Vietnamese Have Fewer Children but Population Grows until 2024


HA NOI (18 April 2002)- The General Statistical Office (GSO) published this week the first set of in-depth analyses of the 1999 Population and Housing Census. The reports were launched on the occasion of the visit of UNDP/UNFPA and UNICEF Executive Boards to the organization. Twenty four representatives from all over the world are part of this first-ever joint mission of the Executive Boards to Viet Nam.

With support from UNFPA and UNDP, the three GSO census monographs focused on trends in marriage, fertility, mortality, internal migration and urbanization. They also provided population projection up to 2024 for the whole country and its 61 provinces. GSO staff and a number of national and international researchers prepared these analyses.

The analysis of fertility and mortality shows a substantial decrease in both fertility and mortality levels. The total fertility rate fell from six children per woman in the 1960s to 2.3 children per woman in 1998. Results of the nuptiality analysis indicate some decrease in female’s age at marriage. Thus such a sharp fertility decline is due to the reduction in marital fertility rather than any delay in marriage among women, the monograph says.

The publication on population projections presents two sets of data, corresponding to two assumptions on future fertility trends: declining fertility trend and constant fertility trend. Even according to the declining fertility trend assumption, the population of Viet Nam will continue to increase during the next 25 years from 76.3 million in 1999 to 99.3 million by the year 2024.

The population growth will vary between regions due to internal migration trends. The monograph on internal migration and urbanization, undertaken by a group of sociologists, highlights that approximately 4.5 million Vietnamese people migrated during the five years preceding the Census. More than half of these migrants moved within or to urban areas, making the rate of urbanization increased from 19.4 percent in 1989 to 23.5 percent in 1999.

Generating rural off-farm employment through an enabling environment for private businesses is the policy most likely to stem the pressures for migration from rural areas, researchers say.

"Stronger rural-urban linkages will need to be developed to address rural poverty issues as well as to prevent growing rural-urban disparities", said UNDP Resident Representative Jordan Ryan.

UNFPA and UNDP together the Netherlands and Denmark also helped improve GSO capacity in conducting census especially
the quality of data analysis used for development of socio-economic strategies and plans in Viet Nam.