Vietnam to face aging population in 2010

Vietnam will face an aging population in 2010, five years earlier than previously projected, says Dr. Nguyen Quoc Anh, Director of the Population Information and Data Centre under the General Department of Population and Family Planning.

Dr Anh made the statement at a seminar in Hanoi on October 1 to discuss the challenges presented caused an aging Vietnamese population.

According to the latest census, the number of old people has increased rapidly in Vietnam, accounting for 9.9 percent of the country’s total population in 2008. In 1989, elderly people made up only 7.2 percent. The figure shot up to 8.2 percent in 1990.

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The seminar was told that the proportion of aging people worldwide increased from 9 percent in 1995 to 11 percent in 2006. The figure is predicted to reach 14 percent by 2020 and as much as 22 percent by 2050.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Ba Thuy said most countries with a high proportion of seniors are developed countries, but Vietnam also has a high number of senior citizens, even though it is a developing country. In Vietnam, about 73 percent of old people live in rural areas, and 21 percent of them are living below the poverty line because social welfare in Vietnam is not yet meeting the needs of all senior citizens.

Dr. Do Khanh Hy, deputy head of the National Hospital for the Elderly, said that old people in Vietnam tend to live in the three most-crowded areas – the Mekong Delta, the Red River Delta and the north-central region. The number of elderly people in rural areas is 3.5 times higher than in urban areas.

Dr. Hy also pointed out a number of challenges faced by the aging population, such as diseases and inadequate healthcare service.

Other participants proposed that the Government encourage the development of better social services for senior citizens.