Living Arrangement of the Elderly in Iran

Akbar Aghajanian, Fayetteville State University
Vaida Thompson, University of Noth Carolina

This paper was presented at the 39th Annual Mid-South Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, October 23-26, 2013


In 2006, the aging population in Iran had increased to about four million, representing about 7% of the total population. We examined the living arrangements of this growing population based on a public use sample of the 2006 census and the published data from the 1976 census. The findings revealed a decline from the traditional pattern of coresidence with married children. The number of living children did not have a systematic effect on living arrangements. However, we observed a gender-based transition in living arrangements of the elderly: Men continued to live with a spouse, perhaps through remarriage, continuing to hold a position of head of household, handling economic resources. The living pattern for women was noticeably different: about 20% - approximately half a million – were unmarried, living alone if the economic situation permitted but otherwise living with married children, predominantly sons. There is need for extensive research into the economic, physical, and mental health status of this group of the elderly population.