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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-22

Changing of family size and some sociodemographic-related factors in rural areas in the north of iran: Results of two cross-sectional studies from 2004 to 2013

1 Department of Nutrition, Metabolic Disorders Research Center, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Iran
2 Department of Medicine, Student Research Committee, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Iran
3 Department of Dentistry, Pardis Student Research Committee, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Iran

Date of Web Publication6-Feb-2017

Correspondence Address:
Maryam Montazeri
Student Research Committee, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Golestan Province
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2321-8568.199530

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Background: The population growth as a multifaceted factor is a controversial issue in Iran. The main aim of this study is to compare the population growth and some sociodemographic-related factors in the rural areas between 2004 and 2013 in the north of Iran. Materials and Methods: In this descriptive and cross-sectional study, sample size was estimated at a minimum of 2401 (with an accuracy of 0.01 and error < 0.05). These studies were carried out on 2816 and 2562 individuals in 2004 and 2013, respectively. The sampling was combinational, and 20 out of 118 villages were selected randomly. We collected the data from all families whose children were under the age of 5 years. Data were analysed using SPSS software version 18.0, and P< 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The mean and standard deviation in 2004 and 2013 was 4.86 &3177; 1.96 and 4.13 &3177; 1.34, respectively. Decreasing trend was statistically significant during the two studies (P < 0.001). The highest family size has been observed in Turkmen group with 5.41 and 4.44 numbers in 2004 and 2013, respectively. Family size was positively correlated with economic status (P = 0.001), but it was negative with educational levels. ANOVA showed a significant difference between education level and mean of family size (P = 0.001). Conclusion: Family size in Turkmen group was higher than that in Fars-native and Sistani groups. It had a significant decreasing trend during the 9-year study. Population growth has a positive correlation with economic status and negative correlation with mother's educational level.

Keywords: Family size, population growth, village, Iran

How to cite this article:
Veghari G, Montazeri M, Ebadpour M, Vaghari M. Changing of family size and some sociodemographic-related factors in rural areas in the north of iran: Results of two cross-sectional studies from 2004 to 2013. Adv Hum Biol 2017;7:19-22

How to cite this URL:
Veghari G, Montazeri M, Ebadpour M, Vaghari M. Changing of family size and some sociodemographic-related factors in rural areas in the north of iran: Results of two cross-sectional studies from 2004 to 2013. Adv Hum Biol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Feb 2];7:19-22. Available from: https://www.aihbonline.com/text.asp?2017/7/1/19/199530

  Introduction Top

Population intensity has an impressive role in drawing political and economic power of various countries and its negligence makes irreparable damages, therefore it needs attention more than ever.[1],[2] On the other hand, population growth impacts on sociodemographic factors, especially on the migration, mortality and fertility rate.[3]

The first decline in fertility was reported in Europe and France in the first half of the 19th century and the next one in the second half of the 19th century in the US and other European countries, and then in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This reduction has happened in Asia, especially in East and Southeast Asia, and fertility rate in Asia declined from 5.7 children in 1965 to 2.5 children in 1995 (for each woman), but this decreasing pattern is becoming flatter in South and West Asia.[1]

Population policies in Iran have been changed after the Islamic revolution in 1979 and then population growth gradually decreased until 2011. According to the statistical centre, 78.5 million people live in Iran and the population growth rate has been estimated 1.29%; however, it can be 1.9% in Golestan province. In this regard, having none or one child in 35% of Iranian families is an alarming rate for policymakers in Iran.[4]

Based on demographic studies and viewpoint of demographers, if this fertility pattern continues in Iran, growth rate will become zero by 2040–2045 and even it will continue to become negative. Without discretion, negative population size resulted in ageing population and decline in total efficiency.[5]

It seems social factors such as modernity have a negative fertilisation behaviour in Iran. On the other hand, the number of provinces which have villages with negative growth rate enhanced from 11 in 1996 to 25 in 2006. This result shows severity of village escaping and deprivation effects on decreasing population growth.[5],[6]

Golestan province is located in the north of Iran (southeast of Caspian sea) and has a population of 1.7 million, in which 25.6% of them are living in rural areas. Agriculture is the main job of this people. This province includes different ethnic groups with three large groups as follows: Fars-native, Sistani and Turkmen.[7]

The purpose of performing these studies is to compare population growth and its related factors among rural families in the north of Iran between 2004 and 2013.

  Materials and Methods Top

This cross-sectional study was performed to compare family size and its related factors in rural areas in the north of Iran between 2004 and 2013. The sample size was estimated at the least 2401 based on 50% prevalence, 0.01 accuracy and with <0.05 error. In that way, 2816 and 2562 participants were chosen in 2004 and 2013, respectively. Twenty out of 118 villages were selected randomly and all mothers who had under-5-year-old children were participated in two studies. Written informed consent was obtained from all mothers. Data were collected by a questionnaire which contains questions about socioeconomic problems. Questionnaires were completed by twenty trained health office staffs.

SPSS for windows software (version 18.0; SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA) software was used for statistical data analysis. T-test and one-way ANOVA were used for quantities groups and Chi-square test was used for qualities groups as age groups, economic groups and educational groups between 2004 and 2013. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

The ethnic groups in this study were divided into three groups: (1) Fars-native: the natural inhabitants of this province, they are recognised with same name in the society (2) Turkmen: the intermarriage of this ethnic group with other ethnic group was rare, therefore this ethnic group can be recognised as pure race. (3) Sistani ethnic group: this ethnic group was immigrated from Sistan and Baluchestan provinces from the east of Iran far earlier.

In this study, ethnicity was divided into three groups: (1) Fars-native: the natural inhabitant of this province, they are recognised with same name in the society. (2) Turkmen: this group has a very weak relative relationship with other ethnic groups and it is different from them in terms of language and phenotype from other groups. (3) Sistani: this group has migrated from Sistan and Baluchestan provinces over the past few years. Other ethnic groups which have lower abundance were placed in Fars-native group.

Educational level was divided into three levels based on Iran education system: (1) Illiterate: unable to read and write. (2) 1–12 years educated in school. (3) university education: holders of technician degree or upper.

Economic status was divided into three groups by accrediting to ownership of 16 necessary facilities: (1) Poor: 0–6, (2) medium: 7–10 and (3) and good: 11–16. This study was approved by the Ethical Research Committee of Golestan University of Medical Sciences (G-P-35-1112).

  Results Top

Mean and standard deviation of family size was 4.86 ± 1.96 and 4.13 ± 1.34 in 2004 and 2013, respectively, and this difference was statistically significant (P < 0.001). [Table 1] shows a comparison of family size from 2004 to 2013 among ethnicity, mother's educational level and family economic status.
Table 1: The comparison of mean and standard deviation of family size between 2004 and 2013, based on ethnicity, mothers' education and economic status in the north of Iran

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Among ethnic groups, Turkmen has the highest proportion of family size i.e., 5.41 in 2004 and 4.44 in 2013. In both stages of the study, family size was positively and significantly correlated with economic status (P = 0.001). In rich families, it was 0.42 times more than low-income families in 2004 and 0.49 in 2013. In addition, ANOVA showed a significant difference between educational level and family size in each stage of the study (P = 0.001). In uneducated group, the family size was higher than others. Tukey's post hoc test revealed statistical significant differences between the two subgroups (P < 0.05 for all).

Family number based on ethnicity has been shown in [Table 2]. Nearly 54.2% of the families were having 1–4 members in 2004 while it was 71.8% in 2013 (P < 0.001). In the two stages of the study, 14.4%, 21% and 16.8% of Fars-native, Turkmen and Sistani groups were with 1–4 members in families, respectively. The families with five numbers or more were reduced during the two studies. In good economic group, the 1–4-membered families were 27.9% more in 2013 than in 2004. Also, in families with college education, the 1–4-membered families raised to 8.3% during the two studies.
Table 2: Comparison of family numbers between 2004 and 2013 based on ethnic groups in the north of Iran

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  Discussion Top

In the present study, the mean family size was significantly decreased between 2004 and 2013. During 1971–1986, Iran's fertility rate was high, and the mean number of children in each family was 5.6,[8] which was higher than our study results. The reason of significant difference in family size of ethnic groups may be due to religious orientation towards family planning programme, women education and changes in marriage age. On the other hand, increasing the marriage age will reduce the chance of fertility. For example, Sistan and Baluchestan provinces reflect ethnic-religious attitude among norms of family and reproductive behaviours.[9] Ultimately, nowadays, socioeconomic factors have changed ethno-cultural values and have caused changes in marriage patterns.

In our study, despite college education, mothers had fewer children than low-educated ones. Women more than men are affected by social behaviors and life style. The traditional families in Iran believe that women should be prepared for a healthy family life, childbearing and householding. In the past three decades, this idea has changed, and the role of women in society has become more prominent. Nowadays, women constitute half of the labour force.[10] Studies have shown that enhancement of female employment is associated with reduced fertility rate. On the other side, usage of modern contraceptive tools in rural population is very low because of lack of access. Hence, it seems that the trend of fertility in economically active women is lower in individual level. Overall, there is a clear negative correlation between women's fertility rate and their educational level. In addition, areas with higher rates of employed women have less fertility rate and higher usage of contraceptive tools.[9],[11]

Despite promotion in health and reduction in mortality rate due to infectious disease among children, the population growth has been reduced in families. This research showed that family size reduced significantly in observation period even in rich families. A study in Sistan and Baluchestan provinces showed that various factors such as enhancement of family size, educational level, occupation and age are effective in poverty rate.[4] In addition, we can conclude that economic infirmity individually could not be the reason of reduced population growth in the past years. However, generally, inability to feed children, supplying clothes and other facilities make parents under pressure, and inflation pressure prevents fertility.

On the other hand, gender preference (especially for boy) as the workforces, had been caused to more children in families. However, transition from domestic production into capitalist production makes childbearing less economic because of cost of children education and training. Also, in the past, rural families were described (defined) as living with grandmother and grandfather (tribal life), nowadays this lifestyle has been eliminated because of different socioeconomic reasons which may have negative effect on family size.[12]

The role of ethnicity and other sociodemographic factors on the health behaviours was seen in previous studies. For example, in Scotland, the caesarean section rate in Scottish women was 5% more than in immigrant Polish women during 2006–2009.[13] In the USA, during 2011–2008, Hispanic population does less caesarean section compared with Black and White residents.[14] In the present study, significant differences were observed among ethnic groups so that population growth size in Turkmen was more than in Fars-native and Sistani ethnic groups. The reasons of these differences have not been investigated in our study and so more broad studies need to be done. The greate difference in health and food behaviors among ethnic groups have been reported in other studies in this area.[15],[16],[17]

Finally, it seems, economic and social development of countries is associated with personal interest in fertility rate. Change of family function, especially mothers, decreases the influence of traditional family patterns, and the change of fertility values (dominant of families with fewer children against families with more children) and usage of contraceptive tools are risk factors for family size.[6],[18] According to the proven role of mother's education in fertility, we can increase wishing pregnancies by providing appropriate trainings and enhancing positive attitude to children. Nowadays, fear for childbirth is one of the important factors of reduced fertility which could be decreased by appropriate trainings.[2],[19]

The limitations of our study are we did not evaluate all productivity-related factors, for example, parents' age, job, immigration, accesses to reproductive tools, changing economic indices during two stages and population government policy. Besides, a proper statistical test was not used in considering design effect caused by cluster sampling.

  Conclusion Top

Family size has reduced significantly in rural areas of northern Iran in the past 11 years and this proportion in Turkmen race is more than other ethnic groups. Family size in illiterate people is more than people with college education, which is more impressive in Fars-native group. Weak economic status is one of the reductions of growth rate in rural areas of northern Iran.

Financial support and sponsorship

This study was financially supported by the vice chancellor of Research and Technology in Golestan University of Medical Sciences based on GP/35/738 document number.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Karabulut Ö, Coskuner Potur D, Dogan Merih Y, Cebeci Mutlu S, Demirci N. Does antenatal education reduce fear of childbirth? Int Nurs Rev 2016;63:60-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
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Omrani M, Faraj Zadeh Z, Dahmarde M. The determinants of poverty and rural welfare changes of Sistan. J Agric Econ 2009;1:21-42.  Back to cited text no. 4
Marcellini F, Giuli C, Gagliardi C, Papa R. Aging in Italy: Urban-rural differences. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2007;44:243-60.  Back to cited text no. 5
Mollenkopf H, Kaspar R, Marcellini F, Ruoppila I, Széman Z, Tacken M, et al. Quality of life in urban and rural areas of five European countries: Similarities and differences. Hallym Int J Aging 2004;6:1-36.  Back to cited text no. 6
Mohammad M. Population and Housing Census in Golestan Province 1385. Available from: http://www.amar.golestanmporg.ir/sarshomari-1385.html. [Last accessed on 2016 Apr 15].  Back to cited text no. 7
Mahmoodian H, Amiri M. The effects of family socio-demographic factors on children's education deprivation in Iran. J Humanit Soc Sci Shiraz Univ 2006;25:153-82.  Back to cited text no. 8
Adibi Sadeh M, Arjmand Siahpoush E, Darvish Zadeh Z. The amount of increased fertility and the affecting factors among Kurdish tribes in Andimesh. J Iran Soc Dev Stud 2012;4:81-98.  Back to cited text no. 9
Alizade M. The role of women in development. J Women Cult 2001;3:49-59.  Back to cited text no. 10
Rad F, Savabi H. Attitudes to reproductive and associated social factors (the study of married women 50-15 years old residing in Tabriz). J Women Fam 2015;3:127-55.  Back to cited text no. 11
Nourozi L. The effects of socioeconomic factors on fertility rate for women in Iran. J Plan Budgeting 1998;30:61-78.  Back to cited text no. 12
Gorman D, Katikireddi S, Morris C, Chalmers J, Sim J, Szamotulska K, et al. Ethnic variation in maternity care: A comparison of Polish and Scottish women delivering in Scotland 2004-2009. Public Health 2014;128:262-7.  Back to cited text no. 13
Creanga AA, Bateman BT, Mhyre JM, Kuklina E, Shilkrut A, Callaghan WM. Performance of racial and ethnic minority-serving hospitals on delivery-related indicators. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014;211:647.e1-16.  Back to cited text no. 14
Veghari G. The relationship of ethnicity, socio-economic factors and malnutrition in primary school children in North of Iran: A cross-sectional study. J Res Health Sci 2012;13:58-62.  Back to cited text no. 15
Veghari G, Asadi J, Eshghinia S. Impact of ethnicity upon body composition assessment in Iranian Northern children. J Clin Diagn Res 2009;3:1779-83.  Back to cited text no. 16
Veghari G, Mansourian A, Abdollahi A. Breastfeeding status and some related factors in Northern Iran. Oman Med J 2011;26:342-8.  Back to cited text no. 17
Ghorbani M, Mehrabi AA, Servati MR, Nazari Samani AA. Evaluation of demographic change and its impact on land use changes (Case Study – Balatalqan). J Range Watershed Manage 2010;63:75-88.  Back to cited text no. 18
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  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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