This report presents initial findings from the second round of the Young Lives household and child survey which was carried out between late 2006 and early 2007. It provides a broad outline of some key child poverty indicators, as well as changes that have taken place since the first round of research in 2002. The data show that while Vietnam has enjoyed growth and poverty reduction in recent years – and some Young Lives households have become better off – inequalities remain between those in urban and rural areas and between the ethnic majority and minority groups.
Levels of poverty and contributing household factors are discussed, as well as access to services, nutrition, education and subjective well-being. Greater levels of disadvantage are found among ethnic minorities and rural inhabitants. For example, children from poorer and ethnic minority households are more likely to be suffer chronic malnutrition and are less likely to enrol in pre-school. While primary school enrolment rates are high, the quality of education is thought to be lower in the poorest areas, and fewer ethnic minority children still attend school by the age of 12. Similarly, the poorest and minority children have lower levels of access to electricity, safe drinking water and sanitation facilities than their better-off peers. However, in spite of lower material well-being, rural children report higher levels of subjective well-being than their urban counterparts. This suggests that focusing solely on material indicators of poverty may be inadequate.
The findings not only provide insights into the causes and outcomes of child poverty in Vietnam but have implications for policy development and areas for further research. They also highlight the value of longitudinal, multidisciplinary approaches in understanding and working to eradicate child poverty.