Press Release


18 December 2020

The 2019 Viet Nam Population and Housing Census was conducted at 0:00 a.m. on 1 April 2019, in accordance with Decision No. 772/QĐ-TTg dated 26 June 2018 by the Prime Minister. This is the fifth Population and Housing Census in Viet Nam since the country’s reunification in 1975. The 2019 Population and Housing Census collected basic information on population and housing throughout the territory of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to inform the country’s socioeconomic development policies and to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals committed to by the Government of Viet Nam.

The results of the 2019 Population and Housing Census were announced on 19 December 2019. Following these results, the General Statistics Office of Viet Nam carried out an in-depth analysis of several population topics, including fertility, sex imbalance at birth, migration and urbanization, population ageing and projection of Viet Nam’s population for the 2019−2069 period. The key findings of these studies provide further information about the current situation, trends and factors influencing the population, as well as proposing suggestions for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Some of the key findings of these studies include:

(1) The fertility in Viet Nam has almost halved over the last 30 years. The total fertility rate (TFR) declined from 3.80 children per woman in 1989 to 2.09 children per woman in 2019. Viet Nam has maintained a stable replacement level fertility for more than a decade, and the practice of having two children remains a prevalent trend. These results once again affirmed that Viet Nam has successfully implemented the Population and Family Planning Program with the aim of reducing fertility.
(2) At present, the fertility in rural areas is higher than the replacement level and higher than that in urban areas. The TFR is 2.26 children per woman in rural areas and 1.83 children per woman in urban areas. The highest fertility rates in Viet Nam are in the Northern Midlands and Mountains and the Central Highlands, two regions with TFRs of 2.43 children per woman. The lowest fertility rates in Viet Nam are in the Southeast and the Mekong River Delta, with TFRs of 1.56 children per woman and 1.8 children per woman, respectively.

(3) Ha Tinh province has the highest total fertility rate (2.83 children per woman) among 63 provinces and centrally-affiliated cities; this is twice as high as that of Ho Chi Minh City, where the total fertility rate is the lowest (1.39 children per woman). Over the last 10 years, since the 2009 Census, 29 provinces have reported a decline in fertility, while 33 provinces have recorded a rise in fertility. Soc Trang is the only province where fertility remains unchanged.

(4) Among the ethnic groups with a population of more than 1 million people (Kinh, Tay, Thai, Khmer, Muong, Mong, and Nung), the Mong ethnic group has the highest fertility. However, over the last three decades, the total fertility rates of all these groups have decreased, with the Mong group experiencing the most significant decline (9.30 children per woman in 1989; 4.96 children per woman in 2009; 3.59 children per woman in 2019). The fertility difference between ethnic groups is narrowing gradually.

(5) Migrant women have a lower fertility rate than their non-migrant counterparts. The total fertility rate is 1.54 children per woman for migrants and 2.13 children per woman for non-migrants, according to the 2019 Census. The higher the level of education women achieve, the lower the fertility rate. Women with educational attainment above upper secondary have the lowest total fertility rate (1.98 children per woman), while women with educational attainment below primary level have the highest (2.35 children per woman). Among wealth quintiles, women of the poorest quintile have the highest total fertility rate (2.4 children per woman), whereas women of the riches quintile have the lowest (2 children per woman).

(6) According to the results of the 2019 Viet Nam Population and Housing Census, the age-specific fertility rate for women aged 10-19 years (ASFR10) is 11 children per 1,000 women. The figure for rural areas is higher than that for urban areas (15 children and 5 children per 1,000 women, respectively). The highest ASFR10 is in the Northern Midlands and Mountains and the Central Highlands, with 28 children per 1,000 women for the former and 21 children per 1,000 women for the latter. Among the ethnic groups with a population size of over 1 million, the Mong group’s ASFR10 is the highest at 65 children per 1,000 women, which is about nine times higher than that of the Kinh and six times higher than the national average.

Sex imbalance at birth

(7) The sex ratio at birth (SRB) in 2019 is 111.5 boys per 100 girls, which is significantly skewed. The SRB in Viet Nam began to increase around 2004, reaching 112 boys per 100 girls after 2010 and has levelled off ever since.

(8) The SRB in Viet Nam is higher than the biological level (104-106 boys per 100 girls), suggesting that in 2019 the number of missing girls is about 45,900. This shortage is equivalent to 6.2% of all female births.

(9) The highest SRB is recorded in the Red River Delta, where the SRB is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, at 115.2 and 112.8 boys per 100 girls, respectively.

(10) Sex imbalances at birth occur in all wealth quintiles. Over the last 10 years, the SRB of the poorest quintile has increased from 105.2 to 108.2 boys per 100 girls, while the figure for the richest quintile has remained high (112.9 boys per 100 girls in 2019).

(11) Son preference and the need for a son affect the couples’ desire to have additional children. Couples with two children but no son are twice as likely to have an additional child than couples with at least one son. Having an additional child due to son preference is particularly evident in the population group with higher education and better living standards.

(12) Son preference is reflected largely in prenatal sex selection as early as the first parity, with the SRB for the first parity being 109.5 boys per 100 girls and rising for the third and higher parities (119.8 boys per 100 girls). For couples who have already had two daughters, the SRB for the third parity is 143.8 boys per 100 girls.

(13) The current sex imbalance at birth will affect the future population structure, causing an excess of young men. Forecasts suggest that, if the SRB remains unchanged, there will be a surplus of 1.5 million men aged 15-49 in 2034, and this figure will increase to 2.5 million in 2059. If the SRB declines rapidly and reaches the normal level by 2039, the male excess for the 15-49 group will still be 1.5 million men in 2034 and 1.8 million in 2059.

Migration and urbanization

(14) Viet Nam has 6.4 million migrants aged 5 and above, accounting for 7.3% of the total population. This is lower than the number of migrants in 2009 (6.7 million people, constituting 8.5% of the population). Females still make up a higher proportion than men in the migrant population, but this pattern is gradually changing towards equilibrium. The majority of migrants are young people aged 20-39 years old (accounting for 61.8% of the total migrant population).

(15) The Central Highlands has changed from in-migration to outmigration (with a net migration rate of -12‰). The Red River Delta and the Southeast are the two largest in-migration regions of Viet Nam. In particular, the Southeast, a developed economic region with large industrial zones, continues to be the most attractive destination for migrants, attracting 1.3 million migrants. Among 12 provinces and centrally-affiliated cities with a positive net migration rate, the highest is  Binh Duong  (200.4‰).  Soc Trang province experience the highest negative rate (-75.0 ‰).

(16) Migrant children are more disadvantaged than non-migrant c in accessing lower and upper secondary education. In particular, children in the interprovincial migrant group (moving from province to province) face more challenges than those in other migrant groups in terms of accessing education at all levels. In 2019, 83.9% of non-migrant children aged 11-18 attend school, compared with only 55.7% of their interprovincial migration counterparts.

(17) The percentage of migrants having technical and professional qualification has improved over the last 10 years, from 22.9% in 2009 to 37.2% in 2019, which is higher than that of non-migrants. For 2019, the proportion of migrants having technical and professional qualification is 17.5 percentage points higher than that of non-migrants.

(18) Regarding the total migrant workers in the economy, 91.4% of them are working in the service, industrial and construction sectors. This proportion is higher than the figure for non-migrants. In particular, the proportion of migrants working in the industrial and construction sectors is almost twice as much as that of non-migrants (44.9% in contrast to 27.7%).

(19) The unemployment rate of migrants is higher than that of non-migrants (2.53% compared with 2.01%). Female migrants experience a higher unemployment rate than their male counterparts, at 2.82% and 2.20%, respectively. More than two thirds of unemployed migrants (equivalent to 69.7%) are those migrating to urban areas, while the remaining one third are those migrating to rural areas.

(20) The housing conditions of migrants are better than that of non-migrants. The proportions of people living in temporary or simple houses of these two groups are 2.8% and 7.3%, respectively. However, the per capita living space of migrants is lower than that of non-migrants (21.9sqm/person and 25.4sqm/person, respectively). Nearly half of the migrant population rents or borrows houses or apartments.

(21) There is a close relationship between migration and urbanization. Migrants aged 5 and above account for 12.3% of the urban population. Immigration pressure on special-class cities is the greatest. There are nearly 200 immigrants for every 1,000 residents living in special-class cities, which is 2.7 times higher than the national average.

(22) There are variations in the unemployment rate among different urban types: The unemployment rate of the population aged 15 and above in special-class cities is the highest (3.17%), which is followed by Grade I cities (3.03%). Grade III cities have the lowest unemployment rate (2.11%). The unemployment rate of women is higher than that of men in all urban types.

Population projection for the 2019-2069 period

(23) Under the medium-variant projection, the population of Viet Nam is expected to be 104.5 million people by 2029, 110.8 million people by 2039, and 116.9 million people by 2069. In the first five years of the projection period (2019-2024), the annual population growth rate of Viet Nam is 0.93%. In the future, the population growth rate is estimated to decline and reach a static state at the end of the projection period (2064-2069).

(24) The sex ratio for all age cohorts will increase rapidly in the 2019-2029 period. Under the medium-variant projection, the male population is projected to be equal to that of females by 2026 (the sex ratio will reach 100 males per 100 females). By 2069, Viet Nam’s sex ratio will be 101.4 males per 100 females.

(25) The population aged 65 and above is forecast to exceed 15% of the total population by 2039. This will be the end of the golden demographic window of opportunity that appeared and has existed in Viet Nam since 2007.

(26) In the 2026-2039 period, Viet Nam still maintains the golden demographic window of opportunity, but the proportion of the population aged 65 and over will increase and reach over 10%  by 2026, and Viet Nam will enter to the aged population period. The aged population period is projected to last 28 years (2026-2054), followed by the very aged population structure period (2055-2069), when the proportion of the population aged 65 and over varying from 20% to less than 30%.

(27) Under the medium-variant projection, by 2030, 50% of the population will live in urban areas, and this proportion will increase to 64.8% by 2069.

According to the in-depth analysis of the 2019 Population and Housing Census, the current fertility of Viet Nam is around the replacement fertility level and will contribute to the reduction of population growth rate in the future. The annual population growth rate for the next 10 years is expected to be less than 1%. Given the current situation of low fertility, population structure and high sex ratio at birth, the future population structure will change towards aged population and shortages of men in certain age groups. This will have a dramatic impact on the workforce and contribute to emerging social issues. In addition, migration trends and the impact of migration on urbanization and socioeconomic development will also become emerging issues in the near future. Data and analysis based on the 2019 Census and related studies will provide evidence for use in the formulation and planning of national socio-economic development policy.