Social & Demography

Social & Demography


Iran is a diverse country, consisting of many religious and ethnic groups that are unified through a shared Persian language and culture. Iran’s population grew rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century, increasing from about 19 mn in 1956 to around 80 mn by 2017. According to the Iranian Constitution, the government is required to provide every citizen of the country with access to social security that covers retirement, unemployment, old age, disability, accidents, calamities, health and medical treatment and care services.


According to Iran population and housing census in the year ended in March 2017, Iran’s total population was 79.93 mn of which 40.50 mn were men and 39.43 mn were women.

Population by gender

From Iran’s total population, 59,146,847 are urban population, 20,730,625 are rural population, and 48,798 are non- resident population.

Population’s residential status in the year ended in March 2017

Annual population growth

Annual population growth

Population pyramid

Literacy Rate

Literacy rate trend (%)


Total immigrant population and immigration destination (mn)

Rural and urban immigration trend (mn people)

Human Capital Index

Iran working age population share (15- 64 years) from total population is more than 71% which is indicated in World Economic Forum’s latest report. About 7.4 mn of Iran population has academic education that composes 9.3% of total population.

Iran human Capital index status

Iran, with a 5 rank descent in comparison to 2015, has been ranked 85 in human capital index between 130 countries and has a 64.16 score from 100. In 2016, Iran had its highest rank in 0 to 14 age group by being ranked 44 among 130 countries and its lowest rank was for 25 – 54 age group; it was ranked 106.

Human capital index rank divided by age

Human Development Index

Iran’s HDI value for 2015 is 0.774 – which put the country in high human development category- positioning it at 69 out of 188 countries and territories. Between 2010 and 2015, Iran’s HDI value increased from 0.745 to 0.774, an increase of 3.8%. Between 2010 and 2015, Iran’s life expectancy at birth increased by 1.56 years, mean years of schooling increased by 0.6 years and expected years of schooling increased by 1.7 years. Iran’s GNI per capita decreased about 6.4% between 2010 and 2015.

Iran’s 2015 HDI of 0.774 is above the average of 0.746 for countries in the high human development group and above the average of 0.621 for countries in South Asia. From South Asia, countries which are close to Iran’s in 2015 HDI rank and to some extent in population size are Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have HDIs ranked 139 and 147 respectively.

Human capital’s world rank by age

Iran’s HDI and component indicators for 2015


The majority of the population speaks Persian language, which is also the official language of the country. Others include speakers of the rest of the Iranian languages within the greater Indo- European languages, and the languages of the other ethnicities in Iran.

In Northern Iran, mostly confined to Gilan and Mazenderan provinces, Gilaki and Mazenderani languages are widely spoken. They both have affinities to the neighboring Caucasian languages. In parts of Gilan, Talysh language is also widely spoken, which stretches up to the neighboring country of Azerbaijan. Kurdish is widely spoken in Kurdistan Province and nearby areas. In Khuzestan, many distinct Persian dialects are spoken. Luri and Lari languages are spoken in southWestern and Southern Iran.

Turkish languages and dialects, most importantly Azerbaijani language which is by far the most spoken language in the country after Persian, are spoken in different areas in Iran, but is especially widely and dominantly spoken in Iranian Azerbaijan. Notable minority languages in Iran include Armenian, Georgian, Neo- Aramaic, and Arabic. Khuzi Arabic is spoken by the Arabs in Khuzestan, and the wider group of Iranian Arabs.

Ethnic groups

The largest ethnic groups are the Persians and Azeri. Persians account for 61% of the population, followed by Kurd (10%), Lur (6%), and Baloch (2%). Other ethnicities account for the remaining 21%, including the Azeri’s (16%), Arabs (2%), Turkmens and Turk tribes (2%), as well as Armenians, Assyrians, and Georgians.

Ethnic groups


The major part (89%) of the population in Iran is Shi’a Muslim, 10% is Sunni Muslim, and the remaining 1% is others.

Iran religions

Ethnic groups share from population


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