Urban Poor's 'Everyday Struggle' in Vietnam
Image Credit: davidconger.com (flickr)

Urban Poor's 'Everyday Struggle' in Vietnam


Vietnam has the highest urbanization rate in Southeast Asia. Just a decade ago, only 24% of its population lived in cities, with 65% of the labor force employed in rural agriculture. Today, already more than 30 million people live in urban areas, accounting for approximately 34% of Vietnam’s total population. The country is witnessing a rapid proliferation of urban areas, with the number of towns or cities at 755 and rising. Planners estimate that Vietnam’s cities will be home to more than 46 million people by the year 2020. The largest of these cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, are the growth engines of the country, supported by a relatively low urban unemployment rate of 4.6%.

With its newly attained status as a middle income country and its ambitions to achieve higher levels of human development, Vietnam needs to address challenges in basic social service provisions for both rural and urban populations. In particular, Vietnam will have to cope with rural-urban migration, a global megatrend that will continue to trouble city planners for the foreseeable future. Many poor rural Vietnamese will try their luck in the thriving urban centers, perceiving them to be full of job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers. Urban planners need to find a way to accommodate this influx of migrants and account for the fact that most of them are ill-equipped to participate in the urban economy.

The latest infographic (see below) from the Asian Trends Monitoring (ATM) team tells a story about Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and how it fares in its struggle to provide basic services for its people. The numbers and information in the infographic are a combination of secondary data from the World Bank, primary data from the ATM poverty profile survey, as well as information from interviews ATM conducted in the field in September 2012.


(Source: Asian Trends Monitoring)

This infographic highlights the emerging issues that Hanoi’s poor must contend with. Although Vietnam’s GDP is growing and income levels among the poor are rising, it does not necessarily translate into improved access to services. There are several limitations to the government’s service provision capacity, which leads to things like a strict “poor list” of eligible households.

Pham Anh Tuan
April 7, 2013 at 15:07

i cant expect a better answer and explanation :) well-done !

Dave wallace
February 18, 2013 at 02:42

Sounds like you are blinded by your communist china propaganda I feel sorry that you have to try to steer vietnam back to a relationship with china that has always been one sided with china using and abusing vietnam importing all their natural resources and exporting fake and genetically modified foods to use the vietnamese people as test subjects for when the food runs out in china and it will come see Canada when your air is to polluted to breathe your water to polluted to drink and the rest of the world gets sick of your led painted products and your poor workmanship. China has had a good run but your environment can not stand another decade of production with no environmental and safety standards

Bảo hành Appollo, bao hanh appollo
January 29, 2013 at 16:18

Helpful information. Lucky me I found your website unintentionally, and I’m stunned why this coincidence did not happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

November 29, 2012 at 18:10

China is rich? I doubt it. She is rich only in total GDP with 1.3 billion people. In term of GDP per capital, she is still developing country and her economy relies too much on exporting to US and Europe while the domestic consumption is still low. 
She is using her earning to back up other countries for bad intention, such as to Cambodia. People will wonder why China has so much money to do this and that. The answer is instead of using her earning to improve social welfare for her citizens, she uses that money to buy weapons and all to threat other countries.
And there are some Chinese, who are so "innocent" that they don't know the amount of money they should have been received is used to buy guns and ships which are for nothing because every countries know the danger of war and try to avoid it. A child playing with a knife may cut himself one day. Be careful!
I have a feeling that China is stepping into the footage of Germany and Japan in the World War. Try to look at the result of these two after the war. Mongol Empire collapsed, Roman Empire collapsed, Manchu Empire collapsed…all of them, at the end of the day, had to get out of other people's home to go back to their own home. So China should be careful when attempting to expand its power and territory as they might have to go back to their  little true home which is just around the Huang He river. 

[...] post was originally submitted to and published at the Diplomat website. Highlights, Pro-poor [...]

October 31, 2012 at 04:24

LOL. So Johnny boy, do you need more links?

October 31, 2012 at 01:33

There you go with your general statements. You're referring to Vichy France. Have you forgotten about the Free French that were in exile? Or was that fact omitted in your governemnt-approved history books? He identified himself as a Frenchman straight out, and like a fish, you took the bait by prattling against France. Tell me, do you keep a book that lists countries and ways you can insult them?

October 31, 2012 at 01:29

Your government won't dare stop Weibo and other users from posting such photos online. To do so will be to block the only safety valve that the CPC has. Have you forgotten the NIMBY and anti-Japan riots? That's what happens when a population has been restrained too much.
Also, posting pollution photos online doesn't change the fact that many local governments still intend to build factories and dump wastes.

October 31, 2012 at 01:25

In your book, there are no friendship between nations. In your book, the US has no friends. I don't know if you've noticed this, but neither does China. Letting that matter lie, let's speak of allies then. You know how many tried-and-tested alliances the West has. How many can China boast? Let's see… There's NoKor and there are the Soviets. But you can't rely on the Soviets too much, since they did clash with Chinese forces before, and there's the inconvenient fact that the Soviets are no longer around. Myanmar has been lost to the fold. Pakistan maybe? How many wars have Pakistanis and Chinese soldiers fought together? Doesn't look too promising, does it?

October 31, 2012 at 01:20

Remember that photo where you commented if the Aussies will repay the Filipino farmer for his trampled rice paddies? The one that later turned out to be a stock photo of an Aussie soldier in Afghanistan? Pardon me if I don't give credence to your skills in interpreting photos.

October 31, 2012 at 01:17

Never let the past go? The trouble with that statement is it applies to you too, with the way you rattle against Western imperialism, 'fascist' Japan, and 'aggressive' SEA countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.

October 30, 2012 at 07:34

Dear readers,
Here are a few more links so you can see for yourself about the so called "prosperity" as John Chan and other chinese posters tried to fool us. To moderators, these links are valid and not spam.
The facts are speaking for themselves.

October 30, 2012 at 00:32

 You said that "The Vietnamese hates China because China is the only nation helps them kick their abusers, the French, Japanese and the American out" right? Actually it is somewhat right. China did help Vietnam by supplying food, clothes,  and weapons. However, these donations were useless. Then China secretly planned to invade Vietnam after French, USA, was kicked out. it means China helped Vietnam but in fact China aimed to invade Vietnam.  Recently, China has claimed that Hoang Sa, Truong Sa islands belong to China, in fact it belong to Vietnam. They shot Vietnamese fishing boats, cut cape. Lately, Chinese fishing boats came  to Vietnamese Ocean.
 You should consider the matter at both sides

October 29, 2012 at 23:05

Vietnam does not have to claim anything. Proven history is on her side. Readers can use Google and look up “history of Vietnam” and see for themselves how many times the bullies from china have been beaten all by Vietnam. From the Quin to Ming to Yuan to Han just to name a few, china/chinese tried and tried countless times to invade but still ended up with huge shame and humiliation.
The rich guys/gals from my link are from the CCP (Chinese communist party). They have gotten very rich because of corruption while the working Chinese living like sub humans (see my link above about china’s huge pollution problem). Who would want to live like that or look up to china/Chinese for prosperity? Who would want to be jealous of things like that?
Still no reply about my statements of Chinese poachers being shot dead by Russian navy? What is the matter? Why so silent?
We are still waiting for links/stories about US F-22 planes made by china. What are you waiting for? LOL.

Jean-Paul Sartre
October 29, 2012 at 22:41

John Chan you need to stop getting your information from the CCP propaganda, it is only making you look like a blind sheep of the corrupt chinese regime.
France did not bomb Gadhafi without provocation. Gadhafi was a corrupt dictator with poor human rights and democratic records. On top of his human rights abuses, he was an ally of fascist Russia and communist china. Russia and China needed to be taught a lesson that they cannot support dictators within French sphere of influence, or they will be kicked out and lose billions of their corrupt investments. Is china still upset over being kicked out of libya???
Also France shouldnt repay china for any loots that it had obtained through fair trade and international laws in the time that those loots were obtained. It was only china that was being unfair in its trading during the 1800's that it needed to be taught a lesson by France. China tried to steal french goods unfairly so French and British forces needed to protect their interests. Why is China still upset over something that happened 150 years ago??
Watch out John Chan because I fear China is once again being unfair in trading and being a bad member of the international community, maybe France needs to teach China another lesson on fair trade and teach them to stop being a currency manipulator.

October 29, 2012 at 22:35

The article above certainly highlights the difficulties that Vietnam confronts demographically in the coming decades. As a person who lives and works in Vietnam, it would be interesting to read about what the ‘urban rich’ are doing in their attempts to alleviate the plight of the urban poor. There appears to be a lot of ‘looking the other way’ from this section of the community. The gap between those who have very little (majority) and those who appear to have everything (minority) is also of great concern that may create a certain amount of discontent among urban Vietnamese in the coming years, particularly as a huge population of young, better educated Vietnamese fail to see their hopes and dreams materialise in the face of institutionalised nepotism that disallows everyone a fair go.

John Chan
October 29, 2012 at 04:58

@Concerned Frenchman,
Frenchmen attacked crippled Olympics game flame carrier; denied repatriation of the loots they robbed from China; bombed its biggest cash donor, Gadhafi, without provocation;  … prove Frenchman has no shame, no honour, no creditability and behaving like a thug.
Vietnam always claims it is invincible and it beats everybody insight, including their brutal colonial master the French, it makes your portraying Vietnam as a victim a plain pathetic lie. When the heavily armed WWII victor French got rounded up at Dien Bien Phu by the poorly armed peasant Viet Minh that is the example of humiliation.
French should stay at home to review their collaboration role they played in supporting the Nazi during the WWII instead of repeating their crimes against humanity they committed in the last few hundred years. If they get caught this time, they are not going to escape the judgment as war criminal like in the WWII.

Concerned Frenchman
October 28, 2012 at 06:04

@ John Chan: You are behaving like a neo-imperialist, trying to bully the weak nations into accepting your biased worldview and using scare tactics to try and seduce vietnam into being a bad member of the international community.
It is funny you are criticizing vietnam and telling them to look to china for peace, last time they did that China showed its true colors by invading vietnam and killing thousands of poor, war weary vietnamese. A true sign of a bully; trying to attack nations that had aleady been weakened by decades of war and still China suffered thousands of casualties as well. How pathetic and humiliating it must be for big bully china.
I think France should support those weaker nations like vietnam and phillipines against chinese imperialism. Maybe sell some nuclear submarines to those nations to deter such imperialism. Also France should join US, Japan, Australia to help contain china and support Japanese sovereignty over senkakus dispute.
Poor John Chan, only china is so silly to believe it can become an imperialist aggressor in the 21st century.

John Chan
October 27, 2012 at 13:14

@Nguyen Noinoi,
Laughing and sulking have no place in international affairs. You are the obstacle for Vietnam to move forward. This article tells the dilemma and difficulties Vietnam is in, it is contradictory to what you said.
If you are confident your argument is superior, there is no need to use foul language so prominently in all your comments, as you said the readers can judge.  

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