Vietnam is the 15th most populous country worldwide and is among the countries with the highest population density. With a size of over 311 thousand square meters, Vietnam is about the same size as Germany, although it has roughly 13 million more inhabitants. However, the population is not evenly distributed across the country, largely due to heavy urbanization after the implementation of the Doi Moi economic program. The largest concentrations of people are located in the Red River Delta, along the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea, and in the Mekong River Delta.
Notably, Vietnam’s population increased rapidly between the 1960s and 1970s. Nevertheless, population growth has slowed down in the last two decades, as women started to have less children to reduce family size. In 2019, Vietnam had a population of over 95 million people. In terms of age structure, 70 percent of the population were between 15 and 64 years old, while children aged under 14 made up 23 percent and the elderly above 65 years accounted for the remaining seven percent. Life expectancy at birth was at about 75.24 years, which was high compared to other countries at similar income levels. Vietnamese women have a higher life expectancy than men. Moreover, the male-to-female ratio was well-balanced.
In 2018, about 26.4 percent of the Vietnamese population were categorized as religious believers of which 14.91 percent were Buddhists, followed by Roman Catholics at 7.35 percent. Other religious groups include Hoa Hao Buddhism, Cao Dai, Protestantism as well as religious groups originating within the country. In Vietnam, the main ethnic groups include the Viet-Muong, Tay-Thai, Mon-Khmer, Mong-Dao, Kadai, Austro-Polynenisian, Chinese and Tibeto out of a total of 54 ethnic groups. The officially spoken language is Vietnamese, which developed out of various influences throughout history. As a former French colony, the language and vocabulary have been influenced by French. Today, Vietnamese uses a Latin alphabet with six tones. Interestingly, there are regional variations in vocabulary. Moreover, Vietnam’s literacy rate was above average in Southeast Asia, having reached a youth literacy rate of 98.41 percent in 2018.