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EghtesadOnline: There is indeed much to hate about Tehran, including its harrowing traffic jams and persistent air pollution, the polarization of city services between its northern and southern districts, and high population density.

These urban issues, according to a survey by Tehran Municipality, have so rattled the nerves of 58% of its residents that they are keen to leave the capital city, provided other cities have favorable conditions. 

According to the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad, which did not mention the period of the survey, up to 70% of the residents of southern areas of Tehran, encompassing the municipal districts 10, 14, 12, 11, 15 and 17 generally known as underprivileged areas, are willing to leave Tehran.  

The metropolis of Tehran is divided into 22 municipal districts, each with its own administrative center. Twenty of the 22 municipal districts are located in Tehran County’s Central District, while districts 1 and 20 are respectively located in the counties of Shemiranat and Rey, according to Financial Tribune.

Although administratively separate, the cities of Rey and Shemiranat are considered part of Greater Tehran. 

  3 Groups of Issues

The gravest urban issues in the eyes of Tehran’s residents were divided into three groups, according to the survey.

The first category included “air pollution and traffic”. “Wealth gap between the northern and southern Tehran, overpopulation, people’s indifference toward each other and Tehran’s vulnerability to earthquakes” formed the second category and finally “crime, insecurity of urban spaces and lack of public amenities and transportation” constituted the third category of problems dogging the residents.

Crime, insecurity and air pollution are the main problems of the capital city from the perspective of the residents of the southern municipal zones while overpopulation and traffic are the main issues reducing the satisfaction of the residents of northern municipal districts.

Residents of municipal districts 14, 17, 18, 11, 12 and 10 considered crime, insecurity, earthquake vulnerability and air pollution as the biggest issues. 

Locals of less privileged areas (municipal districts 19 and 20) believe the polarization of city services (wealth gap) between the north and south is the key problem of the capital city. This is while residents of municipal districts 1 and 22 see overpopulation as the gravest issue. 

  Ironical Insight

The survey, however, revealed an ironical insight: Despite being discontent with their neighborhoods, residents of southern parts are happier living in the capital city because of the bigger opportunities, income and services it offers. 

Respondents were asked to score their “convenience of living in the city” and their “satisfaction from living in the capital city” at the two levels of neighborhoods and city. They gave the score of 12 out of 20 to the convenience of living in Tehran and 2.7 out of 5 to the satisfaction from living in the capital city and 3 out of 5 to the satisfaction from living in their neighborhoods. 

About 40% of the locals of southern Tehran (municipal districts 11 and 12) believe Tehran offers significant amenities compared with other Iranian cities while the five municipal zones located in northern Tehran, which house 30% of the population of the city, believe that Tehran has “good residential features”. 

Despite the fact that residents of northern Tehran enjoy better public services and should naturally feel more satisfied with the city, a bigger percentage of them (about 7-8%) compared with locals of southern Tehran (about 1-2%) believe the capital city has no good feature. 

Generally, the level of satisfaction from living in Tehran was higher among women, those under 30 years, the unmarried, university students and those with higher education.


Tehran air pollution Capital City Residents traffic jams city services population density