Remarkable Progress, Emerging Challenges

Vietnam’s poverty rate has fallen from nearly 60 percent to 20 percent in the past two decades, but challenges remain.

The report emphasizes that the prevailing poverty of the ethnic minority in the country is of particular concern. Although Vietnam’s 53 ethnic minority groups make up less than 15 percent of the population, they accounted for nearly 50 percent of the poor in 2010. Most minorities continue to reside in more isolated and less productive upland regions of Vietnam.

Rapid economic transformation and growth have meanwhile contributed to rising inequality in income and opportunities. Some of the poor, especially those living in rural areas or small cities, have limited access to high quality education and health services, or to good jobs.

With the rapid pace of urbanization, the urban poor also pose a new challenge in Vietnam, according to the report. A growing number of workers from rural areas are migrating to the cities to work in private industry and services, and many of these jobs are informal and lack employment benefits such as health insurance and pension.

The World Bank believes that it is critical to make growth more inclusive, by expanding investments in rural areas, in manufacturing and small and medium enterprises.

Read about the real life stories of two brothers born in a poor family, one living in the mountainous area, one migrating to the city. Click here.