DEZFUL ii. Population, 1956-2011



ii. Population, 1956-2011

This article deals with the following population characteristics of Dezful city: 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. Dezful has experienced a rather moderate rate of population growth), increasing approximately fivefold from a population of 52,121 in 1956 to 248,380 in 2011. During the period 1956-76, the average annual growth rate was 4.31 percent, with the population increasing from 58,998 to 121,251 people. From 1976 to 1986, the population growth rate of Dezful dropped to 2.25 percent per year as the population reached only 151,420 people. Since Dezful was very close to the war frontline during the Iran-Iraq War (see IRAQ vii), this low rate of increase may be attributed 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 Dezful rose to 3.67 percent per year between 1986 and 1991 and dropped again to 2.25 percent per year between 1991 and 1996. The population of Dezful reached 181,309 in 1991 and 202,639 in 1996. Since then, the annual population growth rate for Dezful has continued to decrease, falling to 1.53 percent between 1996 and 2006 and to 1.02 percent between 2006 and 2011, as the population only grew from 202,639 in 1996 to 235,819 in 2006 and to 248,380 in 2011 (Table 1).

Age structure. The population of Dezful can still be considered as young. In 2011 almost 74.3 percent of the population were in the activity age of 15 to 64; another 20.6 percent were below 15 years of age, and only 5.1 percent were 65 and over. The age structure in 2006 was even younger than that in 2011 and than that of urban areas as a whole in the same year (Table 2).

Average household size. In 2006, the average household size in the city of Dezful was 4.2 persons per household (National Census, 2006; SCI, 2010, p. 93), which was higher than the average of 3.89 for urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2009b, p. 50). In 2011 the average size declined to 3.72 persons per household (SCI, 2014), which was still higher than the average size of 3.48 for the urban areas as a whole (SCI, 2014).

Literacy rate. In 2006, almost 89.4 percent of the populations of Dezful six years of age and over were literate. The literacy ratio was higher for males (91.3 percent) than for females (87.3 percent; SCI, 2010, Table 4, p. 152).  Comparison to urban areas in general, either for both sexes (88.9 percent) or for each sex (92.2 percent for male and 85.6 percent for female; SCI, 2009b, pp. 223, 225, 227), suggests almost the same literacy rate in Dezful.

Economic activity status. In 2006, almost 85.31 percent of the population of Dezful or 201,182 people were in the economic activity age (i.e., 10 years of age and over), of whom 37.4 percent were economically active and 62.0 percent inactive, while the status of the rest (0.6 percent) was unknown (SCI, 2010, p. 190). The activity ratio in Dezful is slightly lower than the national average ratio for cities (38.8 percent, SCI, 2009b, p. 35). The employment and unemployment ratio of the active population in Dezful is estimated at 88.5 percent and 11.5 percent (i.e., of 37.4 percent of the total population). These figures indicate the ratio of employment in Dezful is almost the same as  that in urban areas in the country as a whole (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 Khuzestan province, estimated that the city’s population would be approximately 285,200 people in 2021 (Nejatian, 2013).

Bibliography (For cited works not given in detail, see "Short Titles"):

National Census, Dezful Sub-province, 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006, and 2011. Mohammad Hossein Nejatian, “Population Studies of Khuzestan” as a part of “Water Supply Project for Khuzestan Province,” Tehran-Boston Consulting Engineers, Tehran, 2013.

SCI (Statistical Center of Iran [Markaz-e āmār-e Iran), Tawziʿ wa ṭabaqa-bandi-e jamʿiyat-e šahrhā-ye kešvar dar saršomārihā-ye 1335-75 [years 1956-196], 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 (accessed 15 June 2015).

(Mohammad Hossein Nejatian)

Originally Published: June 17, 2015

Last Updated: June 17, 2015

Cite this entry:

Mohammad Hossein Nejatian, "Dezful ii. Population, 1956-2011," Encyclopædia Iranicaonline edition, 2015, available at (accessed on 17 June 2015).