On 26 June 2018, the Prime Minister issued Decision No 772/QD-TTg on the organisation of the 2019 Population and Housing Census, the fifth Census in Viet Nam. The Census sought to collect basic population and housing information from across the territory of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to serve the implementation assessment of the socio-economic development strategy period 2011-2020, and the socio-economic development plans from 2011-2015 and from 2016-2020. The data collected will also be used to formulate socio-economic development policies for 2021-2030 and to monitor the nation’s progress on Sustainable Development Goals.

        The 2019 Population and Housing Census was implemented in the context of a vigorous fourth technological revolution, and applied information technology (IT) in all stages of the Census for the first time. IT was an essential component of data collection in the enumeration areas (EAs), which was carried out using mainly electronic questionnaires installed on mobile devices; 99.9% of households were surveyed using this method. The Census was conducted from 1-25 April 2019 and data cleaning and processing took place over the following two months, a full year earlier than the data processing required for the 2009 Population and Housing Census. The following are key indicators from the preliminary results of the 2019 Census:

  1. The total population of Viet Nam as of the time-point 00:00 on 1 April 2019 was 96,208,984 persons, of which the male population was 47,881,061 persons (accounting for 49.8%) and the female population was 48,327,923 persons (or about 50.2%). This makes Viet Nam the 15th most populous country in the world and the third most populous country in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia and the Philippines. Compared to 2009, Viet Nam’s ranking of population size in Southeast Asia has not changed though it fell two positions in worldwide rankings.

The population of Viet Nam has increased by 10.4 million persons since 2009. The average annual population growth rate of 2009-2019 period was 1.14% per year, a slight decline compared to the 10 previous years (the average annual population growth rate of the 1999-2009 was 1.18% per year).

          The sex ratio was 99.1 males/100 females nationwide, 96.5 males per 100 females in urban areas, and 100.5 males per 100 females in rural areas. The sex ratio of the Vietnamese population has continuously increased though it has remained below 100 since the 1979 Census.

  1. Viet Nam is one of the most densely populated countries regionally and worldwide. The results of the 2019 Census revealed that the population density of Viet Nam is currently 290 persons per km2, an increase of 31 persons per km2 compared to 2009. Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City have the highest population density in the country, with 2,398 persons per km2 and 4,363 persons per km2 respectively.
  2. There was a significant difference in population distribution among socio-economic regions. The Red River Delta is the most populated region in the country with 22.5 million persons or nearly 23.4% of the total population, followed by the North Central and Central Coastal areas with 20.2 million persons, or 21.0% of the total population. The Central Highlands had the smallest population of 5.8 million, representing 6.1% of the nation’s population.
  3. Rapid and widespread urbanisation in the last decade has sparked urban population growth. Viet Nam has 33,059,735 residents in urban areas, accounting for 34.4% of the total population, and 63,149,249 residents in rural areas, or 65.6% of the total population. The proportion of urban population has increased by 4.8 percentage points over the last decade.
  4. In the whole country, there are 82,085,729 Kinh people, constituting 85.3% of the total population, and 14,123,255 other ethnic people, or 14.7% of the total population. Other ethnic groups predominantly live in the Northern Midlands and Mountain areas and the Central Highlands. In the Northern Midlands and Mountain areas, other ethnic groups constitute a large proportion of the total population in the region (56.2%). The percentage of other ethnic groups in the Central Highlands is 37.7% and 10.3% in the North Central and Central Coastal areas. This rate in other regions was no more than 8%.
  5. The rate of the ever-married population aged 15 and over was 77.5%, 69.2% of which were actively married, 2.1% identified as divorced or separated and 6.2% identified as widowed. The never-married rate in the urban areas was 6.7 percentage points higher than that of rural areas (26.8% vs. 20.1%). Females tended to get married earlier or more commonly than males; the proportion of ever-married males aged 15 and over was lower than the figure for ever-married females aged 15 and over at 73.4% and 81.5% respectively.
  6. Around 91.7% of general school-age populations are currently attending school. This rate of females was higher than that of males with the corresponding rate of 92.5% and 90.8%. In the last 20 years, the proportion of general school-age children currently out of school (never attended or stopped attending) has reduced considerably from 20.9% in 1999 to 16.4% in 2009, and reaching 8.3% in 2019.

           The gross primary school attendance rate was 101.0% while the gross school attendance rates for lower and upper secondary schooling were 92.8% and 72.3%, respectively. There were no gaps between urban and rural areas in primary school gross school attendance rates (100.9% and 101.0%). However, the higher the education level, the greater the gap in enrolment between urban and rural areas. At the lower secondary school level, the rate of gross school attendance in urban areas was 3.4 percentage points higher than that in rural areas; the gap at upper secondary school was 13.0 percentage points.

          The literacy rate of the population aged 15 years and over was 95.8%, a 1.8 percentage point increase from 2009. The literacy rate among males was 97.0%, 2.4 percentage points higher than the rate among females. Over the past 20 years, the literacy rate of females has increased by 7.7 percentage points and the gap in literacy rates between males and females narrowed significantly. In 1999, the literacy rate of males was 93.9%, 7.0 percentage points higher than that of females; in 2019 this rate of males achieved 97.0%, the gap between males and females shrank to 2.4 percentage points.

  1. As of the time-point 00:00 on 1 April 2019 the entire country had 26,870,079 households, an increase of 4.4 million households from 2009. The average annual household growth rate from 2009-2019 was 1.8%, 1.2 percentage points lower than that of 1999-2009 period. The last decade saw the lowest household growth rate in the last 40 years.

         On average, each household had 3.5 persons, 0.3 persons per household fewer than in 2009. The average household size in urban areas was 3.3 persons per household, 0.3 persons per household fewer than in rural areas. The Northern Highlands and Mountain areas had the largest average household size with 3.8 persons per household while the average number of persons per household in the Red River Delta and South East areas were the smallest in the country; each had 3.3 persons per household.

  1. Viet Nam had 4,800 households without dwellings. For every 10,000 households, there were 1.8 households without dwellings. This indicator has gradually improved over the last two decades, from 6.7 households per 10,000 households in 1999 to 4.7 households per 10,000 households in 2009 and 1.8 households per 10,000 households in 2019.

          The majority of households in Viet Nam had permanent or semi-permanent dwellings (93.1%). This rate in urban areas was 98.2%, 7.9 percentage points higher than in rural areas. The rate of households living in permanent or semi-permanent dwellings  has increased sharply from 63.2% in 1999 to 84.2% in 2009, and to 93.1% in 2019.

           The housing area per capita in 2019 was 23.5m2/person, a rise of 6.8 m2/person compared to that in 10 years ago. Housing area per capita in urban areas was higher than that in rural areas, with 24.9m2 per person and 22.7m2 per person, respectively; there was no statistically significant difference in housing area per capita among socio-economic regions.

The preliminary results of the 2019 Census revealed that the population growth rate in Viet Nam has increased slower in the past ten years than that it did in the previous 1999-2009 period. The 2019 Census results indicated improved intellectual standards, sharp increases in literacy rates, impressive school attendance rates and low out of school rates over the last decade. Viet Nam’s efforts to strengthen gender equality have been very successful in recent years, especially in education. Housing conditions have improved significantly, particularly in urban areas over the last 10 years. Most households have dwellings and many live in permanent or semi-permanent houses. The housing area per capita has risen considerably, nearly meeting the target stipulated in the National Housing Development Strategy toward 2020, vision to 2030, issued by the Prime Minister in accordance with Decision No 2127/QD-TTg dated 30 November 2011.

The results of the 2019 Census indicate the success and efficiency of numerous recent policies. These achievements are attributed to the policies, directions and guidelines from the Party and the Government, and the relentless efforts and belief of each citizen in the process of building and developing the country.