IRĀNŠAHR ii. Population, 1956-2011



ii. Population, 1956-2011

This article deals with the following population characteristics of Irānšahr city: population growth from 1956 to 2011, age structure, average household size, literacy rate, and economic activity status for 2006 and/or 2011 (different dates for the categories are determined by the availability of census data).

Population growth, Irānšahr has experienced a very high rate of population growth, increasing twenty-sevenfold from a population of 3,618 in 1956 to 97,891 in 2011, partly due to the establishment of a naval base in Chah Bahar port on the Gulf of Oman and to various developmental projects, including a modern highway system in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan. During the period 1956-76, the average annual growth rate was 5.9 percent, from 3,618 to 11,386 people. From 1976 to 1986, the population growth rate of Irānšahr leaped to 13.40 percent per year, as the population reached surprisingly to 40,027 people. Since Irānšahr was among the safer cities during the Iran-Iraq War, this high rate of increase may be attributed to war-related population movements.

As the war came to an end (i.e., after the cease-fire of 1988), the population growth rate for Irānšahr dropped to 7.17 percent per year between 1986 and 1991 and decreased again to 6.35 percent per year between 1991 and 1996. Consequently, the population of Irānšahr reached 56,581 in 1991 and 76,959 in 1996. Since then, the annual population growth rate for Irānšahr has continued to decrease, falling to 2.72 percent between 1996 and 2006 and even to -0.55 percent between 2006 and 2011, as the population grew only to 100,642 in 2006 and then dropped to 97,891 in 2011 (Table 1).

Age structure. The population of Irānšahr can still be considered as young. In 2011, almost 63.1 percent of the population was in the activity ages of 15 to 64; 34.5 percent were below 15 years of age, and only 2.4 percent were 65 and over. This age structure is clearly older than that of all urban areas as a whole. The age structure in 2006 was somewhat younger than that in 2011 and that of urban areas as a whole (Table 2).

Average household size. In 2006, the average household size in the city of Irānšahr was 5.7 persons per household (National Census, 2006; SCI, 2010, p. 85), which was significantly higher than  the average of 3.89 for urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2009b, p. 50). In 2011, the average size declined to 4.3 persons per household (SCI, 2014), which is still higher than the average size of 3.48 for the urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2014).

Literacy rate. In 2006, almost 78.3 percent of the populations of Irānšahr six years of age and over were literate. The literacy ratio was higher for males (83.3 percent) than for females (73.2 percent; SCI, 2010, Table 4, p. 144).  In comparison to the figures for urban areas iof the country as a whole., either for both sexes (88.9 percent) or for each sex (92.2 percent for male and 85.6 percent for female; SCI, 2009b, pp. 223, 225, 227), the figures for Irānšahr suggest very poor conditions there.

Economic activity status. In 2006, almost 75.6 percent of the population of Irānšahr, or 76,086 people, were in the activity ages (i.e., 10 years of age and over), of whom 36.3 percent were economically active and 61.6 percent inactive, while the status of the rest (2.1 percent) was unknown (SCI, 2010, p. 179). The activity ratio in Irānšahr is lower than the national average ratio for cities (38.8 percent, SCI, 2009b, p. 35). Employment and unemployment ratio in Irānšahr is estimated at 61.7 percent and 38.3 percent of the active population (i.e., of 36.3 percent of the population 10 years of age and over). These figures indicate the ratio of employment in Irānšahr is significantly lower than that in urban areas in the country as a whole (Table 3).

Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see the EIr Short Titles):

National Census, Irānšahr Sub-province, 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006, and 2011.

SCI (Statistical Center of Iran [Markaz-e āmār-e Irān]), Tawziʿ wa ṭabaqa-bandi-e jamʿiyat-e šahrhā-ye kešvar dar saršomārihā-ye 1335-75 [years 1956-1996], wa taṭbiq-e tawziʿ-e joḡrāfiāʾi-e jamʿiyat-e ostānhā 1382 [year 2003], Tehran, 2003.

Idem, Natāyej-e saršomāri-e ʿomumi-e nofus va maskan-e 1385 [year 2006], jamʿiyat-e šahrhā-ye kešvar bar ḥasab-e sen va jens, koll-e kešvar III, Tehran, 2009a.

Idem, Saršomari-e ʿomumi-e nofus va maskan-e 1385 [year 2006], natāyej-e tafṣili, koll-e kešvar I, part 1, Tehran, 2009b.

Idem, Gozida-ye namāgarhā-ye jamʿiyati-e šahrhā-ye kešvar bar asās-e natāyej-e saršomāri-e ʿomumi-e nofus va maskan-e 1385 [year 2006], Tehran, 2010.

Idem, “2011 Census Selected Results—UNFPA Iran,” electronically published, 2014; available at (accessed 15 June 2015).

(Mohammad Hossein Nejatian)

Originally Published: November 10, 2015

Last Updated: November 10, 2015

Cite this entry:

Mohammad Hossein Nejatian, “IRĀNŠAHR ii. Population, 1956-2011,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at (accessed on 10 November 2015).