Vietnam is the 15th most populous country in the world and is among the countries with the highest population density. The population is, however, not evenly distributed across the country. The Red River Delta and the Mekong River Delta have the largest concentrations of inhabitants, historically due to the favorable conditions for important economic activities such as agriculture and fisheries. After the Doi Moi economic reform in the 1980s, heavy urbanization further reinforced these areas as the most populated urban centers in Vietnam.
Population of Vietnam
Vietnam’s population increased rapidly between the 1960s and 1970s. Nevertheless, population growth has slowed down drastically in the last two decades due to the government’s attempt to curb overpopulation with extensive family planning. As a result, the population growth rate of Vietnam had gone down from 2.6 percent in 1970 to less than one percent in recent years. In 2021, the population of Vietnam reached over 98 million. While more than half of the people living in Vietnam were under 35 years old that year, the population is aging fast. Meanwhile, Vietnamese had an average life expectancy of approximately 75 years old, considerably high for countries at similar income levels. Accompanying Vietnam’s economic development is a growing middle-income population with the highest annual growth rate in ASEAN.
Religions and culture in Vietnam
In 2019, about 14 percent of Vietnamese were categorized as religious believers with Roman Catholic and Buddhism accounting for the highest share of religions among the population. Although the majority of Vietnamese listed themselves as having no religious affiliation, a sizeable minority follow some form of folk religion and traditional practices which were historically influenced by Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Similarly, the Vietnamese language and vocabulary currently in use are also the result of various influences throughout history. Before the French colonization era, the Vietnamese used Chinese characters to record their language. From the early 20th century, the language has been employing a Latin alphabet with six tones, which was first developed for the Catholic community and later made compulsory for education by the French administration. After Vietnam had declared its independence in 1945, the government made eliminating illiteracy one of its main goals. In recent years, Vietnam had one of the highest youth literacy rates in the Asia Pacific region.
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