Iran’s Marriage Rate Drops by 5 to 7 Percent Every Year, Health Official Says

The number of people getting married in Iran has dropped between 5 to 7 percentage points every year in the last decade, IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency) reports, citing Hamed Barakati, the director of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education’s Office for Family Health.

“The rates of marriage and childbirth have lowered in Iran. Close to 890,000 couples married in 2011, but that number dropped to 650,000 in 2017,” Mr. Barakati said. “The annual population growth rate in Iran stands at 1.3 percent. The total fertility rate (TFR) was 2.1 percent between 2011 and 2016.”

Barakati added: “There were 1.4 million births in Iran in 2011. The number of births reached 2 million in certain years during the 1980s. There is a direct correlation between the number of people getting married and the birth rate, of course. However, most couples wait four to five years before they have their first child. The government cannot exercise a policy of promoting marriage and trying to increase the country’s birth rate while young couples are unable to afford to start a family, and have to raise their children in a 40 square-meter apartment.”

“So far, only the Ministry of Health and Medical Education provides maternity leave to its employees,” Barakati noted. “The problem persists in the private sector. A woman employed by a business with a small staff cannot take time off after giving birth; otherwise, she may lose her job.”

Barakati explained: “It is important for men to take 15 days of paternity leave to provide emotional and psychological support to their wives. In the past, the extended family including grandparents, aunts, and uncles helped with looking after children. However, those days are long gone. Families are much smaller these days, and parents spend too much time away from their children.”

Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi