A bill to urge the Tehran Municipality to establish a population committee to counter the plummeting rate of population growth in the capital was proposed during an open session of the Tehran City Council on Tuesday, said councilor Masoumeh Abad.
The population growth has plunged to 1.2% in Tehran Province and below 0.1% in the capital while the national average stands at 1.6 percent. “Declining births in the past two decades has resulted in the growth of an ageing population,” IRNA quoted her as saying.
Noting that the current outlook of reproductive health is a setback to the population growt
h policy, she said systematic action must be taken “as the issue goes beyond political or ethnic boundaries.”
“Tehran’s reproductive health growth differs from other cities, and based on the current statistics, the metropolis will have an extremely low rate of birth,” she noted. The municipality should take measures by providing incentives to motivate couples to have more children.
According to the councilor, the bill came after a research study at Tehran Urban Planning & Research Center was presented to the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council.
The general outlines of the bill were approved by the city council and the details will be disclosed at the next session, Abad added.
According to research, more than 35% of Tehrani families have only one child. “Studies indicate depression and anxiety is higher in parents who have only one child,” according to Mohammad Esmaeil Motlagh, head of population, family and school health office at the health ministry.
The increasing marriage age, higher divorce rate and “unwillingness to bear children are among the main challenges of fertility” in the country.
At present, there are 11 million unmarried boys and girls “who already have passed the golden age of fertility (which is between 18 and 35 years of age).” The average age of marriage for men is now 27 and for women, 24; a dramatic increase over the past years.
The national age pyramid (or population pyramid) in 2006 showed a boom in young population of 15-19 and 20-24 year olds (post 1979 Islamic Revolution generation). Currently, the country is facing a phenomenon called “youth inflation”. Although economists call it the “golden population,” the trend will leave its effects on the next generation in the form of “population momentum.”
Population momentum refers to population growth at the national level that would occur even if levels of childbearing immediately declined to replacement level. For below-replacement countries, momentum corresponds to continued population decline. Momentum occurs because older cohorts differ in absolute size from those cohorts currently bearing children, which impacts the immediate birth and death rates in the population that determine the intrinsic rate of growth.
The last round of national population survey indicated that the number of newborns (1.14 million) exceeded the number of one year olds (1.08), and also the number of two-year-olds (1.06 million) in 2006. Furthermore, the old population has increased by one million in the last ten years, and the shift will intensify in the next decade. The total percentage of elderly population 60 years and above increased from 7.22% in 2006 to 8.20% in 2011.
An overview of age pyramids in the last two decades reveals that the population took a reversal in the last decade and Iran will face an immense gray population in the years to come. Insufficient number of youngsters to support and care for this generation, paucity of fresh and strong workforce for sustainable development, and collective reluctance to have large families are among the ramifications of the changing population trends.