macrohistory & world report

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Map of Vietnam

Vietnam (capital Hanoi) and neighboring states.
What was Saigon is now Ho Chi Minh City.

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Vietnam is a densely-populated developing country that has been transitioning from the rigidities of a centrally-planned economy since 1986. Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic modernization in recent years. Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in January 2007, which has promoted more competitive, export-driven industries. Vietnam became an official negotiating partner in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in 2010. Agriculture's share of economic output has continued to shrink from about 25% in 2000 to less than 20% in 2013, while industry's share increased from 36% to more than 42% in the same period. State-owned enterprises account for about 40% of GDP. Poverty has declined significantly, and Vietnam is working to create jobs to meet the challenge of a labor force that is growing by more than one million people every year... Vietnam's economy continues to face challenges from an undercapitalized banking sector. Non-performing loans weigh heavily on banks and businesses."

Economic growth rate
2013: 5.3%
2012: 5.2%
2011: 6.2%

Labor force in agriculture
2011: 48%

Unemployment rate
2011: 2.3%

Public debt
2011: 57.3%

Export commodities
Clothes, shoes, marine products, crude oil, electronics, wooden products, rice, machinery

Export partners
2011: US 18%, China 11%, Japan 11%, Germany 3.7%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $96.3 billion, imports $105.3 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 77th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 7.2% of GDP

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005: 2.5%


July 2014: 93.421 million

Population growth rate:
2014: 1.0%, 119th among 233 countries

Births / Deaths
2014: 16.26 / 5.93

Life expectancy
2014: 72.91 years

Infant Mortality – deaths per 1,000 live births
2014: 18.99, 95th among 224 countries

Living in an urban area
2010: 30%


Ethnic groups
2009 census: Kinh (Viet) 85.7%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.8%, Muong 1.5%, Khmer 1.5%, Mong 1.2%, Nung 1.1%, others 5.3%

1999: Buddhist 9.3%, Catholic 6.7%, Hoa Hao 1.5%, Cao Dai 1.1%, Protestant 0.5%, Muslim 0.1%, none 80.8%

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 0.34 persons per 1,000 population per year

Density for 2005: 256 persons per square kilometer. Per square kilometer of arable land: 1,286.5 persons.


South of China. East of Laos and Cambodia. 3,444 kilometers (2.152.5 miles) of coastline facing the South China Sea. Slightly larger than New Mexico.

People in Ho Chi Minh City commonly call the city Saigon.


One legal political party.

Vietnam's constitution dates from 1992. Its legal system is based on French civil law. Vietnam has a president elected to a five-year term by a National Assembly. It has a prime minister and deputy prime ministers. It has a Cabinet proposed by the prime minister and appointed by the president and ratified by the National Assembly. The National Assembly is unicameral, with 498 seats, its members elected by popular vote for five-year terms. Capital: Hanoi.

Recent History

Vietnam's day of independence day-- from the French – is September 2, 1945.

World Factbook: The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by Communist forces under Ho Chi Minh.


The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.