The early findings of Iran’s National Population and Housing census show that the country’s population is now about 75 million. That’s five million more than it was five years ago. Part of the reason for the hike might be President Ahmadinejad. He has poured scorn on family planning as a Western, secular import and encouraged Iranians to have large families, saying the country could support another 50 million on top of the then 70 million. Last year he backed this call up with a promise to give a grant to every family that has a new child. It would seem there has been a response.
These new population figures will bring new pressures, especially in the economy. Unemployment runs at about 11%, but is up to 30% for teenagers and young adults. The rise in population will exacerbate this. To deal with this the government might enlarge the state sector even more, to provide jobs, but this might hamper the sort of investment that will create real employment.
The church has no argument with large families. They are a blessing. But these new population figures do bring a challenge. There are now five million more people to reach with the Gospel. This is a good reminder for church leaders to think big.
• Wisdom for Iran’s planners
• Creation of jobs
• Expansion of evangelistic programmes to reach