An official has said that Iran has now the lowest birth rate in the Middle East after experiencing the fastest decline in births during the past three decades.
Saleh Ghasemi, head of the Center for Strategic Research on Population told a local news agency that the current birth rate is 1.6 for each woman at the age of fertility. He added that in mid-1980s Iran had a 6.5 birth rate, one the highest in the world, but it has been declining since.
Ghasemi put Iran’s population at more than 85 million, although some believe that this figure includes a few million Iranians who have left the country but are still counted as residents. He added that the population growth rate is currently 0.6 percent but is expected to decline to zero in the next 10-15 years.
Iran’s declining rate of population growth has been a hot political topic in the country, where its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior clerics in the religious political system have been calling for policies to boost population.
Ghasemi said that the biggest decline in births took place between 2015-2020, when there were 550,000 fewer births annually. He went on to say that women born in the 1980s are dropping out of the child-bearing age. This, coupled with change in people’s preferences and lifestyle will continue to reduce births.