Around 16 million people are living in slums in the outskirts of Iranian big cities, according to an Iranian official. This number is much higher than the official statistics previously announced by the Iranian government.

The number of people living in slums in Iran is on the rise

Saidreza Jandaghian, a senior official in the National Organization of Urban and Rural Municipalities, said on Tuesday that the real number of slum residents in Iran is as high as one-fifth of the country’s 80 million population.

The official government statistics puts the number of slum residents in Iran at just above 11 million.

The increase in the population of slums in Iran is a result of “ineffective and incompetent planning” in the rural areas, Jandaghian said.

According to him, the population decrease in rural areas has also caused a striking decrease in the gross production of agriculture sector in those areas: “Gross product of agriculture sector in the rural areas previously was more than 25% of the whole gross domestic product. But by the end of 2017, it dropped to only 10.2%”. The center of agricultural production has also been shifting toward the outskirts of big cities, Jandaghian added.

According to UN-Habitat, around 33% of the urban population in the developing world in 2012, or about 863 million people, lived in slums. This number has been increasing due to ongoing conflicts, existing inequalities, poverty and climate change.