Rural-urban migration and urban poverty : the case of Tehran, 1962-1978

This study focuses on the population growth of Tehran, the capital of Iran, as it relates to the rural-urban migration during the past two decades. It investigates the causes and effects of the migration by attempting to answer such questions as who the poor migrants are, where they came from, why they migrated, and what became of them after migration. In order to understand the socio-economic conditions and the problems of contemporary urban life in Tehran, a background is presented of the historical processes which have contributed to the current situation. The causes of migration are studied by analyzing the social and economic forces that have pushed the rural population out of -their villages (push factors), and those which have attracted them to the cities in general, and Tehran in particular, (pull factors). It is argued that the deterioration which the Land Reform Program of 1962 brought about in the socioeconomic structure of the villages fostered the prime push factor. The implementation of the Program not only destroyed the old system of production, but it failed to establish a new working system. The resulting increased hardship, poverty, and lack of security constituted the basic push factor. On the other hand, hope for better living conditions and more employment opportunities in Tehran were found to be the main pull factors for the migration. Finally, it is shown how the rural-urban migration has affected the city of Tehran and the lives of the migrants themselves. The creation of squatter settlements brought social problems for the migrants which, in turn, has had a vast and serious socio-economic impact on the city of Tehran. The Shah's government did attempt to improve these problems, but it failed because of lack of planning, and inadequate efforts.