Since the mid-1980s, Vietnam has recovered from war and emerged to become a market-oriented economy. In that time, the country has been through financial crisis as well as rapid growth. Living conditions have steadily improved and the number of people living in poverty has fallen substantially.

  • Significant improvements in health care have led to the eradication of Polio and a fall in the number of infant and maternal deaths.
  • 95 per cent of the population now have access to safe drinking water.
  • 93 per cent of adults are literate.

Dao28 per cent of Vietnam’s 88 million inhabitants are below the age of 18. Most attend primary and secondary school; most have access to adequate health care and can expect to live longer than their parents. But not everyone is benefitting equally from Vietnam’s prosperity. There are widening gaps between rich and poor, urban and rural areas and ethnic groups.

  • 94 per cent of rural households have adequate sanitation facilities compared to 68 per cent in rural areas.
  • While only 13 per cent of the Kinh majority is thought to experience poverty, almost 70 per cent of the ethnic minority population is considered poor.


Research focus

According to figures from UNICEF, one third of Vietnamese children below the age of 5 are stunted as a result of chronic malnutrition. More than one out of every three children is not fully immunised by the same age. Young Lives is using evidence from our surveys to show how these inequalities are affecting children and their families. Our research priorities are:

From school to work: According to the International Labor Organization, young people in Vietnam are three times more likely than adults to be unemployed. Young Lives is studying the different paths young people take once they’ve left school. What skills do they lack? How does poverty in early childhood influence their choices and the jobs they do?

Quality of education: Despite almost all children attending primary and secondary schools, questions remain about the standard of education they receive. Young Lives researchers want to know how children can benefit from the education opportunities created by the country’s economic growth. They are also asking how the quality of education can be improved so that children learn the skills needed in a modern, industrialised economy.

Vietnam study sitesOur sample sites

Young Lives research is based in 20 communities in the communes of Lao Cai in the north-west, Hung Yen province in the Red River Delta, the city of Danang on the coast, Phu Yen province from the South Central Coast and Ben Tre province on the Mekong River Delta. Together, these five areas cover different geographical regions, levels of development, urban/rural locations and population characteristics.



Our partners

In Vietnam Young Lives works with the Centre for Analysis and Forecast, Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences (CAF-VASS) and the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO)

Key team members (see complete list on staff page)

Nguyen Thang, Country Co-Director

Nguyen Thi Thanh Ha, Country Co-Director

Le Thuc Duc, Principal Investigator

Vu Thi Thanh Huong, Lead Qualitative Researcher

Nguyen Thi Thu Hang, Policy Coordinator

Contact the team

To contact the team in Vietnam, email Nguyen Thu Huong, Policy and Communications Officer (

More information

Visit the Young Lives Vietnam website for more information and resources in Vietnamese.


CP_H'Mai_VIE25-girl with cards and girl with baby

Visit our Young Lives Vietnam website to find out more about our work (in Vietnamese).


In Vietnam Young Lives works with:

Centre for Analysis and Forecast, Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences (CAF-VASS)

General Statistics Office of Viet Nam (GSO)

To contact the team in Vietnam, email Nguyen Thu Huong, Policy and Communications Officer (

We need to end child poverty in order to break the cycle of poverty.