Decline in Vietnam's youth population.

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    Oct 25, 2023

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Vietnam's youth population decreased from 23% in 2020 to 20.9% recently, posing a labor shortage risk.


According to the National Assembly's Committee for Culture and Education, Vietnam experienced a decline in its population of individuals aged 15-24 between 2020 and the end of last year. In 2020, there were approximately 22.6 million people within this age group; however, this figure dropped to 20.7 million by the close of the year.

This indicates a yearly decline in the number of young workers by 170,000.

The committee has identified the rapidly aging population and declining birth rates as the key factors behind these developments.

In just a span of 25 years, Vietnam successfully transitioned from the population aging stage, where individuals aged 60 and above accounted for 10% of the total population, to the aging population stage, where this age group increased to make up 20% of the population.

The transition took considerably longer in the majority of developed nations, with certain countries requiring up to a century to complete this transformation.

Vietnam is currently facing a significant decline in its fertility rate, which poses a potential threat of labor shortages in the country.

In 2001, the average number of children per woman in their reproductive years was recorded at 2.28. However, this figure has witnessed a decline and reached a ratio of 2.1 as of 2021.

Ho Chi Minh City is currently witnessing the lowest fertility rate in the country among women. With only 1.39 children per woman of childbearing ages, the city showcases a distinct trend in declining birth rates.

The assessment from the Committee for Culture and Education highlighted a concerning indication for Vietnam's future workforce. This has emerged as a significant obstacle in their efforts to enhance the quality of human resources amid global economic integration.

The committee suggested that related agencies conduct studies to enhance the caliber of young workers and amend the Law on Social Insurance in order to deter individuals within the working age from withdrawing social insurance funds as a one-time payout. This recommendation came alongside their prediction that Vietnam's "golden population period" would come to an end by 2038.

Individuals who choose to completely withdraw their insurance policies will face the consequence of receiving minimal to no pension during retirement. Moreover, they will be unable to avail themselves of the benefits of free health insurance.

The U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) characterizes the golden population period as a phase wherein 30% of the total population comprises children below the age of 14, while 15% consists of individuals aged 65 or older.

As Vietnam transitions out of this period, it is expected to face the challenge of a diminishing working-age population and an increasing number of individuals reaching retirement age. This demographic shift carries various implications and potential burdens for society.

In terms of the proportion of the population aged 65 and above, Vietnam holds the third position in Southeast Asia, preceded by Thailand and Singapore. However, when considering income per capita, Vietnam ranks sixth among countries in the region.

Vietnam, with a population surpassing 100 million in April as reported by the General Statistics Office, has secured its position as the 15th most populated nation globally. Additionally, when considering population density, Vietnam ranks 41st among all countries.

Vietnam is positioned at 121st place among countries with a yearly income per capita of $4,010. This amount is significantly lower compared to Japan's income which is ten times higher and the U.S.'s income which is nineteen times higher. As a result, Vietnam falls into the lower-middle income bracket.

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