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Over the last four decades, there have been dramatic changes to Viet Nam’s population structure. Viet Nam entered a period of a demographic window of opportunity since 2007 and will last until 2039. This period offers Viet Nam with a unique socio-economic development opportunity when having a large working age population (15-64) twice as high as the dependent age group (under 15 and 65 and older). The demographic window of opportunity allows the country to tap into the “demographic dividend” if appropriate policies on economic development, education and training, and health care including sexual and reproductive health are in place.  At the same time, Viet Nam is in the period of population aging. The process of population ageing is progressing rapidly, caused by mortality and fertility declines, and life expectancy at birth increase and that transition from an “ageing” to an “aged” population will occur within just 20 years. 

The number of women between 15-49 years old will also continue to increase for another 15 years before gradually declining, meaning there is a growing need for quality sexual and reproductive health services. Also, Viet Nam is facing a serious sex ratio at birth (SRB) imbalance, which started in 2004 with significantly more boys than girls being born (111.5 boys per 100 girls in 2019). When compared with normal SRB, the current situation in Viet Nam points to a yearly deficit of 45,900 girls per year. The SRB imbalances in Viet Nam will have a long-lasting impact on the country’s population structures in which excess male births will be gradually translated into excess boys and excess male adults, or a deficit of adult women can lead to severe social, cultural and economic implications, including gender-based discrimination. These require more research and policy response.

The changes in population structure are as results of fertility and mortality changes, especially in last 30 years, where the total fertility rate (TFR) nearly halved and maintained at replacement level. However, there still exist TFR differences among regions, localities and population groups. In this context, Government population policy has shifted from population and family planning to population and development.     

This rapidly changing population structure shows how important it is to use population data and projections for socio-economic policies, strategies, and plans at national, sub-national, and sectoral levels, and the needs of different population groups can be accurately taken into account, leaving no one behind towards the achievement of SDGs.


What we do

Our support focuses on generation, dissemination, and use of data in formulating and implementing development strategies, policies, programmes, and monitoring SDGs. We also support for data innovation, including the use of new technologies and communication platforms to speed up the data collection and processing and minimize human errors. UNFPA works to improve the quality of population related data through censuses and other surveys, and strengthen the national and sectoral administrative data including civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). 

In particular, UNFPA works in the following areas: 

  • Improve capacity of data producers to collect, analyse and disseminate disaggregated data on population and sexual and reproductive health issues to fully achieve the demographic dividend potentials; 
  • Equip policy makers with knowledge and skills on application of new data sources; 
  • Explore new data set (e.g., new surveys, Big Data and sectoral and inter-sectoral administrative data) and data communication and management (e.g. data dashboards and data warehouse) to support evidence-based population policy development, which can also be used for disaster management and climate action; 
  • Develop capacities for data utilisation to support evidence-based advocacy and policy development; and 
  • Prepare investment cases for SRHR, particularly to strengthen public financial management systems at sub-national level for ensuring adequate budget allocation and expenditures for SRHR.