the world ranking of natural gas producers since 1980, from 21st in the world to third in 2013. 

 

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

 

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 

 

 

*The data begins on the Persian New Year, which falls in March of the Gregorian calendar.

 

 

 

Source: United States Energy Information Administration

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*Annual data on Iran’s rankings from 1980-2013 available from the EIA.
 
Katayoun Kishi is a research assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
 

Iran by the Numbers: Society

Katayoun Kishi 

Iranian society has undergone dramatic changes since the 1979 revolution. Population has doubled. People are living longer. Cities have swelled due to an influx of people from rural areas. Iran has lowered its population growth rate to a manageable level, winning the United Nations Population Award in 1999 for its achievements in family planning and improving reproductive health.
 
The Islamic Republic has also worked to improve education for its citizens. Illiteracy has been virtually eradicated while enrollment in primary schools has risen since 1980.
 
  • Population: Nearly doubled since 1980, from 39 million to 79 million people.
     
  • Growth Rate: Dropped significantly from 3.7 percent to about 1.5 percent following the Iran-Iraq War, and has fluctuated only slightly since then.
     
  • Median Age: The median age peaked at 30 years old in 2015, a 12-year increase from the median age of 18 in 1980.
     
  • Age Distribution: There are about half the number of children (0-14 years old) in 2015 than in 1980.  The young (15-34), middle aged (35-54), and seniors (55+) make up a greater proportion of the population compared to 1980.
     
  • Urbanization: Percentage of population living in urban areas increased to 73 percent, compared to just half the population in 1980.
     
  • Literacy Rate: Has increased from 37 percent in 1980 to 98 percent in 2015.
     
  • Birth Rate: Declined from a peak of 44 births per thousand people to a low of 18 births per thousand people in 2014.
     
  • Life Expectancy: Iranians in 2014 were living to about 75 years of age – almost twenty years longer than in 1980.
 
Source: World Bank; World Bank source: United Nations World Population Prospects
 
 

 
(1980): World Bank; World Bank source: United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects

(2015): CIA World Factbook 

 

Source: World Bank; World Bank source: United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects
 
Katayoun Kishi is a research assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
 

Iran by the Numbers: Economy

Katayoun Kishi 

Iran’s economy has faced a series of existential crises since the 1979 revolution. Tehran suffered the biggest shocks from the sapping costs of an eight-year war with Iraq, between 1980 and 1988, and the final wave of international sanctions imposed in 2010. During less volatile years, Iran’s productivity did increase. But Iranians were burdened by chronic unemployment and inflation. Greed and gross mismanagement further undermined growth. When he took office in 2013, President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged, “The previous government was the wealthiest and most indebted government.”
 
  • Inflation: Ranged from 21 percent in 1980 to 14 percent in 2015, and has plummeted to 8 percent in May 2016 according to the IMF. Four big bumps occurred in 1987/88, 1995, 2008 and 2013 from the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War and various sanctions from the United States and European Union.
     
  • Unemployment: Especially high during the Iran-Iraq War, but also after it ended. The official rate has been under 21 percent since 1979, although experts say it has at times been twice as high.
     
  • GDP per capita: Increased sporadically, although income inequality was significant. In 2013, the top 20 percent of Iranians earned almost 45 percent of total income.
     
  • Consumer Price Index: Steadily rising cost of goods and services for the average consumer.
     
  • Military Expenditures: Expenditure peaked at 8 percent of GDP in 1982, during wartime, and declined quickly to about 2-3 percent after the war.
     
  • Currency rates: Rial’s value declined steadily against the U.S. dollar, particularly after 2002 when Iran’s nuclear program became publicly known.
     
  • Trade with the United States: Exports from the United States to Iran went from a high of $13.4 billion in 1978 to $280 million in 2015. Imports from Iran to the United States went from $10.5 billion in 1978 to $10 million in 2015.

 

Source: World Bank; World Bank Source: International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics and data files
 
 
Sources: (1980-90): Valadkhani, A. (2003), The Causes of Unemployment in Iran, International Journal of Applied Business and Economic Research, 1(1), 21-33.
 
 
Source: World Bank; World Bank Source: World Bank national accounts data and OECD National Accounts data files 
 
 
Source: World Bank; World Bank Source: International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics
 
*The World Bank defines the Consumer Price Index as reflecting “changes in the cost to the average consumer of acquiring a basket of goods and services.” In other words, the CPI shows the relative change in prices compared to a base year, even when taking into account inflation. 
 
 
Sources: (1980-84): United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers reports, 1980-84
(1988-2015): World Bank; World Bank source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
*Data unavailable for 1985-87.
 
 
Source: World Bank; World Bank Source: International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics 
 
 
 
*Values converted to real 2015 dollars using the average annual Consumer Price index
 
** Through subsidiaries, American energy companies continued to buy Iranian oil—worth up to $3.5 billion a year—off the international market in Rotterdam until the mid-1990s, when sanctions were broadened.
 
Katayoun Kishi is a research assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
 

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