Fertility projection in Iran: a new approach to measurement of fertility

Meimanat Hosseini Chavoshi, Australian National University
Peter McDonald, Australian National University
Mohammad J. Abbasi-Shavazi, University of Tehran and Australian National University

Iran reached replacement-level fertility by 2000, and currently a vast majority of urban regions are experiencing low or very low fertility. However, a few ethnically populated areas comprising a small proportion of population are still displaying higher fertility. Policy makers are concerned that this low fertility will lead to a negative population growth, and that regional fertility differentials will result to an imbalance in the composition of future population. Various scenarios have been proposed for the future of fertility, and the question is whether Iran’s fertility will continue its declining pace, or whether there will be a rise in fertility proceeding with a stalling period. Conventional age-based measures are commonly used to project the future of population. This paper intends to apply a technique which considers quantum effects as well as the age structure of the population to forecast fertility, a method that has already been applied to the Australian data with the most accurate result. Except the recent sign of the slight postponement of the first birth in Iran, parity progressions and birth intervals for the second child onwards have almost been constant over the last decade. The stability of fertility patterns and levels allows us to include quantum effects to project age-specific fertility rate taking into account age at first and last birth, parity progression, and birth interval. Using the 2000 Iran DHS and the 2006 census, an experiment of fertility projection during 1995 and 2006 is carried out, and the results of our projections are compared with the results obtained from the own-children method for the same period. The result confirms that this technique provides a better projection of fertility as compared with the commonly used age-based method.

Presented in Session 37: New approaches in measuring and predicting fertility