Vietnam News

Vietnam’s younger population shrinking

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The proportion of young people in Vietnam’s population fell from 23% in 2020 to 20.9% late last year, putting the country at risk of a labor shortage.

In 2020, Vietnam had 22.6 million people aged 15-24 but the figure dropped to 20.7 million by the end of last year, according to the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture and Education.

This means the number of young workers dropped by 170,000 per year.

According to the committee, the reasons are the rapidly aging population and fewer babies born.

It took Vietnam only 25 years to move from the population aging stage, which means the group aged 60 and older accounts for 10% of the population, to the aging population stage, which means people 60 and older account for 20%.

In most developed countries, it took much longer for that transition to happen, with some countries taking as long as one century.

Vietnam’s fertility rate has dropped sharply, leading to the risk of labor shortages. 

The average number of children of a woman in reproductive ages in 2001 was 2.28, but that ratio decreased to 2.1 by 2021.

Women in Ho Chi Minh City currently have the lowest fertility rate in the country, with a rate of 1.39 children per woman of childbearing ages.

The Committee for Culture and Education assessed the situation as “a worrying sign about the future generation of workers,” becoming a major challenge for Vietnam in improving the quality of human resources during international economic integration.

Predicting that Vietnam would end its “golden population period” in 2038, the committee proposed related agencies to study policies to improve the quality of young workers and adjust the Law on Social Insurance to prevent people of working age from taking the one-time social insurance withdrawal.

Those who withdraw all their insurance will get a meager to no pension when they retire; and cannot enjoy free health insurance.

The golden population period is defined by the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) as having 30% of the population’s children aged below 14, and 15% of all people aged 65 or more.

Shifting out of that period means that Vietnam will have fewer working-age people and more people in retirement age, which can lead to numerous burdens on society.

Vietnam currently stands third in Southeast Asia, after Thailand and Singapore, in the proportion of the population aged 65 and over, while its income per capita ranks sixth in the region.

With its population hitting 100 million last April according to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam is now the 15th most populous country in the world and its population density ranks 41st.

When it comes to yearly income per capita, Vietnam is ranked 121st at $4,010. This figure is 10 times lower than that of Japan and 19 times lower than that of the U.S., placing Vietnam in the lower-middle income group.

By Phuong Ha – – October 23, 2023

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