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Vietnam Table of Contents



The 1979 census showed that more than 42 percent of the population at that time was younger than 15 years of age and nearly 5 percent was 65 or older. Furthermore, 71 percent of the Vietnamese population was 30 years of age or younger.

A population boom in the 1980s put pressure on food supplies and severely taxed the government's ability to create jobs. Harvest shortfalls were frequent, grain reserves remained low, and foreign exchange was extremely scarce. As a result, overcoming even a short-term food deficit was difficult for the government and costly for the people.

In 1984 United Nations (UN) nutrition specialist calculated the daily average food consumption among Vietnamese to be only 1,850 calories per day, nearly 20 percent less than the generally accepted minimum daily standard of 2,300 calories. In 1985, the Vietnam Institute of Nutrition reported average daily intake at 1,940 calories. The institute also estimated that roughly 25 percent of the children suffered from malnutrition.

Data as of December 1987