ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran.

2 Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Art & Architecture, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran.

3 Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Art & Architecture, Hamedan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Hamedan, Iran.



- With increasing urbanization and the importance of planning, demographic data and analysis are needed at the level of urban districts.
- The paper compares the demographic indicators and characteristics of informal settlements and other settlements in Sanandaj.
- Along with demographic heterogeneity, a significant portion of the changes, including population growth and immigration, take place in informal settlements.
- In urban management with the aim of upgrading and regeneration of informal settlements, it is necessary to pay attention to demographic characteristics.
Informal settlements are a fundamental challenge in modern urbanization. Various approaches and plans have been adopted to address this challenge, but many of them have not been associated with success for various reasons, including a lack of understanding of the characteristics of these settlements, especially the demographic dimensions. Studies have demonstrated that housing and habitation in informal settlements is far more frequent in Sanandaj than the national average, and covers more than half of the city’s population. The aim of this study was to analyze the demographic characteristics and indices in informal settlements and compare them to those in other settlements in Sanandaj. The achievements are highly significant mainly because they provide an overview of the active demographic structure and processes in formal and informal settlements. Moreover, many theories that indicate the formation of informal settlements highlight the importance of social, economic, and demographic factors in this regard.
Theoretical Framework
The theoretical framework of this research was based on theories that focus on urban growth and diversity in developing countries. Furthermore, these theories address the typology of urban settlements due to this diversity.
According to the demographic transition framework, rural-urban migration is the initial source of urban growth at the early stages of transition, but natural population growth itself is the fundamental source of urban growth as the transition and urbanization processes continue, and the urban sector grows increasingly larger (Keyfitz, 1980: 149). In the middle and end of the demographic transition, where the rates of death and birth are both low and more or less equal in urban and rural areas, rural-urban migration turns into another factor affecting the growth of urban population.
Undergoing a state of demographic transition and post-transition, the city of Sanandaj, Iran has witnessed both natural growth and rural migration, and has therefore experienced high rates of urbanization. This increasing urbanization has led to the formation of various structures and patterns of urban settlement, including informal dimensions, and represents different trends, types, and patterns in demographic terms.
The present research is a quantitative descriptive study with an exploratory nature although it analyzed the current conditions. It was conducted to compare population characteristics and indices in formal and informal settlements in Sanandaj with a secondary analysis of raw data from the population and housing censuses in 2006, 2011, and 2016 in Sanandaj. After the data were processed and prepared, the districts were classified into settlement types based on previous research, and the population characteristics and indices in urban settlements were then compared and analyzed.
Results and Discussion
According to the results, the most dramatic demographic changes in Sanandaj, including those in size, population growth rate, and migration, had occurred in informal settlements. In addition, they are considered as the poles of attraction of the population along with the new settlement areas. There is instability and imbalance among the settlements in terms of the static characteristics of the population, including household density, residential unit quality, academic conditions, dependency burden, and employment status This indicates that informal settlements with larger households, smaller residential units, larger populations per room, and higher ratios of flimsy housing units are excluded from the proper cycle of economic and social urban life. These problems can all lead to occurrence of further urban challenges.
The present study revealed the existence of heterogeneous characteristics and demographic indices in the settlements of Sanandaj. Although the same pattern in terms of population processes cannot be considered for different districts, some settlements are characterized by both higher population growth and poorer housing, occupation, employment, and education. This makes them not only more vulnerable but also potential causes of urban issues and the Achilles’ heel of urban management.
The policy solution proposed in this article is that it is necessary and fundamental to pay attention to the demographic characteristics and indices of informal settlements in the provision and advancement of a comprehensive approach to planning and management in order to upgrade and regenerate these settlements. The results of this paper provide important lessons for planners and policy-makers on population redistribution policies and urban management, and indicate the different dimensions and characteristics of population in districts and settlements of Sanandaj.
The authors would like to thank the Deputy of Statistics and Information of the Management and Planning Organization of Kurdistan Province for their provision of the available information concerning the general population and housing censuses of the districts of Sanandaj.


Main Subjects

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