BANDAR ABBAS ii. Basic Population Data, 1956-2011



ii. Basic population data, 1956-2011

This article deals with the following population characteristics of Bandar Abbas: population growth from 1956 to 2011, age structure, average household size, literacy rate, and economic activity status for 2006 and/or 2011 (different dates for the categories are determined by the availability of census data). 

Population growth.  Bandar Abbas has experienced a very high rate of population growth, increasing more than twenty five-fold from a population of 17,710 in 1956 to 435,751 in 2011. The exceptional growth of Bandar Abbas population is attributed to “the rebirth” of its harbor in the 1960s-70s. This began in 1964 when the government decided “to build a new deep-water port in a well-sheltered area,” (see above i.). During the period 1956-66, the average annual growth rate was close to seven percent, and the population doubled to 34,627 people. The population growth rate of the city reached the value of 9.77 percent per year as the population almost doubled to 87,981 people. High population growth rate in Bandar Abbas continued until 1986 during which population increased 8.65 percent per year to 201,642 people. Since Bandar Abbas was one of the safer cities in the country during the Iran-Iraq war (iraq vii. Iran-Iraq war), this may be attributed inter-alia to war-related population movements. As the war came to an end (i.e., after the cease-fire of 1988), the population growth rate for Bandar Abbas dropped to 4.35 percent per year between 1986 and 1991 and to 1.86 percent per year between 1991 and 1996. Consequently the population of Bandar Abbas reached 249,504 in 1991 and 273,578 in 1996. Since then, the annual population growth rate for Bandar Abbas has continued to decrease, falling to 3.32 percent per year in the years 1996-2006 and 2.81 percent per year in the years 2006-2011, as the population respectively grew to 379,578 and 435, 751 people (Table 1). 

Age structure. The population of Bandar Abbas can still be considered as young.  In 2011 over 71.5 percent of the population were in the activity ages of 15 to 64, another 26.6 percent were below 15 years of age and only 2.5 percent were 65 and over, that is significantly younger than the age structure of the urban areas as a whole.  The age structure in 2006 was almost the same as that in 2011 and clearly younger than that of urban areas as a whole (Table 2). 

Average household size.  In 2006, the average household size in the city of Bandar Abbas was 4.2 persons per household (National Census, 2006; SCI 2010, p. 87), which was significantly higher than the average of 3.89 for urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2009b, p. 50). In 2011, the average size declined to 3.7 persons per household (SCI, 2014), not clearly higher than the average size of 3.48 for the urban areas as a whole 

Literacy rate.  In 2006, almost 91.9 percent of the population of Bandar Abbas six years of age and over were literate. The literacy ratio was significantly higher for males (94 percent) than for females (89.6 percent; SCI, 2010, Table 4, p. 146).  In comparison to urban areas in general, either for both sexes (88.9 percent) or for each sex (92.2 percent for males and 85.6 percent for females; SCI, I/1, 2009b, pp. 223, 225, 227), suggests higher literacy rate in Bandar Abbas.

Employment status. In 2006, almost 71.7 percent of the population of Bandar Abbas or 312,493 people, were in the activity ages (i.e., 10 years of age or older), of whom 41.6 percent were economically active and 57.7 percent inactive, while the status of the rest (0.74 percent) was unknown.  The activity ratio in Bandar Abbas is clearly higher than the average ratio for cities (38.8 percent; SCI, 2009b, p. 35).  Employment and unemployment ratios of the active population in Bandar Abbas are estimated at 89.7 percent and 10.3 percent, (SCI, 2010, p. 178). These figures indicate the ratio of employment in Bandar Abbas is relatively higher than that in urban areas in the country as a whole (with 88.2 percent employed and 11.8 percent unemployed (38.8 percent; SCI, 2009b, p. 35; Table 3).   

Population projection. Population projection for cities is not a systematic process in Iran and usually depends upon development plans or the case studies needed in larger plans. The author of this article, in connection with a study to plan for the water distribution network for Bandar Abbas, estimated the city’s population would be approximately 570 Thousand people in 2021(Nejatian, 2013)

Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see the EIr Short Titles): 

Mohammad Hossein Nejatian, “Population Studies of Khuzestan” as a part of “Water Supply Project for Khuzestan Province,” Tehran-Boston Consulting Engineers, Tehran, 2013.

National Census for Bandar Abbas, 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006, and 2011.

SCI (Statistical Center of Iran), Tawziʿ wa ṭabaqa-bandi-e jamʿiyat-e šahrhā-ye kešvar dar saršomārihā-ye 1335-75 [years 1956-1996], wa taṭbiq-e tawziʿ-e joḡrāfiāʾi-e jamʿiyat-e ostānhā 1382 [year 2003], Tehran, 2003.

Idem, Natāyej-e saršomāri-e ʿomumi-e nofus va maskan-e 1385 [year 2006], jamʿiyat-e šahrhā-ye kešvar bar ḥasab-e sen va jens, koll-e kešvar, III, Tehran, 2009a. 

Idem, Saršomari-e ʿomumi-e nofus va maskan-e 1385 [year 2006], natāyej-e tafṣili, koll-e kešvar, I, part 1, Tehran, 2009b.

Idem, Gozida-ye namāgarhā-ye jamʿiyati-e šahrhā-ye kešvar bar asās-e natāyej-e saršomāri-e ʿomumi-e nofus va maskan-e 1385 [year 2006], Tehran, 2010.

Idem, “2011 Census Selected Results—UNFPA Iran,” electronically published, 2014; available at




(Mohammad Hossein Nejatian)

Originally Published: December 12, 2014

Last Updated: December 12, 2014

Cite this entry:

Mohammad Hossein Nejatian, "BANDAR ABBAS ii. Basic Population Data, 1956-2011," Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2014, available at (accessed on 12 December 2014).