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  The World Factbook.  2008.
 
Vietnam
 
Flag of Vietnam                                Map of Vietnam
 
Background:The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by Communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the Communist North and anti-Communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under Communist rule. Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies. However, since the enactment of Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The country continues to experience protests from various groups - such as the Protestant Montagnard ethnic minority population of the Central Highlands and the Hoa Hao Buddhists in southern Vietnam over religious persecution. Montagnard grievances also include the loss of land to Vietnamese settlers.
  
Geography
  
Location:Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia
Geographic coordinates:16 00 N, 106 00 E
Map references:Southeast Asia
Area:total: 329,560 sq km
land: 325,360 sq km
water: 4,200 sq km
Area—comparative:slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries:total: 4,639 km
border countries: Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km
Coastline:3,444 km (excludes islands)
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate:tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March)
Terrain:low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest
Elevation extremes:lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Fan Si Pan 3,144 m
Natural resources:phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower
Land use:arable land: 20.14%
permanent crops: 6.93%
other: 72.93% (2005)
Irrigated land:30,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:891.2 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 71.39 cu km/yr (8%/24%/68%)
per capita: 847 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta
Environment—current issues:logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
Environment—international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography—note:extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point
  
People
  
Population:85,262,356 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 26.3% (male 11,617,032/female 10,784,264)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 28,711,464/female 29,205,498)
65 years and over: 5.8% (male 1,919,138/female 3,024,960) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 26.4 years
male: 25.3 years
female: 27.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:1.004% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:16.63 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:6.19 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.077 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.983 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.634 male(s)/female
total population: 0.982 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 24.37 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.76 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 71.07 years
male: 68.27 years
female: 74.08 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:1.89 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:0.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:220,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:9,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, Japanese encephalitis, and plague
water contact disease: leptospirosis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality:noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese
Ethnic groups:Kinh (Viet) 86.2%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.7%, Muong 1.5%, Khome 1.4%, Hoa 1.1%, Nun 1.1%, Hmong 1%, others 4.1% (1999 census)
Religions:Buddhist 9.3%, Catholic 6.7%, Hoa Hao 1.5%, Cao Dai 1.1%, Protestant 0.5%, Muslim 0.1%, none 80.8% (1999 census)
Languages:Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.3%
male: 93.9%
female: 86.9% (2002 est.)
  
Government
  
Country name:conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
conventional short form: Vietnam
local long form: Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam
local short form: Viet Nam
abbreviation: SRV
Government type:Communist state
Capital:name: Hanoi
geographic coordinates: 21 02 N, 105 51 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:59 provinces (tinh, singular and plural) and 5 municipalities (thanh pho, singular and plural)
provinces: An Giang, Bac Giang, Bac Kan, Bac Lieu, Bac Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Cao Bang, Dac Lak, Dac Nong, Dien Bien, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Giang, Ha Nam, Ha Tay, Ha Tinh, Hai Duong, Hau Giang, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kon Tum, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Long An, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Tho, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phuc, Yen Bai
municipalities: Can Tho, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh
Independence:2 September 1945 (from France)
National holiday:Independence Day, 2 September (1945)
Constitution:15 April 1992
Legal system:based on communist legal theory and French civil law system has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Nguyen Minh TRIET (since 27 June 2006); Vice President Nguyen Thi DOAN (since 25 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Nguyen Tan DUNG (since 27 June 2006); Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh HUNG (since 28 June 2006), Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung HAI (since 2 August 2007), Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien NHAN (since 2 August 2007), Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia KHIEM (since 28 June 2006), and Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh TRONG (since 28 June 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president based on proposal of prime minister and confirmed by National Assembly
elections: president elected by the National Assembly from among its members for five-year term; last held 27 June 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers appointed by the prime minister; appointment of prime minister and deputy prime ministers confirmed by National Assembly
election results: Nguyen Minh TRIET elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 94%; Nguyen Tan DUNG elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - 92%
Legislative branch:unicameral National Assembly or Quoc Hoi (500 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 20 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPV 450, non-party CPV-approved 42, self-nominated 1; note - 493 candidates were elected; CPV and non-party CPV-approved delegates were members of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front
Judicial branch:Supreme People's Court (chief justice is elected for a five-year term by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president)
Political parties and leaders:Communist Party of Vietnam or CPV [Nong Duc MANH]; other parties proscribed
Political pressure groups and leaders:groups advocate democracy but are not recognized by government - 8406 Bloc; Democratic Party of Vietnam or DPV; People's Democratic Party Vietnam or PDP-VN; Alliance for Democracy (2006)
International organization participation:ACCT (observer), ADB, APEC, APT, ARF, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador (Appointed) Le Cong PHUNG
chancery: 1233 20th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 861-0737
FAX: [1] (202) 861-0917
consulate(s) general: San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Michael W. MICHALAK
embassy: 7 Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 400, FPO AP 96521-0002
telephone: [84] (4) 850-5000
FAX: [84] (4) 850-5010
consulate(s) general: Ho Chi Minh City
Flag description:red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center
  
Economy
  
Economy—overview:Vietnam is a densely-populated developing country that in the last 30 years has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally-planned economy. Economic stagnation marked the period after reunification from 1975 to 1985. In 1986, the Sixth Party Congress approved a broad economic reform package that introduced market reforms and set the groundwork for Vietnam's improved investment climate. Substantial progress was achieved from 1986 to 1997 in moving forward from an extremely low level of development and significantly reducing poverty. The 1997 Asian financial crisis highlighted the problems in the Vietnamese economy and temporarily allowed opponents of reform to slow progress toward a market-oriented economy. GDP growth averaged 6.8% per year from 1997 to 2004 even against the background of the Asian financial crisis and a global recession. Since 2001, Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic liberalization and international integration. They have moved to implement the structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The economy grew 8.5% in 2007. Vietnam's membership in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and entry into force of the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement in December 2001 have led to even more rapid changes in Vietnam's trade and economic regime. Vietnam's exports to the US increased 900% from 2001 to 2007. Vietnam joined the WTO in January 2007, following over a decade long negotiation process. WTO membership has provided Vietnam an anchor to the global market and reinforced the domestic economic reform process. Among other benefits, accession allows Vietnam to take advantage of the phase-out of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, which eliminated quotas on textiles and clothing for WTO partners on 1 January 2005. Agriculture's share of economic output has continued to shrink, from about 25% in 2000 to less than 20% in 2007. Deep poverty, defined as a percent of the population living under $1 per day, has declined significantly and is now smaller than that of China, India, and the Philippines. Vietnam is working to create jobs to meet the challenge of a labor force that is growing by more than one-and-a-half million people every year. In an effort to stem high inflation which took off in 2007, early in 2008 Vietnamese authorities began to raise benchmark interest rates and reserve requirements. Hanoi is targeting an economic growth rate of 7.5-8% during the next four years.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$222.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$66.4 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:8.5% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$2,600 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 19.4%
industry: 42.3%
services: 38.3% (2007 est.)
Labor force:45.73 million (2007 est.)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 55.6%
industry: 18.9%
services: 25.5% (July 2005)
Unemployment rate:5.1% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:14.75% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 28.9% (2004)
Distribution of family income—Gini index:37 (2004)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):8.3% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):40% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $18.28 billion
expenditures: $19.79 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:43.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:paddy rice, coffee, rubber, cotton, tea, pepper, soybeans, cashews, sugar cane, peanuts, bananas; poultry; fish, seafood
Industries:food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building; mining, coal, steel; cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, paper
Industrial production growth rate:17.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:59.01 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity—consumption:51.35 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity—exports:0 kWh (2007)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2007)
Oil—production:319,500 bbl/day (2007)
Oil—consumption:271,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil—exports:315,700 bbl/day (2007)
Oil—imports:271,100 bbl/day (2007)
Oil—proved reserves:600 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:6.86 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:6.86 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas—imports:0 cu m (2007)
Natural gas—proved reserves:184.7 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$-1.199 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$48.3 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, shoes
Exports—partners:US 21.2%, Japan 12.3%, Australia 9.4%, China 5.7%, Germany 4.5% (2006)
Imports:$60.75 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel products, raw cotton, grain, cement, motorcycles
Imports—partners:China 17.7%, Singapore 12.9%, Taiwan 11.5%, Japan 9.8%, South Korea 8.4%, Thailand 7.3%, Malaysia 4.2% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$17.16 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$24.41 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$29.23 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$NA
Market value of publicly traded shares:$NA
Economic aid—recipient:$5.4 billion in credits and grants pledged by the 2007 Consultative Group meeting in Hanoi (2007)
Currency (code):dong (VND)
Exchange rates:dong per US dollar - 16,119 (2007), 15,983 (2006), 15,746 (2005), NA (2004), 15,510 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
  
Communications
  
Telephones—main lines in use:10.8 million (2007)
Telephones—mobile cellular:33.2 million (2007)
Telephone system:general assessment: Vietnam is putting considerable effort into modernization and expansion of its telecommunication system, but its performance continues to lag behind that of its more modern neighbors
domestic: all provincial exchanges are digitalized and connected to Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City by fiber-optic cable or microwave radio relay networks; main lines have been substantially increased, and the use of mobile telephones is growing rapidly
international: country code - 84; a landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3, the C2C, and Thailand-Vietnam-Hong Kong submarine cable systems; the Asia-America Gateway submarine cable system, scheduled for completion by the end of 2008, will provide new access links to Asia and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 65, FM 7, shortwave 29 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:6 (plus 61 provincial TV stations) (2006)
Internet country code:.vn
Internet hosts:106,772 (2007)
Internet users:17.87 million (2007)
  
Transportation
  
Airports:44 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 37
over 3,047 m: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Heliports:1 (2007)
Pipelines:condensate/gas 432 km; gas 510 km; oil 49 km; refined products 206 km (2007)
Railways:total: 2,600 km
standard gauge: 178 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 2,169 km 1.000-m gauge
dual gauge: 253 km three-rail track combining 1.435 m and 1.000-m gauges (2006)
Roadways:total: 222,179 km
paved: 42,167 km
unpaved: 180,012 km (2004)
Waterways:17,702 km (5,000 km navigable by vessels up to 1.8 m draft) (2005)
Merchant marine:total: 314 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,739,927 GRT/2,681,003 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 26, cargo 238, chemical tanker 7, container 6, liquefied gas 6, petroleum tanker 26, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1
registered in other countries: 33 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Honduras 1, South Korea 1, Liberia 3, Mongolia 14, Panama 10, Tuvalu 3, unknown 2) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Da Nang, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City
  
Military
  
Military branches:People's Armed Forces: People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (includes People's Navy Command (with naval infantry, coast guard), Air and Air Defense Force (Kon Quan Nhan Dan), Border Defense Command), People's Public Security Forces, Militia Force, Self-Defense Forces (2005)
Military service age and obligation:18 years of age (male) for compulsory military service; females may volunteer for active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (3 to 4 years in the navy); 18-45 years of age (male) or 18-40 years of age (female) for Militia Force or Self Defense Forces (2006)
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 21,341,813
females age 18-49: 21,430,808 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 16,032,358
females age 18-49: 17,921,241 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 915,572
females age 18-49: 864,161 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:2.5% (2005 est.)
  
Transnational Issues
  
Disputes—international:southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; Cambodia and Laos protest Vietnamese squatters and armed encroachments along border; an estimated 300,000 Vietnamese refugees reside in China; establishment of a maritime boundary with Cambodia is hampered by unresolved dispute over the sovereignty of offshore islands; demarcation of the China-Vietnam boundary proceeds slowly and although the maritime boundary delimitation and fisheries agreements were ratified in June 2004, implementation has been delayed; China occupies the Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; involved in complex dispute with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and possibly Brunei over the Spratly Islands; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants; Vietnam continues to expand construction of facilities in the Spratly Islands; in March 2005, the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam signed a joint accord to conduct marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands
Illicit drugs:minor producer of opium poppy; probable minor transit point for Southeast Asian heroin; government continues to face domestic opium/heroin/methamphetamine addiction problems despite longstanding crackdowns

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