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Iran's Population Is Aging Fast, Warns Expert

Retired teachers in Iran protesting over unpaid pensions. With a struggling economy, Iran struggles with giving jobs to the young and take care of the elderly. FILE PHOTO from 2017.

A senior adviser to Iran’s Ministry of Health has warned that the country’s population is aging fast and in 20 years 20 percent of the population will be made up of senior citizens.

Mohammad Esmaeel Akbari told local media that Iran’s population growth has slowed and until 2050 Iranian population will become one of the world’s oldest.

Although he did not mention what is the percentage of the elderly in Iran, in 2011 it was close to nine percent and now it is above 10 percent based on trends from pre-2011 period.

To make a comparison, current percentage of senior citizens in the United Sates is 14.5. Turkey with a similar social, religious and cultural environment to that of Iran has 8.8 percent older population.

In contrast, Saudi Arabia’s population is very young. The elderly constitute only 4.2 percent of the population in the affluent society, although the trend shows an upward growth.

Iran had an explosion in population in the 1980s with birth rates close to 4 percent. But by early 90s population growth slowed, with fertility declining to under 2 percent and population growth at around one percent in 2018.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has repeatedly called for boosting population growth but with a struggling economy and high unemployment, family size has been shrinking and marriages declining.