A main characteristic of the working class has been its peasant
origins. The rapid growth of the working class in the 1960s and
1970s was the result of migration from villages to cities. There
also has been some migration from small towns to larger cities
and from economically depressed areas, such as Baluchestan and
Kordestan, to more economically vital regions. The result of these
population transfers has been an inability of urban services to
keep pace with the population growth and the consequent spread
of slum areas. In 1987 south Tehran was still Iran's most extensive
urban slum, but other large cities also had notable slum sections.
It was in these areas that marginally employed and unskilled workers
were concentrated. Immediately after the Revolution, the government
announced its intention of making living and working conditions
in rural areas more attractive as a means of stemming rural- to-urban
migration. Although the slowdown in the economy since the Revolution
may have contributed to a generally reduced rate of urban growth,
there was no evidence that migration from the villages had ceased.
The preliminary results from the 1986 census indicated that such
cities as Mashhad and Shiraz have grown at even faster rates than
before the Revolution.
Data as of December 1987