Assessment of Socio- Economic Development Level of the villages in Central Part of Koohdasht County

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

2 MSc., Geography and Rural Planning, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran


One of the major challenges of rural development in Iran can be inequality in local levels and between rural settlements. The gap among villages of the country is so great that many of them absorb more services and are converted into cities or small towns. Some others lose their population and became uninhabited or are about to depopulation. Hence, local development planning requires identifying development level of rural settlements. This research has attempted to measure socio-economic development level of the village in central district of Koohdasht county. It also has analysed the relationship between development level of villages and rural districts with different natural conditions, population, distance from center of the county and the villages with nomadic characteristic.
This is an applied and descriptive- analytical research. The sample size consists of 131 inhabited villages in central district of Koohdasht County. On the basis of literature review, 17 social and 19 economic indicators have been defined. Required data have been gathered via referring to district offices, rural health network and so on, also by field study through completing rural questionnaire via local key informants (members of rural councils and etc). After releasing indicators from various scales with dividing by average and weighting to them on the basis of factor analysis (first principle component) method the socio-economic development level composite indicator (CI) has been determined. Statistics like mean, standard deviation, variance, coefficient of variation, coefficient of correlation, independent samples T test, ANOVA (variance analysis), and Tukey test have been utilized for data description and analysis. To this end, we have used SPSS and Excel applications.
Coefficient of variation for composite indicator (CI) of socio-economic development (up to 0.46) has indicated that except few studied villages that are in the top of ranking in regard of socio-economic development level, most of them are placed at less developed or underdeveloped position. In other words, considering the average of CI (about 16) in comparison with its maximum (about 38) implies that CI’s is low in most of the rural settlements in the area.
Therefore, it can be discussed that amongst 131 studied villages, 24 percent are categorized as developed and relatively developed and 74 percent are as less developed and under developed. This number for north Koohdasht rural district (about 5 percent) implies its worst condition between 3 sub districts. ANOVA test has also approved significance (less than 0.001) of difference between three sub districts and Tukey’s test implies that real variance can be seen between north Koohdasht and two other rural districts (significance less than 0.001). Furthermore, natural position of the villages has affected their socio-economic development level (significance less than 0.001). The Tukey’s test indicates that real variance can be seen between mountainous- forestall villages with the other types (plain and mountainous- plain villages).
Pearson’s Coefficient of correlation between development level of the villages and their distance to center of county has also approved negative and significant relation between the two variables (correlation = -0.503, significance less than 0.001).  In other words, with increasing the distance to county center, development level of villages will decrease. The test between villages’ population and development level has confirmed the relation of the two variables (correlation = 0.464, significance less than 0.001), so that with increasing the population size of the settlement the development level shows an increase. The same test has approved positive and significant relation between levels of social development with economic one (correlation = 0.413, significance less than 0.001). In other words, all the villages with high level of social development have high level of economic development too. Moreover, comparing the means between nomadic and non-nomadic villages indicate that there is significant difference among the two types in regard to development level (T test value= 3.898, significance= 0.000).
Discussion and conclusion
Research results have approved inequality between studied villages and the rural districts in socio- economic development level. Therefore, adopting decentralized strategies, balanced allocation of resources and investments seems necessary for reducing the mentioned inequalities. To this end, using down-top approaches, emphasizing on peoples participation in the process of need assessment, identifying development priorities, planning, implementing an evaluation of local development plans and projects can be useful choices. Hence, considering low development level in north Koohdasht villages, it can be recommended that these villages must be put in the priority in regard of planning and action for socio-economic investments. As the research results have approved, with the low development level of the nomadic rural settlements of the area, these kinds of villages must be in the priority in local development plans. It is necessary that decision making, planning, and implementing efforts must be harmonized with the nomadic characteristic of these settlements. Selecting appropriate service delivery systems in the framework of rural settlements hierarchical position can be useful. Furthermore, in order to improve the socio-economic indicators and diversify income resources of the villages, encouragement and reinforcement of governmental and private investments are necessary.