This survey report presents initial findings from the third round of data collection by Young Lives in Vietnam, carried out from late 2009 to early 2010. It gives a broad outline of some of the key indicators of childhood poverty and changes that have taken place in the children’s lives between the first round and second rounds of data collection in 2002 and 2006 and this third round. Data are mainly presented for the entire age cohort, in most cases separated into gender, wealth groups, rural/urban location and ethnicity. In particular, we are able to make comparisons between the older children at age 8 in 2002 (in Round 1), and the younger cohort at age 8 in 2009 (Round 3) – to highlight changes that have happened in the study communities over that time.
There have been many changes in Vietnam since the first round of the Young Lives survey in 2002. Rapid growth and poverty reduction have continued, and Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization in January 2007 is widely seen as an important milestone in the process of Vietnam’s integration into the global economy. However, the Vietnam economy has also suffered due to the global economic slowdown following the banking crisis of 2007 and the global food price rises of 2007-08. These international shocks represented a real test to the process of poverty reduction which has been impressive since 1993, but has showed signs of slowing down. The most recent Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey shows that the proportion of people living before the official poverty line was 10.7 per cent in 2010, down from 16 per cent in 2006.