Iran General NewsIran launches nationwide population census

Iran launches nationwide population census

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AP: More than 90,000 surveyors began the largest census of the Iranian population in decades, state-run radio reported Saturday. AP, Tehran, Oct. 28 – More than 90,000 surveyors began the largest census of the Iranian population in decades, state-run radio reported Saturday.

The final results are due in May 2007, Mohammad Madad, head of Iran’s Statistics Center told the radio. “It will help decision-makers to apply more convenient policies,” Madad said.

The census came as the Islamic Republic’s hardline government faced a population boom along with double digit unemployment and inflation rates.

Iran’s population grew by an estimated 10 million people since 1996, when the last census counted 60 million people in this vast, central Asian country.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who completed his census form in a ceremony Thursday, said his administration was ready to hold the census every five years, instead of each decade, because of rapid changes of data in Iran.

More than half of the population is under 30 years old, and the youth, along with women’s groups and Iran’s many ethnic minorities, have grown increasingly restive in recent years, asking for more social and political freedom.

The census would cost more than US$ 40 million (31.5 million euro), the radio said. The first official census was held in Iran in 1956 under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Since then Iran has held nationwide censuses every ten years.

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