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Sample results from census show fertility rate in Viet Nam remains below replacement level

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Census banner
Banner in Ha Noi promoting the 2009 census

Ha Noi 11 January 2010 - The General Statistics Office (GSO), with technical support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), recently disseminated 15% of the 2009 census sample results. GSO reported that Viet Nam’s fertility rate has continued to decrease over the last 10 years and the total fertility rate (TFR) has remained below the replacement level and has now reached 2.03 children per woman. However, there are still differences between geographic regions: the fertility rate is 1.80 in cities and 2.15 in rural areas; 1.69 in the South East Region; 1.84 in the Mekong River Delta Region; and highest in the Central Highlands at 2.65 children per woman. This suggests there may still be pockets of “unmet need” for high-quality reproductive health services, including family planning services, which deserve priority attention.

The data also indicates that Viet Nam’s sex ratio at birth (SRB) was high at 111 boys per 100 girls in 2009. Although there is not a big difference between rural and urban areas in the SRB, census data shows that the SRB is particularly high in the Red River Delta (115.3 boys per 100 girls). These numbers suggest an urgent need to address the SRB imbalance in Viet Nam.In addition, the total number of migrants moving within and between provinces during the five years prior to the 2009 census increased to 6.6 million people, up from 5.1 million people in the 1999 census. This is mainly internal migration between provinces, and appears to be driven by economic development in urban areas, and in industrial and export processing zones.

Results from the census sample data also indicate that Viet Nam is entering a potential “demographic bonus” period, which usually happens only once in the demographic history of a nation, and can present a great opportunity for socio-economic advancement if appropriate policies are established for human resource development, and if graduates of vocational schools, colleges and universities can all find gainful employment in a growing economy.

Furthermore, Viet Nam has begun a period in which it has a significant ageing population. The aging index has increased 11.4% over the past 10 years. Therefore, while taking advantage of the demographic bonus, the country should also plan ahead to prepare itself for the ageing of the population. Improvement is needed in required social protection as people become more vulnerable to potential hardship during this period of life.

The census sample data confirms that Viet Nam’s mortality rate is still very low. The crude dealth rate (CDR) was 6.5 per thousand, and the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 16 per thousand for the 12 month period prior to the census.

In April 2009, thirty UN staff in Viet Nam participated in the census monitoring carried out in 21 provinces throughout the country. Among UN agencies, UNFPA has been taking a lead role in supporting the census: planning, design of the questionnaires, the testing, piloting, training and monitoring process, publicity campaign, data analysis and dissemination.

  Click here to read the Sample Results Report in English and here to read the Sample Results Report in Vietnamese