Security Implications of Depopulated Rural Settlements in South Khorasan Province: A Delphi Study

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Command and General Staff, Amin Police University, Tehran, Iran.


Weak rural development strategies, climate change issues and successive droughts in the province of South Khorasan over the past decades caused about half of the rural settlements to be completely empty of human population. Due to this issue, the main question of this research is “What are the security consequences of population evacuation of rural settlements in South Khorasan province?” In terms of purpose, the present research is an applied study, and in terms of method of data collection and analysis, it is a descriptive survey, which has been done in the framework of the Delphi method stages. Using purposive sampling, participants or Delphi panel members selected from related experts equal 35 people. In order to formulate Delphi propositions, using an exploratory approach, two focus group sessions were held and 12 members of the Delphi panel participated in each session. Delphi survey stopped after two rounds, right after reaching an acceptable consensus among Delphi panel members. Descriptive tests include mean, standard deviation and mean rank used to analyze the results of the Delphi survey as well as Kendall's coefficient of concordance used to examine the level of consensus among participants. Based on the findings of the Delphi exploration stage, 22 propositions were identified as consequences of population evacuation of rural settlements in South Khorasan province. In summary, the most important research results are: endangering the order and security of migrant cities, disruption of public safety and social security in rural areas, the difficulty of law enforcement management in human and natural disasters in rural area, increased crime and security gaps in rural areas, the unsustainability of food security and threatening the economic security of rural businesses on a regional scale.


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