In their early 30s, married, and with prospects for successful careers, Bita and Sherag could be contemplating the logical next step in their lives: becoming parents.The Iranian government has attempted incentives for people to have large families, and eliminates subsidies for birth control, but it apparently is not working. One young man interviewed for the story indicated that only the wealthy or irresponsible had lots of children.
But for them and an increasing number of young, middle-class Iranians who are deeply pessimistic over their country’s future, raising a child is one of the last things on their minds.
Bita, who like her husband asked for her family name to be withheld so they could speak freely, said she had had two abortions, which are illegal in Iran. “We are really serious about not having kids,” she said.
Paradoxically, Iran has never had more people of reproductive age. A little under 70 percent of the population of 77 million is younger than 35, with most living in or near cities and increasingly embracing urban culture. But many of them are profoundly pessimistic.
Like many young couples, Sherag, an architect, and Bita, a recent college graduate, cited a litany of problems as reasons for their dark outlook: an intrusive state and its conservative ideology, a sickly economy, political instability.