Single life, childless families rising in Iran

October 21, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN — Rapid growth in single life and childless families are unwelcome changes affecting Iranian family structures, an official at the National Organization for Civil Registration has said, Mehr reported on Monday.

There were a 6.5 percent decrease in marriage rate from 2011 to 2014, but the 2.7 increase of marriage rate in the first half the current year (March 21 to September 22) does not necessarily guarantee a growth till the end of the year, Ali Akbar Mahzoon said.

The latest census figures revealed noticeable changes in family structures as 61 percent of the families are nuclear families, 14.6 percent are childless families, and only 3.84 percent live as extended families, Mahzoon explained.

“Over the past years extended families which used to form 10 percent of the families in Iran are now less than 4 percent,” he lamented.

The statistics also indicate that the number of those who prefer to live a single life have increased by about 2 percent, Mahzoon said.

Single parent families are now forming 7 percent of the whole population which has increased compared to the past decades, the official added.

“About 12 percent of the families are headed by women, 30 percent of these women are under 50 years old and 70 percent are above 50,” he explained.

It is essential to study family structures in a different light now in order to come up with practical solutions for their problems, Mahzoon said.

Types of family structures

There are different types of family structures which have changed dramatically over the past years.

An extended family is several generations of the same family living in the same household or in near vicinity or neighborhood. Extended Families may include aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents, grandchildren, children, etc.

A nuclear family, on the other hand, is a type consists of two parents and children.

While most people think of family as including children, there are couples who either cannot or choose not to have children. They are called childless families.

A single parent family consists of one parent raising one or more children on his or her own. Often, a single parent family is a mother with her children, although there are single fathers as well.

A “matrifocal” family consists of a mother and her children. In such families the husband has either left the family or died. In some cases the father might be sick too. Either way the mother is the head of the family and in charge of the household economy.

Single life is also a lifestyle that a man or woman choose not to or cannot marry and will live alone for the rest of his or her life.

Nuclear and extended families which were once considered as desired family structures could not stand the test of time due to the new changes in the present lifestyle they no longer exist in their former state and have generated into new and less favorable ones such as childless families.