BOJNURD iii. Basic Population Data, 1956-2011



iii. Basic Population Data, 1956-2011

This sub-entry deals with the following population characteristics of Bojnurd: 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. Bojnurd has experienced a high rate of population growth, increasing more than tenfold from a population of 19,253 in 1956 to 199,791 in 2011, During the period 1956-76, the average annual growth rate was approximately 4.5 percent, from 19,253 to 47,719 people. From 1976 to 1986, the population growth rate of Bojnurd reached the value of 6.95 percent per year, as the population almost doubled, to 93,392 people. Since Bojnurd was one of the safer cities in the country during the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88 (on which, see IRAQ vii), this 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 Bojnurd dropped to 3.78 percent per year between 1986 and 1991 and to 3.7 percent per year between 1991 and 1996. Consequently the population of Bojnurd reached 112,426 in 1991 and 134,835 in 1996. Since then, the annual population growth rate for Bojnurd has continued to decrease, falling to 2.48 percent in the years 2006-2011 (Table 1). 

Age structure. The population of Bojnurd can be considered as young.  In 2011 almost 72 percent of the population were in the activity ages of 15 to 64, another 24 percent were below 15 years of age and only 4 percent were 65 and over. The age structure in 2006 was almost the same as that in 2011 and clearly 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 Bojnurd was 4.00 persons per household (National Census, 2006; SCI, 2010, p. 86), which was higher than the average of 3.89 for urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2009b, p. 35). In 2011, the average size declined to 3.52 persons per household (SCI, 2014), not significantly higher than the average size of 3.48 for the urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2014).  The rapid decline of household size within a short period of five years is more difficult to explain. 

Literacy rate.  In 2006, almost 88 percent of the population of Bojnurd six years of age and over were literate. The literacy ratio was significantly higher for males (92 percent) than for females (84 percent; SCI, 2010, Table 4, p. 145). A 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, 1-1, 2009, pp. 223, 225, 227), suggests relatively lower literacy condition in Bojnurd. 

Economic activity status. In 2006, almost 83.8 percent of the population of Bojnurd, or 148,160 people, were in the activity ages (i.e., 10 years of age and over), of whom 37.5 percent were economically active and 61.1 percent inactive, while the status of the rest (1.4 percent) was unknown. The activity ratio in Bojnurd is somewhat lower than the national average ratio for cities (38.8 percent; SCI, 2009b, p. 35).  Employment and unemployment ratios in Bojnurd are estimated at 92.0 percent and 8.0 percent of the active population (i.e. of 37.5 percent of the total population). These figures indicate the ratio of employment in Bojnurd is higher than that in urban areas in the country as a whole (with 88.2 percent employed and 11.8 percent unemployed; SCI, 2010, p. 178; (Table 3). 


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

National Census for Bojnurd sub-province, 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006, and 2011.

SCI (Statistical Center of Iran), Tawziʿ wa ṭabaqa-bandi-e jamʿiyat-e šahrhā-ye kešvar dar saršomārihā-ye 1335-75 [years 1956-196], 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 

(Mohammad Hossein Nejatian)

Originally Published: December 15, 2014

Last Updated: December 15, 2014

Cite this entry:

Mohammad Hossein Nejatian, "BOJNURD iii. Basic Population Data, 1956-2011,"  Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2014, available at (accessed on 15 December 2014).