Demographics of Iran

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Demographics of Iran
Iran single age population pyramid 2020.png
Population pyramid of Iran in 2020
Population86,758,304 (2022 est.)
Growth rate0.98% (2022 est.)
Birth rate15.27 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Death rate5.17 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Life expectancy75.25 years
 • male73.89 years
 • female76.67 years
Fertility rate1.93 children born/woman (2022 est.)
Infant mortality rate14.84 deaths/1,000 live births
Net migration rate−0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Age structure
0–14 years24.11%
65 and over5.87%
Sex ratio
Total1.03 male(s)/female (2022 est.)
At birth1.05 male(s)/female
Under 151.05 male(s)/female
65 and over0.77 male(s)/female
Nationality
NationalityIranian
Language
OfficialPersian Farsi
Historical population of Iran
Population of Iranian provinces and counties in 2021.

Iran's population increased dramatically during the later half of the 20th century, reaching about 80 million by 2016.[1][2] As of 2022, Iran's population is around 86.5 million.[3] In recent years, however, Iran's birth rate has dropped significantly. Studies project that Iran's rate of population growth will continue to slow until it stabilises above 100 million by 2050.[4][5] Half of Iran's population was under 35 years old in 2012.[6]

In 2009, the number of households stood at 15.3 million (4.8 persons per household).[7] Families earn some 11.8 million rials (about $960) per month on average (2012).[8]

According to the OECD/World Bank statistics population growth in Iran from 1990 to 2008 was 17.6 million and 32%.[9] The literacy rate was 80% in 2002,[10][11] and 85% in 2016.[12] The fertility rate has fallen to 1.6, far below the natural replacement rate of 2.1.[13]

Population[edit]

According to the 2016 population census the population of Iran was 79.9 million,[1] a fourfold increase since 1956. Between 1976 and 1986, an average annual population growth of almost 4% was reached, but due to decreasing fertility levels the growth decreased to 1.2% between 2011 and 2016.

Population census results[14]
Census date Population Average annual
growth (%)
Population
density/km2
Proportion
urban (%)
Household size
1956-11-01 18,954,704 . 12 31.4
1966-11-01 25,785,210 3.13 16 37.5
1976-11-01 33,708,744 2.71 20 47.0 5.02
1986-11-22 49,445,010 3.91 30 54.0 5.11
1996-11-01 60,055,488 2.0 37 61.0 4.84
2006-11-01 70,495,782 1.62 43 68.5 4.03
2011-11-01 75,149,669 1.29 46 71.4 3.55
2016-11-01 79,926,270 1.24 49 74.0 3.3

Vital statistics[edit]

UN estimates[edit]

(2022 estimates).[15]

Population
(on 1 July)
Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year crude birth rate1 crude death rate1 natural change1 total fertility rate2 infant mortality rate3
1950 16 833 000   844 000   469 000   375 000 50.1 27.9 22.3 6.95 209.0
1951   17,220,000   863 000   481 000   382 000 50.1 27.9 22.2 6.95 207.3
1952   17,614,000   883 000   485 000   398 000 50.1 27.5 22.6 6.96 203.7
1953   18,018,000   904 000   490 000   414 000 50.1 27.2 23.0 6.98 200.5
1954   18,435,000   925 000   490 000   434 000 50.1 26.6 23.6 7.01 197.2
1955   18,874,000   946 000   491 000   455 000 50.1 26.0 24.1 7.04 192.9
1956   19,332,000   968 000   494 000   474 000 50.0 25.5 24.5 7.08 189.5
1957   19,806,000   996 000   497 000   499 000 50.2 25.1 25.2 7.18 185.8
1958   20,295,000   1,022,000   494 000   528 000 50.3 24.3 26.0 7.28 181.6
1959   20,822,000   1,046,000   494 000   551 000 50.2 23.7 26.5 7.38 177.8
1960   21,389,000   1,049,000   493 000   556 000 49.0 23.1 26.0 7.30 174.0
1961   21,984,000   1,053,000   489 000   564 000 48.0 22.3 25.7 7.23 170.2
1962   22,605,000   1,069,000   500 000   569 000 47.4 22.2 25.2 7.22 167.3
1963   23,259,000   1,082,000   485 000   597 000 46.6 20.9 25.7 7.18 162.8
1964   23,949,000   1,098,000   483 000   615 000 45.9 20.2 25.7 7.13 159.1
1965   24,667,000   1,120,000   482 000   637 000 45.5 19.6 25.9 7.11 155.4
1966   25,399,000   1,145,000   480 000   664 000 45.1 18.9 26.2 7.08 151.6
1967   26,133,000   1,174,000   480 000   694 000 44.9 18.4 26.6 7.05 147.6
1968   26,875,000   1,195,000   487 000   708 000 44.5 18.1 26.4 6.97 144.0
1969   27,644,000   1,220,000   474 000   746 000 44.2 17.2 27.0 6.90 138.9
1970   28,450,000   1,229,000   468 000   761 000 43.2 16.5 26.8 6.71 134.1
1971   29,274,000   1,239,000   459 000   780 000 42.4 15.7 26.7 6.51 128.9
1972   30,112,000   1,237,000   456 000   782 000 41.1 15.1 26.0 6.25 123.8
1973   30,982,000   1,258,000   440 000   818 000 40.6 14.2 26.4 6.11 118.2
1974   31,896,000   1,295,000   433 000   862 000 40.6 13.6 27.0 6.04 113.0
1975   32,857,000   1,339,000   428 000   911 000 40.8 13.0 27.8 6.01 107.7
1976   33,841,000   1,416,000   425 000   991 000 41.8 12.5 29.3 6.14 102.3
1977   34,876,000   1,474,000   421 000   1,053,000 42.3 12.1 30.2 6.20 96.6
1978   35,994,000   1,550,000   446 000   1,104,000 43.1 12.4 30.7 6.33 92.4
1979   37,205,000   1,645,000   411 000   1,234,000 44.2 11.0 33.2 6.53 85.1
1980   38,521,000   1,708,000   422 000   1,286,000 44.4 11.0 33.4 6.58 79.5
1981   40,476,000   1,756,000   463 000   1,293,000 44.1 11.6 32.4 6.56 74.3
1982   42,500,000   1,886,000   467 000   1,419,000 44.4 11.0 33.4 6.55 69.3
1983   44,028,000   1,930,000   458 000   1,472,000 43.9 10.4 33.5 6.51 65.1
1984   45,628,000   1,966,000   420 000   1,546,000 43.1 9.2 33.9 6.44 61.5
1985   47,266,000   1,974,000   415 000   1,559,000 41.8 8.8 33.0 6.26 58.2
1986   48,913,000   1,957,000   409 000   1,547,000 40.0 8.4 31.7 6.01 55.3
1987   50,541,000   1,915,000   407 000   1,507,000 37.9 8.1 29.9 5.69 52.6
1988   52,112,000   1,872,000   399 000   1,473,000 36.0 7.7 28.3 5.39 49.8
1989   53,645,000   1,828,000   358 000   1,470,000 34.1 6.7 27.4 5.11 47.4
1990   55,794,000   1,788,000   395 000   1,393,000 32.5 7.2 25.3 4.86 46.5
1991   57,991,000   1,790,000   359 000   1,431,000 30.9 6.2 24.7 4.51 43.1
1992   59,372,000   1,697,000   358 000   1,340,000 28.5 6.0 22.5 4.08 41.3
1993   59,755,000   1,579,000   352 000   1,227,000 26.1 5.8 20.3 3.68 39.8
1994   59,986,000   1,367,000   340 000   1,027,000 22.8 5.7 17.1 3.27 38.2
1995   60,795,000   1,244,000   335 000   908 000 20.4 5.5 14.9 2.89 36.8
1996   61,598,000   1,145,000   333 000   811 000 18.6 5.4 13.2 2.57 35.4
1997   62,481,000   1,081,000   334 000   747 000 17.3 5.4 12.0 2.33 34.0
1998   63,461,000   1,064,000   336 000   727 000 16.8 5.3 11.5 2.20 32.5
1999   64,475,000   1,065,000   333 000   732 000 16.6 5.2 11.4 2.10 31.0
2000   65,544,000   1,071,000   337 000   735 000 16.4 5.2 11.2 2.02 29.5
2001   66,675,000   1,082,000   344 000   738 000 16.3 5.2 11.1 1.94 28.1
2002   67,327,000   1,086,000   345 000   742 000 16.1 5.1 11.0 1.87 26.4
2003   67,955,000   1,081,000   370 000   712 000 16.0 5.5 10.5 1.82 25.6
2004   69,062,000   1,107,000   345 000   762 000 16.1 5.0 11.1 1.80 23.4
2005   70,183,000   1,134,000   348 000   786 000 16.2 5.0 11.2 1.78 21.9
2006   71,276,000   1,173,000   349 000   824 000 16.5 4.9 11.6 1.77 20.6
2007   72,319,000   1,221,000   350 000   872 000 16.9 4.8 12.1 1.77 19.4
2008   73,318,000   1,265,000   369 000   896 000 17.3 5.0 12.2 1.77 18.2
2009   74,323,000   1,304,000   381 000   923 000 17.5 5.1 12.4 1.77 17.2
2010   75,374,000   1,337,000   385 000   953 000 17.8 5.1 12.6 1.77 16.3
2011   76,343,000   1,388,000   381 000   1,008,000 18.2 5.0 13.2 1.80 15.5
2012   77,324,000   1,464,000   378 000   1,085,000 18.9 4.9 14.0 1.89 14.8
2013   78,459,000   1,526,000   385 000   1,141,000 19.4 4.9 14.5 1.96 14.2
2014   79,962,000   1,579,000   391 000   1,188,000 19.8 4.9 14.9 2.04 13.6
2015   81,791,000   1,583,000   395 000   1,188,000 19.4 4.8 14.6 2.05 13.1
2016   83,306,000   1,584,000   394 000   1,190,000 19.0 4.7 14.3 2.07 12.6
2017   84,505,000   1,572,000   396 000   1,176,000 18.6 4.7 13.9 2.07 12.2
2018   85,618,000   1,475,000   404 000   1,071,000 17.2 4.7 12.5 1.97 11.8
2019   86,564,000   1,308,000   421 000   886 000 15.1 4.9 10.2 1.77 11.4
2020   87,290,000   1,243,000   486 000   757 000 14.2 5.6 8.7 1.71 11.0
2021   87,923,000   1,204,000   566 000   638 000 13.7 6.4 7.3 1.69 10.7
1per 1000; 2 TFR = number of children per woman; 3per 1000 births

Registered births and deaths[edit]

(2001 statistics)[16][17] [18]

Average population Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Total Fertility Rate
1959 864,846 176,268 688,578
1960 876,206 171,040 705,166
1961 902,260 159,371 742,889
1962 957,500 165,488 792,012
1963 920,967 135,912 785,055
1964 1,118,911 145,174 973,737
1965 1,139,663 171,940 967,723
1966 1,101,606 178,991 922,615
1967 1,019,373 179,159 840,214
1968 1,037,022 174,201 862,821
1969 1,091,513 167,660 923,853
1970 1,189,203 163,430 1,025,773
1971 1,231,227 149,325 1,081,902
1972 1,138,843 153,568 985,275
1973 1,199,777 155,081 1,044,696
1974 1,248,256 149,785 1,098,471
1975 1,339,267 148,543 1,190,724
1976 1,401,426 155,981 1,245,445
1977 1,399,977 146,369 1,253,608
1978 1,369,597 127,587 1,242,010
1979 1,689,908 142,402 1,547,506
1980 2,450,308 162,176 2,288,132
1981 2,421,611 178,099 2,243,512
1982 2,101,894 200,614 1,901,280
1983 2,203,448 207,228 1,996,220
1984 2,067,803 186,440 1,881,363
1985 2,033,285 190,061 1,843,224
1986 2,259,055 199,511 2,059,544
1987 1,832,089 204,230 1,627,859
1988 1,944,149 238,390 1,705,759
1989 1,784,811 199,645 1,585,166
1990 1,722,977 217,597 1,505,380
1991 1,582,931 217,637 1,365,294
1992 1,433,243 188,647 1,244,596
1993 1,388,017 208,161 1,179,856
1994 1,426,784 3.50
1995 1,205,372 3.22
1996 1,187,903 2.95
1997 1,179,260 2.73
1998 1,185,639 551,345 634,294 2.53
1999 62,738,000 1,177,557 374,838 802,719 18.8 6.0 12.8 2.36
2000 63,658,000 1,095,165 382,674 712,491 17.2 6.0 11.2 2.19
2001 64,592,000 1,110,836 421,525 689,311 17.2 6.5 10.7 2.09
2002 65,540,000 1,122,104 337,237 784,867 17.1 5.1 12.0 2.01
2003 66,480,000 1,171,573 368,518 803,055 17.6 5.5 12.1 1.92
2004 67,477,000 1,154,368 355,213 799,155 17.1 5.3 11.8 1.87
2005 69,672,000 1,239,408 363,723 875,685 18.1 5.3 12.8 1.82
2006 70,554,000 1,253,912 408,566 845,346 17.8 5.8 12.0 1.79
2007 71,336,000 1,286,716 412,736 873,980 18.0 5.8 12.2 1.81
2008 72,120,000 1,300,166 417,798 882,368 17.9 5.8 12.2 1.80
2009 72,924,000 1,348,546 393,514 955,032 18.3 5.3 13.0 1.78
2010 73,762,000 1,363,542 441,042 922,500 18.3 5.9 12.4 1.77
2011 74,634,000 1,382,229 422,133 960,096 18.3 5.6 12.7 1.74
2012 75,539,000 1,421,689 367,512 1,054,177 18.7 4.8 13.9 1.73
2013 76,481,000 1,471,834 372,279 1,099,555 19.1 4.8 14.3 1.70
2014 77,465,000 1,534,362 446,333 1,088,029 19.8 5.8 14.0 1.68
2015 78,492,000 1,570,219 374,827 1,195,392 20.0 4.8 15.2 2.16
2016 79,926,000 1,528,054 388,792 1,139,262 19.2 4.9 14.3 2.11
2017 80,960,000 1,540,570 374,630 1,165,940 19.0 4.6 14.4 2.07
2018 81,865,000 1,388,249 376,839 1,011,410 16.9 4.6 12.3 1.96
2019 82,585,000 1,196,132 395,392 800,743 14.4 4.8 9.6 1.77
2020 83,220,000 1,110,374 493,735 616,639 13.3 5.9 7.5 1.71
2021 83,935,000 1,106,072 536,109 569,963 13.2 6.4 6.8 1.60

Current vital statistics[edit]

[19]

Period Live births Deaths Natural increase
22 December 2020 – 20 March 2021 257,004 112,570 144,434
22 December 2021 – 20 March 2022 271,488 115,952 155,536
Difference Increase +14,484 (+5.64%) Negative increase +3,382 (+3.00%) Increase +11,102
Age group Number(2006) Percentage(2006) Number(2011) Percentage(2011)
Total 70,495,782 100 75,149,669 100
0–4 5,463,978 7.75 6,232,552 8.29
5–9 5,509,057 7.81 5,657,791 7.53
10–14 6,708,591 9.52 5,671,435 7.55
15–19 8,726,761 12.38 6,607,043 8.79
20–24 9,011,422 12.78 8,414,497 11.20
25–29 7,224,952 10.25 8,672,654 11.54
30–34 5,553,531 7.88 6,971,924 9.28
35–39 4,921,124 6.98 5,571,018 7.41
40–44 4,089,158 5.80 4,906,749 6.53
45–49 3,522,761 5.00 4,030,481 5.36
50–54 2,755,420 3.91 3,527,408 4.69
55–59 1,887,981 2.68 2,680,119 3.57
60–64 1,464,452 2.08 1,862,907 2.48
65–69 1,197,550 1.70 1,343,731 1.79
70–74 1,119,318 1.59 1,119,968 1.49
75–79 694,122 0.98 913,531 1.22
80+ 645,601 0.92 919,539 1.22
Unclear 46,322 0.06
Number of children 0–14 Number of people 15–49 Proportion Number of women 15–49 Proportion
17,681,629 (2006) 43,049,709 (2006) 0.4107 (2006) ~21,524,855 (2006) 0.8215 (2006)
17,561,778 (2011) 45,174,366 (2011) 0.3888 (2011) ~22,587,183 (2011) 0.7775 (2011)

Population Estimates by Sex and Age Group (01.VII.2020):[20]

Age Group Male Female Total %
Total 42,484,186 41,553,414 84,037,600 100
0–4 3,751,160 3,584,640 7,335,800 8.73
5–9 3,644,823 3,453,109 7,097,932 8.45
10–14 3,195,837 3,043,160 6,238,997 7.42
15–19 2,850,201 2,723,069 5,573,270 6.63
20–24 2,817,236 2,715,743 5,532,979 6.58
25–29 3,398,106 3,322,934 6,721,040 8.00
30–34 4,246,233 4,166,179 8,412,412 10.01
35–39 4,226,366 4,147,771 8,374,137 9.96
40–44 3,375,662 3,271,031 6,646,693 7.91
45–49 2,687,892 2,591,386 5,279,278 6.28
50–54 2,321,552 2,270,429 4,591,981 5.46
55–59 1,841,337 1,847,872 3,689,209 4.39
60–64 1,510,299 1,557,919 3,068,218 3.65
65–69 1,058,091 1,138,129 2,196,220 2.61
70–74 640 098 748 890 1,388,988 1.65
75–79 415 623 459 393 875 016 1.04
80+ 503 670 511 760 1,015,430 1.21
Age group Male Female Total Percent
0–14 10,591,820 10,080,909 20,672,729 24.60
15–64 29,274,884 28,614,333 57,889,217 68.88
65+ 2,617,482 2,858,172 5,475,654 6.52
Year 0–14 15–64 65+
1976 44.5 52 3.5
1985 45.5 51.5 3
1996 39.5 56.1 4.3
2006 25.1 (17,681,629) 69.7 (49,157,562) 5.2 (3,656,591)
2011 23.4 (17,561,778) 70.9 (53,297,122) 5.7 (4,290,769)
2016 24.0 (19,192,665) 69.9 (55,862,087) 6.1 (4,871,518)

Table 9 – Population and Average Annual Growth by Provinces: 2006 and 2011

Province 2006 2011 Average annual growth
Alborz 2,076,991 2,412,513 3.04
Ardabil 1,228,155 1,248,488 0.33
Bushehr 886,267 1,032,949 3.11
Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari 857,910 895,263 0.86
East Azerbaijan 3,603,456 3,724,620 0.66
Fars 4,336,878 4,596,658 1.17
Gilan 2,404,861 2,480,874 0.62
Golestan 1,617,087 1,777,014 1.90
Hamadan 1,703,267 1,758,268 0.64
Hormozgan 1,403,674 1,578,183 2.37
Ilam 545,787 557,599 0.43
Isfahan 4,559,256 4,879,312 1.37
Kerman 2,652,413 2,938,988 2.07
Kermanshah 1,879,385 1,945,227 0.69
Khuzestan 4,274,979 4,531,720 1.17
Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad 634,299 658,629 0.76
Kurdistan 1,440,156 1,493,645 0.73
Lorestan 1,716,527 1,754,243 0.44
Markazi 1,351,257 1,413,959 0.91
Mazandaran 2,922,432 3,073,943 1.02
North Khorasan 811,572 867,727 1.35
Qazvin 1,143,200 1,201,565 1.00
Qom 1,046,737 1,151,672 1.93
Razavi Khorasan 5,593,079 5,994,402 1.40
Semnan 589,742 631,218 1.37
Sistan and Baluchestan 2,405,742 2,534,327 1.05
South Khorasan 636,420 662,534 0.81
Tehran 11,345,375 12,183,391 1.44
West Azerbaijan 2,873,459 3,080,576 1.40
Yazd 990,818 1,074,428 1.63
Zanjan 964,601 1,015,734 1.04
Total 70,495,782 75,149,669 1.29

1 The population of the provinces of Alborz and Tehran for 2006 and their average annual growth have been calculated based on the data of 2011.

Unofficial Translation 17

Table 10 – Population Percentages by Province: 2006 and 2011 (Percentage)

Province 2006 2011
Alborz 2.95 3.21
Ardabil 1.74 1.66
Bushehr 1.26 1.37
Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari 1.22 1.19
East Azerbaijan 5.11 4.96
Fars 6.15 6.12
Gilan 3.41 3.30
Golestan 2.29 2.36
Hamadan 2.42 2.34
Hormozgan 1.99 2.10
Ilam 0.77 0.74
Isfahan 6.47 6.49
Kerman 3.76 3.91
Kermanshah 2.67 2.59
Khuzestan 6.06 6.03
Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad 0.90 0.88
Kurdistan 2.04 1.99
Lorestan 2.43 2.33
Markazi 1.92 1.88
Mazandaran 4.15 4.09
North Khorasan 1.15 1.15
Qazvin 1.62 1.60
Qom 1.48 1.53
Razavi Khorasan 7.93 7.98
Semnan 0.84 0.84
Sistan and Baluchestan 3.41 3.37
South Khorasan 0.90 0.88
Tehran 16.09 16.21
West Azerbaijan 4.08 4.10
Yazd 1.41 1.43
Zanjan 1.37 1.35
Total 100 100

1 The population of the provinces of Alborz and Tehran for 2006 and their average annual growth have been calculated based on the data of 2011.

Languages and ethnic groups[edit]

Colour-coded map of Iran's ethnic groups. The centre of the country is mostly Persians; Azerbaijanis, Gilaks, Kurds, and Talysh are in the northwest; Lurs, Qashqai and Arabs in the southwest; Turkmens and more Kurds in the northeast; Balochis in the southeast.

The largest linguistic group comprises speakers of Iranian languages, like modern Persian, Kurdish, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Luri, Talysh, and Balochi. Speakers of Turkic languages, most notably Azerbaijanis, which is by far the second-most spoken language in the country, but also the Turkmen, and the Qashqai peoples, comprise a substantial minority. The remainder are primarily speakers of Semitic languages such as Arabic and Assyrian. A small number of Mandaeans in Khuzestan speak Mandaic. There are small groups using other Indo-European languages such as Armenian and Russian; also, Georgian (a member of the Kartvelian language family) is spoken in a large pocket only by those Iranian Georgians that live in Fereydan, Fereydunshahr. Most of those Georgians who live in the north Iranian provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, Isfahan, Tehran Province and the rest of Iran no longer speak the language. The Circassians in Iran, a very large minority in the past and speakers of the Circassian language, have been strongly assimilated and absorbed within the population in the past few centuries. However, significant pockets do exist spread over the country, and they are the second-largest Caucasus-derived group in the nation after the Georgians.[21][22]

Jews have had a continuous presence in Iran since the time of Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire. In 1948, there were approximately 140,000–150,000 Jews living in Iran. According to the Tehran Jewish Committee, the Jewish population of Iran was (more recently) estimated at 25,000 to 35,000, of which approximately 15,000 are in Tehran with the rest residing in Hamadan, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Yazd, Kerman, Rafsanjan, Borujerd, Sanandaj, Tabriz and Urmia. However, the official 2011 state census recorded only 8,756 Jews in Iran.[23]

The CIA World Factbook (which is based on 2013 statistics) gives the following numbers for the languages spoken in Iran today: Persian, Luri, Gilaki and Mazandarani 66%; Azerbaijani and other Turkic languages 18%; Kurdish 10%; Arabic 2%; Balochi 2%; others 2% (Armenian, Georgian, Circassian, Assyrian, etc.).[24]

Other sources, such as the Library of Congress, and the Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden)[25] give Iran's ethnic groups as following: Persians 65%, Azerbaijanis 16%, Kurds 7%, Lurs 6%, Arabs 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmens 1%, Turkic tribal groups (e.g. Qashqai) 1%, and non-Persian, non-Turkic groups (e.g. Armenians, Georgians, Assyrians, Circassians, Basseri ) less than 1%.[26] For sources prior to and after 2000, see Languages and ethnicities in Iran.

Urban population[edit]

Evolution of Iran population divided into urban and rural population
Provinces of Iran by population density in 2013

In addition to its international migration pattern, Iran also exhibits one of the steepest urban growth rates in the world according to the UN humanitarian information unit. According to 2015 population estimates, approximately 73.4 per cent of Iran's population lives in urban areas, up from 27 per cent in 1950.[27]

The following is a list of the eight most populous cities in the country:

Rank City Province population
City[28] Metro[29]
1 Tehran Tehran 8,693,706 14,700,000
2 Mashhad Razavi Khorasan 3,001,184 3,100,000
3 Isfahan Isfahan 1,961,260 3,100,000
4 Karaj Alborz 1,592,492 2,500,000
5 Shiraz Fars 1,565,572 1,700,000
6 Tabriz East Azarbaijan 1,588,693 1,760,000
7 Qom Qom 1,201,158 1,240,000
8 Ahvaz Khuzestan 1,184,788 1,320,000

Religious affiliations[edit]

Religion in Iran by CIA

  Shia Islam (94.1%)
  Sunni Islam (5.3%)
  Other/Unspecifed (0.6%)
The entrance to Shah Mosque (aka Imam Mosque or Shah Jame' Mosque) in Isfahan. This mosque is a prominent example of Persian architecture during the Safavid dynasty.
Population of Iran according to religion 1956–2011 per the UN[14][16]
Religion census 1956 census 1966 census 1976 census 2006 census 2011
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Muslims 18,654,127 98.4 24,771,922 98.8 33,396,908 99.1 70,097,741 99.4 74,682,938 99.4
Christians 114,528 0.6 149,427 0.6 168,593 0.5 109,415 0.2 117,704 0.2
Zoroastrians 15,723 0.1 19,816 0.1 21,400 0.1 19,823 0.0 25,271 0.0
Jews 65,232 0.3 60,683 0.2 62,258 0.2 9,252 0.0 8,756 0.0
Other 59,256 0.3 77,075 0.3 54,234 0.1 49,101 0.1
Unknown 45,838 0.2 59,583 0.2 205,317 0.3 265,899 0.4

About 99% of the Iranians are Muslims; 90% belong to the Shi'a branch of Islam, the official state religion, and about 9% belong to the Sunni branch, which predominates in neighbouring Muslim countries.[11] Less than 1% non-Muslim minorities include Christians, Zoroastrians, Jews, Baháʼís, Mandaeans, and Yarsan. By far the largest group of Christians in Iran are Armenians under the Armenian Apostolic Church which has between 110,000,[30] 250,000,[31] and 300,000,[32] adherents. There are hundreds of Christian churches in Iran.[citation needed] The Baháʼí Faith, Iran's largest non-Muslim religious minority with a population around 300,000, is not officially recognised (and therefore not included in the census results), and has been persecuted since in inception in Iran. Since the 1979 revolution the persecution of Baháʼís has increased with executions, the denial of civil rights and liberties, and the denial of access to higher education and employment.[33][34] Unofficial estimates for the Assyrian Christian population range between 20,000,[35][36] and 70,000.[37][38] The number of Iranian Mandaeans is a matter of dispute. In 2009, there were an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 Mandaeans in Iran, according to the Associated Press.[39] Whereas Alarabiya has put the number of Iranian Mandaeans as high as 60,000 in 2011.[40]

Iranian citizens abroad[edit]

The term "Iranian citizens abroad" or " Iranian/Persian diaspora" refers to the Iranian people and their children born in Iran but living outside of Iran. Migrant Iranian workers abroad remitted less than two billion dollars home in 2006.[41]

As of 2010, there are about four to five million Iranians living abroad, mostly in the United States, Canada, Europe, Persian Gulf States, Turkey, Australia and the broader Middle East.[27][42] According to the 2000 Census and other independent surveys, there are an estimated 1 million Iranian-Americans living in the U.S., in particular, the Los Angeles area is estimated to be host to approximately 72,000 Iranians, earning the Westwood area of LA the nickname Tehrangeles.[43] Other metropolises that have large Iranian populations include Dubai with 300,000 Iranians, Vancouver, London, Toronto, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Stockholm, Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt. Their combined net worth is estimated to be $1.3 trillion.[44]

Note that this differs from the other Iranian peoples living in other areas of Greater Iran, who are of related ethnolinguistical family, speaking languages belonging to the Iranian languages which is a branch of Indo-European languages.

Refugee population[edit]

Iran hosts one of the largest refugee population in the world, with more than one million refugees, mostly from Afghanistan (80%) and Iraq (10%). Since 2006, Iranian officials have been working with the UNHCR and Afghan officials for their repatriation.[45][46] Between 1979 and 1997, UNHCR spent more than US$1 billion on Afghan refugees in Pakistan but only $150 million on those in Iran. In 1999, the Iranian government estimated the cost of maintaining its refugee population at US$10 million per day, compared with the US$18 million UNHCR allocated for all of its operations in Iran in 1999.[46] As of 2016, some 300,000 work permits have been issued for foreign nationals in Iran.[47]

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics[edit]

Net Iranian migration (1979–2008). A positive value represents more people entering Iran than leaving it

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.[48]

Age structure[49]

0–14 years: 24.11% (male 10,472,844/female 10,000,028)
15–24 years: 13.36% (male 5,806,034/female 5,537,561)
25–54 years: 48.94% (male 21,235,038/female 20,327,384)
55–64 years: 7.72% (male 3,220,074/female 3,337,420)
65 years and over: 5.87% (male 2,316,677/female 2,670,254) (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 31.7 years
male: 31.5 years
female: 32 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.03% (2021 est.)

Birth rate

15.78 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Death rate

5.14 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 76.3% of total population (2021)
rate of urbanisation: 1.32% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.06 years
male: 73.71 years
female: 76.48 years (2021 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.93 children born/woman (2021 est.)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.5%
male: 90.4%
female: 80.8% (2016)

Genetics[edit]

Y-chromosome DNA[edit]

Y-Chromosome DNA Y-DNA represents the male lineage, the Iranian Y-chromosome pool is as follows where haplogroups, R1 (25%), J2 (23%) G (14%), J1 (8%) E1b1b (5%), L (4%), Q (4%), comprise more than 85% of the total chromosomes.[50]

Haplogroup[51] n B C E1b1a E1b1b1a2 E1b1b1a3 E1b1b1c F G H I J1 J2 K L N O P,R Q R1a R1b R1b1a R1b1b R2 T
Marker M2 V13 V22 M34 M343 V88 M269 M70
Iran 566 0.53 0.18 1.41 1.77 1.8 0.88 0.35 14.00 2.65 0.8 8.13 23.86 0.71 4.00 2.12 1.41 0.71 4.01 17.49 1.24 0.35 6.18 1.41 2.12

Mitochondrial DNA[edit]

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) represents the female lineage. West Eurasian mtDNA makes up over 90% of the Iranian population on average. (2013).[52]

Among them, U3b3 lineages appear to be restricted to populations of Iran and the Caucasus, while the sub-cluster U3b1a is common in the whole Near East region.[52]

In Iran outliers in the Y-chromosomes and Mitochondrial DNA gene pool are consisted of the north Iranian ethnicities, such as the Gilaks and Mazandarani's, whose genetic build up including chromosomal DNA are nearly identical to the major South Caucasian ethnicities, namely the Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijani's. Other outliers are made by the Baloch people, representing a mere 1–2% of the total Iranian population, who have more patrilinial and mitochondrial DNA lines leaning towards northwest South Asian ethnic groups.

Levels of genetic variation in Iranian populations are comparable to the other groups from the Caucasus, Anatolia and Europe.[52]

People of Iranian ancestry[edit]

Tats (Caucasus)[edit]

The "Tats" are an Iranian people, presently living within Azerbaijan and Russia (mainly Southern Dagestan). The Tats are part of the indigenous peoples of Iranian origin in the Caucasus.[53][54][55]

Tats use the Tat language, a southwestern Iranian language and a variety of Persian[56][57][58][59][60] Azerbaijani and Russian are also spoken. Tats are mainly Shia Muslims, with a significant Sunni Muslim minority. Likely the ancestors of modern Tats settled in South Caucasus when the Sassanid Empire from the 3rd to 7th centuries built cities and founded military garrisons to strengthen their positions in this region.[61]

Parsis[edit]

The Parsis are the close-knit Zoroastrian community based primarily in India but also found in Pakistan. Parsis are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to the Indian subcontinent over 1,000 years ago. Indian census data (2001) records 69,601 Parsis in India, with a concentration in and around the city of Mumbai (previously known as Bombay). There are approximately 8,000 Parsis elsewhere on the subcontinent, with an estimated 2,500 Parsis in the city of Karachi and approximately 50 Parsi families in Sri Lanka. The number of Parsis worldwide is estimated to be fewer than 100,000 (Eliade, 1991:254).

Iranis[edit]

In Pakistan and India, the term "Irani" has come to denote Iranian Zoroastrians who have migrated to Pakistan and India within the last two centuries, as opposed to most Parsis who arrived in India over 1000 years ago. Many of them moved during the Qajar era, when persecution of Iranian Zoroastrians was rampant. They are culturally and linguistically closer to the Zoroastrians of Iran. Unlike the Parsis, they speak a Dari dialect, the language spoken by the Iranian Zoroastrians in Yazd and Kerman. Their last names often resemble modern Iranian names, however Irani is a common surname among them. In India they are mostly located in modern-day Mumbai while in Pakistan they are mostly located in modern-day Karachi. In both Pakistan and India, they are famous for their restaurants and tea-houses.[62] Some, such as Ardeshir Irani, have also become very famous in cinema.

Ajam (Bahrain)[edit]

The "Ajam" are an ethnic community of Bahrain, of Iranian origin. They have traditionally been merchants living in specific quarters of Manama and Muharraq. The Iranians who adhere to Shiite sect of Islam are Ajam, and they are different from the Huwala. Ajams are also a large percentage of the populace in UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

In addition to this, many names of ancient villages in Bahrain are of Persian origin. It is believed that these names were given during the Safavid rule of Bahrain (1501–1722). i.e. Karbabad, Salmabad, Karzakan, Duraz, Barbar, which indicates that the history of Ajams is much older.

Huwala[edit]

Huwala are the descendants of Persians and Arab-Persians who belong to the Sunni sect of Islam.[63] Huwala migrated from Ahvaz in Iran to the Persian Gulf in the seventeenth and eighteenth century.[63][64]

Recent immigration[edit]

Most of the large Circassian migrational waves towards mainland Iran stem from the Safavid and Qajar era, however a certain amount also stem from the relatively recent arrivals that migrated as the Circassians were displaced from the Caucasus in the 19th century. A Black African population exists due to historical slavery. A substantial number of Russians arrived in the early 20th century as refugees from the Russian Revolution, but their number has dwindled following the Iran crisis of 1946 and the Iranian Revolution. In the 20th to 21st centuries, there has been limited immigration to Iran from Turkey, Iraqis (especially huge numbers during the 1970s known as Moaveds), Afghanistan (mostly arriving as refugees in 1978), Lebanese (especially in Qom, though a Lebanese community has been present in the nation for centuries), Indians (mostly arriving temporarily during the 1950s to 1970s, typically working as doctors, engineers, and teachers), Koreans (mostly in the 1970s as labour migrants), China (mostly since the 2000s working in engineering or business projects), and Pakistan, partly due to labour migrants and partly to Balochi ties across the Iranian-Pakistani border. About 200,000 Iraqis arrived as refugees in 2003,[citation needed] mostly living in refugee camps near the border; an unknown number of these has since returned to Iraq.

Over the same period, there has also been substantial emigration from Iran, especially since the Iranian revolution (see Iranian diaspora, Human capital flight from Iran, Jewish exodus from Iran), especially to the United States, Canada, Germany, Israel, and Sweden.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]