Mapping Vietnam’s Poverty Indicators


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We just launched the new MapVietnam website at which provides access to socioeconomic data at the province and district level in both English and Vietnamese. The site is intended to be a resource for journalists, policymakers, researchers, and citizens looking for information on social and economic situations at a local level. The maps illustrate Vietnam’s wide diversity, which can be lost in aggregate statistics.  It is available in both English and Vietnamese.

How do you use the site? Click on an indicator on the left then move your cursor over the map. Click once to pull up a summary table for a province. Double click to zoom in and click highlighted parts for districts. Data, including sources, can be downloaded for both provinces and districts. Find out more here.

Most of the information on the site is drawn from Vietnam’s 2009 National Population and Housing Census, which is the most recent source of data at the district level for most indicators. Other data sources—more recent household surveys and administrative sources—can only be used to calculate figures at the regional or provincial level. The map also includes, at the provincial level, the most recent (2013) income-based poverty estimates from MOLISA (Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs) as well as child stunting (malnutrition) rates.

Here are a few highlight observations from the map:

  • Poverty, by any of the five measures available on the map, is highest in the Northern Mountains—particularly on the far north and northwest borders—and is also high in the Central Highlands region. Within those regions, however, there is substantial variation, with some districts having much lower poverty levels.
  • The World Bank’s twin goals focus on eliminating extreme poverty and boosting the income of the poorest 40% of the population (defined nationally). The map shows that large fractions of the population in rural Vietnam fall in the bottom 40%. In most cities, particularly the larger metropolises of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, and Haiphong, few people are in the bottom 40%. In the Tu Liem and Tay Ho districts in Hanoi where many foreigners (including myself) reside, just 1% is in the bottom 40. In contrast in the district of Da Krong in Quang Tri province (northern Central Vietnam) that I visited last week, 92% are in the bottom 40.
  • Everywhere, Vietnam has astounding levels of electricity connectivity, measured by the fraction reporting that they use electricity as their main form of lighting. This figure is over 90% in almost the entirely country, and over 70% even in the most remote districts in the north and northwest.
  • In the interlinked areas of nutrition and sanitation access, Vietnam has made impressive progress but still has opportunities to improve. Access to flush toilets is high only in urban districts, and malnutrition (measured as the fraction of children under age 5 who are stunted) is surprisingly high across the country—in the range of 20-40% everywhere except the largest cities.

I invite you to explore the map and share your insights on the patterns it reveals. 

Watch the video: Mapping Vietnam’s Poverty Indicators



Gabriel Demombynes

Manager of the Human Capital Project at the World Bank

Ian Townsend
March 27, 2015

Gabriel, fantastic - thanks for this, it will be really interesting to be able to use the data. Are there any plans to do anything similar for other countries, perhaps in sub-Saharan Africa?

April 15, 2015

Great news, thanks again. It would very interesting to know which other countries you are looking at doing, especially if these in include Uganda, Kenya or Nepal. Feel free to contact me directly to explore further. Best regards.

Romain PISON
March 16, 2015

Many thanks Gabriel. Very useful, providing the missing link with raw data from the VHLSS, on a map that is very easy to use. Next step: combining with layers of sector related data?

April 06, 2015

I've prepared the $1.25-a-day and $2-a-day spreadsheet, and they should be uploaded this week. We are now looking at doing this for other countries. Thanks for your encouragement!

Ian Townsend
March 18, 2015

This is interesting, not least the availability of poverty and shared prosperity (bottom 40%) data down to district level. The XLS files are also useful, but the $1.25 and $2 a day data seem to be missing from these. Could these be posted?

March 27, 2015

Thanks for the comments. We will look to add other layers of data as they become available, but there are very few data sources with comprehensive data down to the district level, and not many with provincial level data.
Thanks very much for pointing out that we neglected to include the $1.25-a-day and $2-a-day estimates in the spreadsheet. We will fix this, but it may take a few days for us to get the new files uploaded.

Brian McCaig
May 22, 2015

This is a great way to make this data more widely available. Thank you for doing this map. This may be asking too much, but is there any information about the physical size of districts? Any plans to do the same using 1999 census data?

Brian McCaig
May 22, 2015

Thanks a lot for making this disaggregated data so easily available. Any plans to add information on the area of districts or include 1999 estimates as well?

Brian McCaig
May 25, 2015

This is great! Any chance that similar efforts will put the 1999 census indicators by province and district online too?