Internal migration and urbanization in Iran: status, challenges and policy guidelines

Hossein Mahmoudian, University of Tehran

Over the past three decades, an average of one million people have annually moved within the country. Migration has taken place chiefly from less developed regions to more advanced areas. The rate of urban-urban migration has increased significantly, but the reverse has been seen in the rural-rural migration rates. A constant decrease has also been for rural-urban migration. The highest rates of migration have occurred within the 20-34 age group; and the sex ratio of migrants has been higher than the similar figure in the total population. Female migrations have been basically due to tied migration, i.e. following their families. The lowest percentage of women’s absorption has been in urban-rural migration while the highest has been in rural-urban migration. In 1956, about 30% of the population were urban dwellers while the figure was more than 70% in 2011. The most significant factor of urban population growth, during recent years, has been the natural urban population growth. Socio-economic disparities, destruction of rural regions, bio-environmental pollution, peri-urbanism, lack of welfare amenities in the destinations, and vulnerability of those left behind in the rural regions, are among the most important challenges. To control internal migration, policies such as moving the population from densely populated regions, controlling the growth of major cities, developing secondary cities, and rural development have been implemented so far. The policy of developing secondary cities has been a greater success. Among the proposed policy guideline are decreasing regional inequalities, increasing employment opportunities in receiving and sending regions, reinforcing women’s role in migration, and offering the necessary support for vulnerable people in rural and urban regions.

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 Presented in Session 11. Rural and urban migration