Country Listing

Vietnam Table of Contents



Population: 64,411,668 (1989 census); 2.1 percent average annual population growth rate. Nineteen percent urban; 81 percent rural. Population centers Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).

Languages: Vietnamese official language; also French, various Chinese dialects, tribal languages, and English.

Ethnic Groups: Vietnamese account for 87.5 percent of population (1979 figures). Fifty-three minorities account for remainder, including Hoa (Chinese, comprising approximately 1.8 percent), Tay, Thai, Khmer, Muong, Nung, Hmong, and numerous mountain tribes.

Religion: Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Hinduism, and animism.

Education and Literacy: Nine years of primary and junior high school, three years of secondary school. First nine years compulsory. Manual labor comprises 15 percent of primary curriculum and 17 percent of secondary. Ninety-three colleges and universities, with close to 130,000 students enrolled, able to admit only 10 percent of applicants. Education emphasizes training of skilled workers, technicians, and managers. Students nevertheless tend to avoid vocational schools and specialized middle schools because they are believed to preclude entry to high-status occupations. Literacy 78 percent (for all age groups).

Health: Total of approximately 11,000 hospitals, medical aid stations, public health stations, and village maternity clinics, staffed by 240,000 medical personnel. Approximately 1 physician per 1,000 persons. Life expectancy sixty-three years. Malaria, tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases prevalent. Government undertaken a campaign to improve cleanliness by launching "Three Cleans Movement" (clean food, water, and living conditions) and "Three Exterminations Movement" (exterminate flies, mosquitos, and rats).

Data as of December 1987