Vietnam lies along the eastern coast of Southeast Asia. It extends 1,000 miles from the Chinese border in the north to the Gulf of Thailand in the south. Cambodia and Laos share the country’s western borders. At its narrowest point, Vietnam is only about 30 miles wide.

  • Population: 87,848,000
  • Life Expectancy: 75 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 94%
  • School Enrollment: 94%
  • Land Mass: 127,880 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 93%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 23/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 1,100

Facts about Vietnam

Economic Development

Vietnam has recently experienced rapid population growth and overcrowded cities. Trying to address this problem, the government has resettled millions of people in low-populated mountains and upland plateaus.

Clean Water

Logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices have contributed to soil degradation and deforestation. Other environmental issues include water pollution, overfishing, contaminated potable water supplies, and urbanization.

Economic Development

Almost seven percent of Vietnamese are unemployed and more than 12 percent live below the poverty line.

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Progress in Vietnam

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Worked with the community to build irrigation canals, providing consistent water for farms and increasing production.

  • Provided agricultural training, rice seeds, fertilizer, and cultivation machines for farmers to improve farming practices and increase harvests.

  • Trained farmers in animal husbandry to improve their incomes and provide food for their families.

  • Partnered with communities to build household and school latrines, improving sanitation and creating a healthier environment.

  • Drilled wells to improve access to clean water and reduce the incidence of waterborne illness.

  • Provided wheelchairs to children with disabilities to help them integrate into schools and the community.

  • Provided additional training for teachers to help them meet and exceed national standards and improve their teaching skills.

  • Renovated school facilities to improve the learning environment.

  • Worked with rural communities to develop disaster-response plans, helping them mitigate the effects of emergencies such as floods.

  • Organized children's clubs, which teach children about their rights and provide opportunities for leadership.

  • Held information sessions about gender equity and domestic violence to help community members address these issues appropriately.

  • Children participated in a party and received notebooks and pens as their gift.

  • Renovated local health clinics and provided medical equipment to strengthen the quality of care in the community.

  • Taught caregivers about childhood illnesses and nutrition, and showed them how to prepare healthy meals for their children.

  • Facilitated health checkups for children and helped sick children access medical treatment.

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    World Vision in Vietnam Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Vietnam to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 5,900 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Vietnam. Highlights include:

    • Increasing community HIV and AIDS awareness and providing parents of HIV-positive children with nutrition training.
    • Training farmers in cultivation, production, and marketing techniques.
    • Improving the ability for communities to withstand and recover from natural disasters.

    World Vision History in Vietnam

    World Vision work began in 1960 in Vietnam, but was suspended in 1975.  World Vision continued to provide a small amount of assistance in the country, and to help Vietnamese refugees.  Child sponsorship resumed in 1992. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

    • Supporting orphanages and providing care for malnourished and abandoned infants during the 1960s.
    • Providing civil war refugees with food and offering specialized training for teachers, social workers, and public health nurses during the 1970s.
    • Helping communities recover from typhoons that damaged rice crops by rebuilding dikes and supplying new seeds for planting throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
    • Creating and sustaining jobs through a microenterprise program since the early 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Vietnam lies along the eastern coast of Southeast Asia. It extends 1,000 miles from the Chinese border in the north to the Gulf of Thailand in the south. Cambodia and Laos share the country’s western borders. At its narrowest point, Vietnam is only about 30 miles wide.

    Much of the land is rugged and densely forested, and river deltas contain rich soil. The tropical climate includes a monsoon season as well as frequent typhoons.

    Natural resources include phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, oil, natural gas, forests, and hydropower. More than half of the labor force works in agriculture. Products include rice, coffee, rubber, cotton, and tea.

    Almost 90 percent of people are ethnic Vietnamese, making this country one of the most homogenous societies in Southeast Asia. The official language is Vietnamese, but people also speak English, French, and Chinese.

    Vietnamese names are traditionally in the order of family name first, then the given name. If a person has three names, the middle name comes before the given name.


    Although Vietnam declared independence from France after World War II, Vietnam did not gain its freedom until a few years later. The 1954 Geneva Agreement divided the country into North and South Vietnam, sparking the 20-year Vietnam War.

    In 1973, U.S. involvement in the war ended and the two sides signed a peace settlement. Communist forces from the north reunited the country in 1975.

    Vietnam continues to be a one-party state ruled by the Vietnamese Communist Party. The government has committed to enacting more liberal economic policies and reforms in order to boost the economy.

    In January 2007, after a 20-year wait, Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization. Citizens hope this move will continue to boost the economy and help ensure liberalizing reforms today.

    Prayer Requests for Vietnam

    • Children to have access to the resources they need to enjoy a better future.
    • The safety of World Vision staff members as they travel and serve communities in Vietnam.