Marriage and Family Formation of the Second-Generation Afghans in Iran: Insights from a Qualitative Study


  • This paper is based on the findings of a research supported by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) in collaboration with the University of Tehran. Valuable comments from Diana Glazebrook and editorial assistance from Carolyn Brewer are gratefully acknowledged. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 26th IUSSP Conference in Marrakech, September 27 to October 2, 2009.


In 2006, around 1.2 million documented Afghans remained in Iran, of whom half were second generation. This paper is based on the results of a qualitative study conducted in three settings: Tehran, Mashhad and Isfahan, and draws on data collected via 80 in-depth interviews and six focus group discussions with second generation Afghans in Iran. The aim of the paper is to explore the adaptation of second-generation Afghans in Iran, particularly in relation to marriage and family formation. The results show that educational achievements and occupational skills of the second-generation Afghans in Iran facilitated their adaptation to the host society, and inspired different marriage and family behaviors and aspirations in comparison with the first generation.