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Demographic Changes in Iran's Officially Recognized Religious Minority Populations since the Islamic Revolution

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image of African and Asian Studies
For more content, see Journal of Asian and African Studies.

ABSTRACT Besides Islam, Iran is home to adherents of three of the world's oldest religions: Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity, and to one of the youngest, Baha'i. Significant changes have occurred in the size, composition, and spatial distribution of Iran's officially recognized religious minority populations since the 1970s. This study analyzes these demographic changes with a particular emphasis on their characteristics relative to the preand post-1979 Revolution. Overall, religious minority populations of Iran have drastically declined in number, and they have become increasingly concentrated in several urban areas during the last two decades. In comparison to Muslims, they have lower fertility, mortality, gender and dependency ratios, greater emigration, and a greater proportion of their populations is elderly. Both historic and contemporary socio-political and economic circumstances at the national level are the root causes of these demographic changes.


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