What does it mean to be poor in Vietnam? When I grew up in Hanoi in the late 80s, poverty was all around. Most of the population then was living under the international poverty line ($1.25 per day). Because there were no living standard surveys to measure poverty, there was no clear indication of what it meant to be poor. A rich person at that time was someone with either a motorbike or a television set, while a poor one was a street beggar or someone who did not have enough rice to eat. In the earliest survey conducted in 1992 and 1993, about 64% of the population was poor by the international poverty line. Twenty years later, less than 3% were considered poor by the same standard while hunger was successfully eradicated.
About 15 years ago, when I was doing my dissertation research with a professor with experience in fieldwork, we did a 15 round survey with households in Ghana. Given the frequency of the visits, we based the enumerators in the village. But we were careful to hire enumerators from nearby big towns -- not the villages in which we were working. This was partly for skills, but mostly to make sure that the enumerators wouldn't be asking sensitive questions of people they knew.