'Trends, determinants and the implications of population aging in Iran', by Nader Mehri, Mahmood Messkoub and Suzanne Kunkel.


Fertility and mortality decline are major drivers of Iran's population aging. A rapid and sharp fall in fertility rates over the past three decades as well as a substantial rise in life expectancy are causing rapid aging of Iran’s population.

The present paper uses the 2015 United Nations Population Division data to discuss the trends, determinants and the implications of population aging in Iran. According to the medium fertility variant, people age 60 and older will represent 31 percent (almost 29 million people) of Iran’s population by 2050. The population age 65 and older is projected to be 22 percent (more than 20 million) and that of aged 80 and older 3.8 percent (around 3.5 million) in 2050, that are almost four-times the corresponding figures in 2015. Data on the speed of population aging show that Iran is the second fastest aging country in the world in terms of the percentage point increase in the population age 60 and over between 2015 and 2050; Iran is second only to South Korea, by less than .01 percent.

The rapid population aging of Iran has significant implications for all societal institutions and decision makers that have to be addressed by the Iranian society. Gender-related issues and socio-economic security in old age are two key issues resulting from such a fast population aging. As with many rapidly aging populations, Iran needs a strategy for social and economic support for an aging population that will not promote views of aging people as a burden.

Keywords: Iran, population aging, fertility change, the speed of the population aging

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Nader Mehri is a doctoral student at the Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. His primary research interests are the demography of aging, demographic estimation methods, applied statistics, meta-analysis, and family demography.

Mahmood Meskoub is senior lecturer at the International Institute of Social Studies (Erasmus University of Rotterdam), teaching and researching in areas of social policy and population studies. As an economist he taught for many years in the UK (at the universities of Leeds and London). His current research interests are in the area of economics of social policy and population ageing, migration and universal approach to social provisioning. His recent publications on MENA are related to social policy, the impact of recent financial crisis on the region, poverty and employment policies. He has acted as a consultant to ESCWA, ILO, UNFPA and the World Bank.

Suzanne Kunkel is Executive Director of the Scripps Gerontology Center and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Her primary research focus is on planning for the health care needs for the older population, and the role of the aging network in health outcomes for older adults and for communities.