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URBAN POVERTY IN HO CHI MINH CITY For the purposes of this report poverty will be
Table 5: Ho Chi Minh City Poverty Line
defined as those living below to Ho Chi Minh City’s
Poverty Line Amount (VND/per capita/
Urban poverty in Ho Chi Minh City is an issue of 2008 poverty baseline of 500,000 VND/per capita/
month)
increasing magnitude. While the opening up of the month (Table 4). This differs from the official
2008 500,000
economy to global capital has generally improved National poverty line which is 390,000 VND/per
peoples’ living conditions, rapid urbanisation capita/month for other urban areas (Table 5).
2009 predicted 1,000,000 (urban areas)
combined with soaring land prices (over 500% Both poverty lines are calculated based on basic
re-adjustment 830,000 (suburban areas)
since 1990s; World Bank 2007:1) and an influx of daily food needs and the cost of clothing and
Source: Vietnam News (21 July 2008)
rural-urban migration has accelerated the growth accommodation, health care, education, travel
of urban slums. Affordable, decent housing is an and social communication. Comparing urban and
Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, accounting
especially large and growing problem. rural poverty in absolute numbers can therefore be
for 1.37% of city households. The Department
difficult as the poverty line is Ho Chi Minh City and
wants to reduce this rate to 0.6 % by the end of
Typical of many East Asian countries, poverty is both rates are scaled to inflation.
2008 with an impressive target of zero by 2010.
in rural areas of Vietnam in higher than in urban
However, these figures exclude urban migrants
areas. In 2000, 19.7% of the total rural population According to the Comprehensive Poverty
who do not have residential status in the city and
were classified as poor. By contrast 7.8% of urban Reduction and Growth Strategy (CPRGS 2002) and
as such are likely to underestimate the actual level
people were classified as poor (CPRGS, 2002). subsequent reports
3
, the official percentage of
and depth of urban poverty (World Bank, 2004:1).
However, while the percentage of population urban poor fell dramatically from 25% in 1993 to
According to the World Bank, approximately 15% of
classified as poor in higher in rural areas, the 7.8% in 2002 and then to 3.6% in 2004, equating
Ho Chi Minh City’s population would be considered
absolute number of poor is greater in cities and to approximately 300,000 households. By contrast,
poor if rural-urban migrants were included in the
urbanized provinces. Moreover, the population there were only 17,033 households living below
statistics (World Bank 2004/A).
of Hanoi, Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City are the 2008 re-adjusted poverty line in Ho Chi Minh
expected to triple by 2020 (World Bank 2007:1), City in mid 2008, according to the Department of
Although there is a huge variation in statistics, most
making urban poverty a more urgent problem.
3 Including ‘Vietnam: Growth and Reduction of Poverty
reports including the VHLSS note an increasing
To add to this, despite a remarkable decrease
- Annual Report’ of 2003-2004
trend in urban poverty in Ho Chi Minh City
in national poverty rate from 58.1% in 1993 to
24.1% in 2004
1
, urban poverty is rising
2
.
Table 4: Vietnam Poverty Line Over Time 1994-2008
Residence 1994 1996 1999 2002 2004 2005 2008
1 Poverty as the percentage of people who live below
Urban 102,000 130,000 150,000 146,000 163,000 260,000 390,000
$1 a day (CIEM 2006:91)
2 Vietnam Household and Living Standards Surveys
Rural 76,000 100,000 115,000 112,000 124,000 200,000 300,000
(VLSS) note increase in urban poverty from 6.6% to
VND/per capita/month
10.8% between 2002 and 2004 (Waibel 2007:60). Source: Vietnam – 20 Years of Renovation and Development; Vietnam News (7th August 2008)
16
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