Below replacement fertility in Iran and some of its correlates: a factorial analysis of district level variations revealed by 2006 census

Amir-Houshang Mehryar, Ministry of Science, Research & Technology, Iran
Tavakkol Aghayari Hir, University of Tabriz
Aliyar Ahmadi, Shiraz University
Shirin Ahmad-Nia, Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Iran
Nahid Salehi

Following a tremendous rise in fertility between 1976-1986 (the first decade after the establishment of the Islamic Republic), Iran has experienced a drastic fall in fertility. The 1996 census provided convincing evidence of massive fertility decline across urban and rural areas of all provinces. Some observers argued that the fall would be short-lived and, with the gradual entry of the huge cohort born between 1976-1986, Iran would experience a reversal in fertility. But an initial analysis of the 2006 census shows that the process of fertility decline has continued unabated, with total fertility rates of urban population being clearly below replacement level while that of rural population is only slightly above replacement level (Mehryar & Ahmad-Nia, 2008). The aim of this study was to investigate fertility variations across the 336 sub-provincial districts of Iran and to identify some of the socio-demographic factors underlying them. Using data available through the website of the Statistical Center of Iran, crude birth rates and total fertility rates were calculated for urban and rural areas of each of the 336 districts covered by the 2006 census. Several measures of socio-economic development were similarly extracted from the relevant tables of the census data. The data set was factor analyzed. Results show that total fertility rates have fallen below replacement level in the majority of districts. In only 47 (14%) districts the TFR of total population is above 2 and in 35 (10.42%) districts it rises above 2.1. In only 4 districts it goes above 3. Fertility rates of urban and rural areas are highly correlated and form the major component of the factorial analysis. Mean household size, urbanization and literacy rates of men and women emerge as the major determinants of variations in fertility. Infant mortality is only slightly correlated with fertility.

Presented in Poster Session 1