Child Population in Iran Declining, Raising Concerns for Future

November 20th stands as a significant day in the history of children's rights, marking pivotal moments that have shaped global efforts to protect and promote the well-being of young ones.

Iran (IMNA) - On November 20th, 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, a landmark document outlining the fundamental rights of every child, including the right to life, education, healthcare, and protection from harm and abuse. This declaration served as a guiding framework for subsequent initiatives aimed at safeguarding children's rights worldwide.

Three decades later, on November 20th, 1989, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a comprehensive treaty that sets out a broad range of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights for children. This convention, ratified by nearly every country in the world, has become the cornerstone of international efforts to promote and protect children's rights.

World Children's Day, observed annually on November 20th, serves as an inspirational platform to advocate, promote, and celebrate children's rights. It encourages individuals, organizations, and governments to engage in meaningful dialogues and actions that will create a better world for children.

However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a child rights crisis, exacerbating existing challenges and creating new obstacles to children's well-being. The pandemic has resulted in disruptions to education, healthcare, and essential services, leading to increased poverty, hunger, and vulnerability among children. The costs of the pandemic for children are immediate and, if unaddressed, may have lasting consequences throughout their lifetime.

As the world grapples with the challenges of the pandemic, it is crucial to prioritize the rights and well-being of children. Governments, organizations, and individuals must work together to ensure that the impacts of the pandemic are mitigated and that children's rights are upheld. World Children's Day provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the importance of child rights, address the challenges they face, and renew our commitment to building a world where every child can thrive and reach their full potential.

Child Population in Iran Declining, Raising Concerns for Future

Since the Iranian calendar year 1395 (March 2016 - March 2017), the child population in Iran has seen a steady decline as a proportion of the total population due to a falling fertility rate, according to demographer Shahla Kazemipour.

As of today, there are approximately 7 million children under the age of 4 years and 6.4 million children between the ages of 5-10 years in Iran. The higher number of younger children compared to older children can be attributed to the reduced age of marriage in the 1980s.

Overall, children under the age of 10 make up around 17% of the country's total population, with boys accounting for 51% (6.9 million) and girls accounting for 49% (6.6 million).

However, recent years have witnessed a concerning decline in the child population, raising concerns about the future workforce and societal stability.

According to Kazemipour, about 5 million children are enrolled in primary school, with approximately 2% deprived of primary education due to factors such as remoteness, poverty, and lack of access to schools.

Furthermore, not all children in school have access to adequate facilities, leading to a decline in the quality of education. Despite the general education law mandating that all children should complete junior high school, approximately 500,000 illiterate children remain in Iran.

These statistics serve as a wake-up call for policymakers to address the declining child population and ensure that all children have access to quality education, as they are the future generation that will drive the country's progress and prosperity.

Child Nutrition Overlooked Amidst Population Decline Concerns

Kazemipour brought attention to the critical issue of child nutrition in Iran. Expressing concern, she highlighted the lack of attention given to the annual health checkups of children aged one to five years, emphasizing the significance of monitoring their height, weight, and nutritional status.

Dr. Kazemipour underlined the need for more attention to the health and well-being of children, especially in the context of a young and growing population. She emphasized the importance of comprehensive healthcare services to ensure optimal growth and development among the nation's children.

On a separate note, data from the Statistics Center revealed a concerning decline in Iran's fertility rate over the past eight years. The year from March 2019 to March 2020 witnessed the lowest fertility rate, with a birth rate of only 1.2.

This decline is particularly notable given the fluctuations observed in the fertility rate over the past eight years. In the early 2010s, the rate experienced a slight increase, rising from 1.75 to 2.07. However, it sharply dropped to a record low of 1.8 in the latest Iranian calendar year.

Experts urge policymakers to address these alarming trends in child nutrition and fertility rates. They emphasize the need for comprehensive strategies to promote the health and well-being of children and to encourage a sustainable population growth in Iran.

Iran's Birth Rate Sees Significant Drop in Recent Years

The number of births registered in Iran has witnessed a notable decline over the past three years, according to data released by the National Organization for Civil Registration. The figures show that in the [Iranian calendar] year 1390 (March 2011-March 2012), the number of registered births stood at 1,382,118. This number saw a rise to 1,528,053 births in the [Iranian calendar] year 1395 (March 2016-March 2017).

However, the trend has reversed since then, with the latest data indicating a significant downtrend. In the [Iranian calendar] year (March 2019-March 2020), registered births decreased to 1,196,135, marking a decline of approximately 120,000 to 16,000 births per year over the past three years alone.

The age pattern of fertility reveals a decrease in total fertility rates across all age groups. In the past year, fertility rates fell within the age groups of 20-24, 25-29, and 30-34 years, pointing to a decline in fertility among young people. This, in turn, has significantly contributed to the overall drop in the total fertility rate.

Experts attribute the declining birth rate to a combination of factors, including economic uncertainty, changes in societal norms, and the rising cost of living. With these trends expected to continue, policymakers are faced with the challenge of addressing the potential implications of a shrinking population in the coming years.

Population Decline: Consequences and Socio-Economic Factors

The country is facing a decline in its population, with significant consequences in the coming decades. One of the primary concerns is the reduction in the working population (aged 15 to 64). This will lead to a smaller workforce, potentially impacting economic growth and productivity. Furthermore, the aging population will strain healthcare resources and social welfare systems.

Several socio-economic factors have contributed to this fertility rate decrease and changing reproductive behavior in the country. Financial constraints, urbanization, increasing educational attainment, and a rise in the first marriage age have all played a role. Additionally, improved access to family planning services and an increased time gap between the firstborn and marriage have further contributed to the decline.

Mohammad Jalal Abbasi, a demographic expert and head of the Population Association, explains that economic shocks and psychological crises like the ongoing global pandemic can further exacerbate the situation. Fears of an uncertain future often led to a decline in marriage rates and childbearing.

This population decline and its socio-economic implications require comprehensive policies and interventions to address the underlying factors and mitigate the potential consequences.

News ID 456403


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