ii. Population, 1956-2011

This article deals with the following population characteristics of Khorramshahr 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. Population growth of Khorramshahr from the first national census in 1956 to the latest one in 2011 may be divided into three different phases: first, before the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88; second, during the war and its aftermath from 1980 to 1991; and third, the period from 1991 to 2011. The first phase witnessed a rapid population growth with a very high rate of 7.28 percent per year between 1956 and 1966 and 4.73 percent between 1966 and 1976.

Since Khorramshahr was occupied by the Iraqi forces during the second phase, the inhabitants evacuated the town; in spite of its recapture by Iranian armed forces in 1982, the city and its port were completely destroyed to the point that nobody could stay there, and the city remained a ghost town. As a result, Khorramshahr had no population in the 1986 National Census. However, after a couple of years, when the primary reconstruction was completed, war refugees started to return to their homes, and population of Khorramshahe increased to 34,750 people in 1991.

From 1991 to 2006, when almost all survivors of the war returned, the population leaped to 105,636 in 1996 with an average annual growth rate of nearly 25 percent. Afterwards, the average growth rate dropped to 1.77 percent per year between 1996 and 2006, and to 0.56 percent per year between 2006 and 2011, when the population grew slowly to 125,859 and 129,418, respectively (Table 1).

Age structure The population of Khorramshahr can still be considered as young. In 2011, almost 69.3 percent of the population were in the activity ages of 15 to 64; 26.5 percent were below 15 years of age, and only 4.2 percent were 65 and over. This age structure is significantly younger than that of national urban areas as a whole. The age structure in 2006 was even younger than that in 2011 and also younger than that of urban areas as a whole in the same year (Table 2).

Average household size. In 2006, the average household size in the city of Khorramshahr was 4.1 persons per household (National Census, 2006, SCI, 2010, p. 92), which was higher than the average of 3.89 for urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2009b, p. 50). In 2011 the average size declined to 3.85 persons per household (SCI, 2014), which was still higher than the average size of 3.48 for the urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2014).

Literacy rate In 2006, almost 86.9 percent of the population of Khorramshahr six years of age and over were literate. The literacy ratio was higher for males (90.9 percent) than for females (82.9 percent; SCI, 2010, Table 4, p. 151). But comparison to urban areas in general, 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) suggests lower literacy conditions in Khorramshahr.

Economic activity status. In 2006, almost 82.71 percent of the population of Khorramshahr, or 104,093 people, were in the activity ages (i.e., 10 years of age and over), of whom 36.7 percent were economically active and 62.5 percent inactive, while the status of the rest (0.8 percent) was unknown (SCI, 2010, p. 188). The activity ratio in Khorramshahr is lower than the national average ratio for cities (38.8 percent; SCI, 2009b, p. 35). Employment and unemployment ratio of the active population in Khorramshahr is estimated at 79.3 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively. These figures indicate the ratio of employment in Khorramshahr is significantly lower than that in urban areas of the country as a whole (with 88.2 percent employed and 11.8 percent unemployed; Table 3).

Population projection, Population projection for cities is not a systematic process in Iran and usually depends upon development plans or the case studies needed in larger plans. The author of this article, in connection with a study to plan for the water distribution network for Khuzestan province, estimated the city’s population would be approximately 177,200 people in 2021 (Nejatian, 2013)


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

Mohammad Hossein Nejatian, “Population Studies of Khuzestan” as a part of “Water Supply Project for Khuzestan Province,” Tehran-Boston Consulting Engineers, Tehran, 2013.

National Census, Khorramshahr 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 kešva 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 11, 2015

Last Updated: November 11, 2015

Cite this entry:

Mohammad Hossein Nejatian, “KHORRAMSHAHR ii. POPULATION, 1956-2011,” Encyclopædia Iranicaonline edition, 2015, available at (accessed on 11 November 2015).