Việt Nam

Demographics of Vietnam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Originating in what is now southern China and northern Vietnam, the Vietnamese people pushed southward over two millennia to occupy the entire eastern seacoast of the Indochinese Peninsula. Ethnic Vietnamese, or Viet (known officially as Kinh), live in the lowlands and speak the Vietnamese language. This group dominates much of the cultural and political landscape of Vietnam.

The Vietnamese government recognizes 54 ethnic groups, of which the Viet is the largest; according to official Vietnamese figures (1999 census), ethnic Vietnamese account for 86% of the nation’s population. The ethnic Vietnamese inhabit a little less than half of Vietnam, while the ethnic minorities inhabit the majority of Vietnam’s land (albeit the least fertile parts of the country).

The Khmer Krom are found in the delta of the Mekong River, in the south of Vietnam, where they form in many areas the majority of the rural population. They live in an area which was previously part of Cambodia and which Vietnam conquered in the 17th and 18th centuries. Official Vietnamese figures put the Khmer Krom at 1.3 million people.

Vietnam’s approximately 1 million ethnic Chinese, concentrated mostly in southern Vietnam, constitute Vietnam’s second-largest minority group. Long important in the Vietnamese economy, Vietnamese of Chinese ancestry have been active in rice trading, milling, real estate, and banking in the south and shopkeeping, stevedoring, and mining in the north. Restrictions on economic activity following reunification in 1975 and the subsequent but unrelated general deterioration in Vietnamese-Chinese relations sent chills through the Chinese-Vietnamese community. In 1978-79, some 450,000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees (many officially encouraged and assisted) or were expelled across the land border with China. However in recent years the government has performed an about turn and is encouraging overseas Hoa to return and invest.

The central highland peoples commonly termed Degar or Montagnards (mountain people) comprise two main ethnolinguistic groups–Malayo-Polynesian and Mon-Khmer. About 30 groups of various cultures and dialects are spread over the highland territory.

Other minority groups include the Cham–remnants of the once-mighty Champa Kingdom, conquered by the Vietnamese in the 15th century–Hmong, and Thai.

See also: List of ethnic groups in Vietnam



Population: 83,689,518 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 29.4% (male 12,524,098; female 11,807,763)
15-64 years: 65% (male 26,475,156; female 27,239,543)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 1,928,568; female 2,714,390)

(2004 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.3% (2004 est.)

Birth rate: 19.58 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)

Death rate: 6.14 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)

Demographics of Vietnam, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

Demographics of Vietnam, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2004 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 29.88 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 33.71 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 70.35 years
male: 67.86 years
female: 73.02 years (2004 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.22 children born/woman (2004 est.)


noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese

Ethnic groups: Vietnamese 86%, Khmer Krom 1.5%, Chinese 3%, Muong, Tai, Meo, Mang, Cham


  • Mahayana Buddhism-Taoism 78%
  • Theravada Buddhism 5%
  • Christianity- 8%
    • Roman Catholic- 7%
    • Protestant- 1%
  • Muslim-0.7%
  • Cao Dai- 7-8 million followers
  • Hoa Hao (included as divergent subsect within greater Mahayana Buddhism)
  • indigenous animistic beliefs

Languages: Vietnamese (official), Khmer, Chinese, English, French, tribal languages (Tai-Kadai, Mon-Khmer, and Malayo-Polynesian)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94% (2004 consensus)
male: 96.9%
female: 91.9% (2002)



  • 1999 Census results
  • Socioeconomic Atlas of VietnamJump to: navigation, search