Year 2023

Demographics of Vietnam - Regional Outlook & Trends in 2023

The prospect of getting old before getting rich could mean that Vietnam will have less time to adapt to an aging society than many advanced economies.
Last Updated: March 25, 2023

Population growth outlook of Vietnam

With a population of approximately 99.5 million, Vietnam is the 15th most populous country in the world and the 3rd most populous country in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia and the Philippines. The current demographics are conducive to a stable economy, with the country achieving strong productivity and economic growth over the past few decades. As of 2021, the working-age population will be approximately 67 million, accounting for 71.6% of the total population. This part of the working population will increase over the next few decades and continue to support economic growth.

Such a population structure is supported by a stable population growth rate, which has remained at 1% for many years from 2000 to 2017. However, in recent years, due to the epidemic and the continued two-child policy to restrict births, the population growth rate has dropped below 1%, and it will be 0.8% in 2021, which is the same as the average level of middle-income countries.

Vietnam’s two-child policy is the main reason for maintaining the slow population decline. The government has strictly implemented the “one child policy” since the 1960s, restricting people to a maximum of two children, and formally legislated it in 1986. The government relaxed the two-child policy in 2003, allowing certain families to have a second child, but the restrictions remain strict, subject to approval from the local government. In 2009, the government reintroduced a strict two-child policy.

This policy has reduced Vietnam’s total fertility rate (TFR) from its peak of 6.0 in the 1970s to the current level of around 2.0, and has remained stable at this level for more than 20 years, effectively slowing down population growth.

The number of foreign immigrants in Vietnam is very small and the outflow is also one of the main reasons for restraining population growth. According to the report of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), international immigrants accounted for less than 0.08% of Vietnam’s population in 2020 , only 76,767 people Registered immigrants. In contrast, Vietnam’s net population migration rate has averaged -0.8% over the past five years, making it one of the major exporters of labor.

There are 3.2 million Vietnamese living abroad, 47 percent of them in North America, and an average of 100,000 workers leave each year, with East Asia as the main destination. With declining fertility rates and rising life expectancy, Vietnam’s older population is projected to make up 10% to just under 20% of its population by 2035. The average life expectancy of Vietnamese is about 75 years old, which is quite high for a middle-income country, which has also caused Vietnam to face the problem of an aging society. And the prospect of getting old before getting rich means that Vietnam will face a series of important challenges.

Vietnam’s per capita income is 40% of the global average, and there is still a certain distance from the middle-to-high income level. And the speed at which its population is aging means it will have less time to adapt to an aging society than many advanced economies. According to the World Bank report , Vietnam’s old-age dependency ratio, which is the population over 65 divided by the working population, will increase from 13% in 2021 to 22% in 2039, close to the 26% of today’s high-income countries such as the United States.

Table of Contents
Vietnam - Shares of Population by Age Group
Vietnam - Factors Behind Growth (Per Thousand People)
The Structure

Population Structure & Trends in Vietnam

Source: UN; OOSGA Analytics
The Culture

Ethnicity & Culture in Vietnam


Kinh (Viet) 85.3%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.9%, Muong 1.5%, Khmer 1.4%, Mong 1.4%, Nung 1.1%, other 5.5% (2019 est. by CIA)


Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer, mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)


Catholic 6.1%, Buddhist 5.8%, Protestant 1%, other 0.8%, none 86.3% (2009 est. by CIA)

Vietnam - Education Overview
Vietnam - Tertiary Education %
The Labor

Labor Outlook in Vietnam

Vietnam - Labor Participation Rate
Vietnam - Labor Participation by Group
Vietnam - Participation rate by sectors
The Regions

Regional Developments in Vietnam

Population by Major States/Regions | Thousands
GDP Per Capita by Major States/Regions
  • Population project by age group: UN population database | Data after 2022 is estimated/forecasted | Forecasted with medium variant
  • Currency: nominal USD, unless otherwise specified. | IMF
  • Economic projection: OECD, IMF, EIU, Local Government
  • Culture, ethnicities, languages: CIA Factbook
  •  Education: World Bank
  • Labor ParticipationL ILO,
  • Data Aggregation & Calculation:
  • Analysis: Economic Team
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