Fertility Decline in Middle-Eastern Countries

Essay by philip_iykeCollege, UndergraduateB+, June 2009

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AbstractIslamic countries have experienced a severe drop in fertility since 1955. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the decline has become more apparent. As with any society, fertility decline has several repercussions upon the culture, and due to the familial role of children in Islamic households, as well as the religion-dominated lifestyles of its people, fertility decline has had unique effects on the Muslim culture. These effects vary in importance; however, there is a clear distinction between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This paper will identify the current situation of Iran and Saudi Arabia as it pertains to the decline, and will also contrast the situation in these countries in respect to demographic behaviour and specific repercussions.

IntroductionFertility decline has repercussions far beyond those of changing population growth rates. Already clear is the increasing influence of the media in Islamic countries. This is quite obvious from role the media played in Iran’s family planning.

It is due to the media’s influence that smaller families became more popular in the first place. Thus, it is quite simple to see that Muslims are becoming more focused on the media, especially as it pertains to family and social developments. Saudi Arabia is another Middle Eastern country that is situated across the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia has also experienced a recent decline in fertility, but for different reasons, and there are contrasting political, social, and economic situations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Economic and Political factors influencing Demographic BehaviourDuring the seventies and early eighties, the Islamic Republic of Iran had a pro-natalist policy, meaning that it encouraged families to have larger families. In the late eighties, the Iranian cities began to be seriously overpopulated. This problem directed The Islamic Republic of Iran to take action by way of family planning in 1989, which...