The Ministry of Health is currently in the process of creating legislation aimed at motivating couples residing in regions with low birth rates to consider having two children.
The proposed bill suggests that localities should provide a one-time financial assistance package to women who give birth to a second child.
Additionally, it proposes the idea of exempting or decreasing tuition fees for preschool and elementary school children, particularly those residing in industrial parks and export processing zones.
According to the draft law, provinces and cities experiencing low fertility rates will be obligated to reassess and eliminate policies that promote a decrease in birth rates. Instead, they will be encouraged to establish conducive conditions and actively promote an environment whereby couples are inclined to have two children.
Over the past twenty years, Vietnam has experienced a significant decline in its fertility rate, which is now posing a potential threat of labor shortages.
In 2001, the average number of children per woman in their reproductive age was recorded at 2.28. However, this ratio experienced a decline and reached 2.1 by the year 2021.
Based on the most recent Population and Housing Census, a notable decline in fertility rates has been observed across various socio-economic regions, with particular emphasis on the southeast region and the Mekong Delta.
At present, the average number of children born to women in the southeast region, encompassing Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, and Binh Duong, is merely 1.56. Meanwhile, in the Mekong Delta area, this figure slightly increases to 1.8 children per woman.
The fertility rate among women in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) presently stands at a record low of 1.39 children per woman, the lowest in the entire country.
Mai Trung Son, the deputy head of Vietnam's General Office for Population and Family Planning's Department of Population Size and Family Planning, stated that achieving replacement level fertility becomes extremely challenging when the fertility rate falls below 1.3 children per woman in a given locality.
Replacement level fertility refers to the specific fertility rate that results in a population replacing itself from one generation to the next. In more developed nations, this benchmark is generally considered to be an average of 2.1 children per woman.
Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Thi Lien Huong, highlighted the significant impact on sustainable development caused by low-fertility areas, encompassing a population of approximately 38 million individuals. This accounts for nearly 40% of the nation's total population.
Advocates of the law have asserted that fertility intervention policies should be tailored according to varying regions and localities.
According to experts, low fertility rates have far-reaching implications that have a lasting impact on society. One significant consequence is the emergence of an aging population, leading to increased national healthcare expenses and additional societal burdens.
A reduced workforce size not only hampers economic competitiveness but also leads to lower living standards and diminished economic growth due to a decline in the available consumer base.
Vietnam is currently facing the possibility of a labor shortage, as highlighted by the Committee for Culture and Education in the National Assembly. Last year, the percentage of young individuals within the country's population decreased from 23% in 2020 to 20.9%. This concerning trend raises concerns about the availability of an adequate workforce in the future.
By the conclusion of last year, Vietnam witnessed a decline in its young population, specifically among individuals aged 15-24. In 2020, the country boasted a count of 22.6 million people falling within this age bracket; however, by the close of the year, this figure had significantly decreased to 20.7 million. Consequently, it can be deduced that there was an annual decrease of approximately 170,000 young workers throughout this time period.
Several nations experiencing declining fertility rates have effectively managed to address this issue by consistently implementing corrective measures.
In an effort to combat its low birth rates, South Korea has significantly amplified its investments in birth promotion initiatives. The government has not only tripled the funds allocated to these activities but has also implemented generous subsidies to incentivize families to have more children. This proactive approach aims to address the pressing issue of declining population growth in the country.
In Hungary, women who have four or more children are exempted from paying personal income tax for their entire lifetime.