The World Factbook (1990)/Vietnam

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World Factbook (1990) Vietnam.jpg

See regional map IX


Total area: 329,560 km²; land area: 325,360 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries: 3,818 km total; Cambodia 982 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 1,555 km

Coastline: 3,444 km (excluding islands)

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: offshore islands and three sections of the boundary with Cambodia are in dispute; occupied Cambodia on 25 December 1978; sporadic border clashes with China; involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Philippines, and Taiwan; maritime boundary dispute with China in the Gulf of Tonkin; Paracel Islands occupied by China but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan

Climate: tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)

Terrain: low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest

Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil deposits, forests

Land use: 22% arable land; 2% permanent crops; 1% meadows and pastures; 40% forest and woodland; 35% other; includes 5% irrigated

Environment: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding


Population: 66,170,889 (July 1990), growth rate 2.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 30 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 1 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 50 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 62 years male, 66 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.8 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Vietnamese (sing. and pl.); adjective—Vietnamese

Ethnic divisions: 85-90% predominantly Vietnamese; 3% Chinese; ethnic minorities include Muong, Thai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham; other mountain tribes

Religion: Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, Roman Catholic, indigenous beliefs, Islamic, Protestant

Language: Vietnamese (official), French, Chinese, English, Khmer, tribal languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Literacy: 78%

Labor force: 35,000,000 (1989 est.)

Organized labor: reportedly over 90% of wage and salary earners are members of the Vietnam Federation of Trade Unions (VFTU)


Long-form name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam; abbreviated SRV

Type: Communist state

Capital: Hanoi

Administrative divisions: 37 provinces (tinh, singular and plural), 3 municipalities* (thānh phô, singular and plural); An Giang, Bac Thai, Ben Tre, Binh Tri Thien, Cao Bang, Cuu Long, Dae Lac, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai-Cong Tum, Ha Bac, Hai Hung, Hai Phong*, Ha Nam Ninh, Ha Noi*, Ha Son Binh, Ha Tuyen, Hau Giang, Hoang Lien Son, Ho Chi Minh*, Kien Giang, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Long An, Minh Hai, Nghe Tinh, Nghia Binh, Phu Khanh, Quang Nam-Da Nang, Quang Ninh, Song Be, Son La, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Thuan Hai, Tien Giang, Vinh Pu, Vung Tau-Con Dao; note—diacritical marks are not included; the number of provinces may have been changed with the elimination of Binh Tri Thien, Nghia Binh, and Phu Khanh and the addition of Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Ngai, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien

Independence: 2 September 1945 (from France)

Constitution: 18 December 1980

Legal system: based on Communist legal theory and French civil law system

National holiday: Independence Day, 2 September (1945)

Executive branch: chairman of the Council of State, Council of State, chairman of the Council of Ministers, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Quoc Hoi)

Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Chairman of the Council of State Vo Chi CONG (since 18 June 1987);

Head of Government—Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Premier) Do MUOI (since 22 June 1988)

Political parties and leaders: only party—Vietnam Communist Party (VCP), Nguyen Van Linh

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: National Assembly—last held 19 April 1987 (next to be held April 1992); results—VCP is the only party; seats—(496 total) VCP or VCP-approved 496

Communists: nearly 2 million


Diplomatic representation: none

Flag: red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center


Overview: This is a centrally planned, developing economy with extensive government ownership and control of productive facilities. The economy is primarily agricultural, employing about 65% of the labor force and accounting for almost half of GNP. Rice is the staple crop; substantial amounts of maize, sorghum, cassava, and sweet potatoes are also grown. The government permits sale of surplus grain on the open market. Most of the mineral resources are located in the north, including coal, which is an important export item. Following the end of the war in 1975, heavy handed government measures undermined efforts at an efficient merger of the agricultural resources of the south and the industrial resources of the north. The economy remains heavily dependent on foreign aid and has received assistance from Communist countries, Sweden, and UN agencies. Inflation, although down from recent triple-digit levels, is still a major weakness, and per capita output is among the world's lowest. Since early 1989 the government has sponsored a broad reform program that seeks to turn more economic activity over to the private sector.

GNP: $14.2 billion, per capita $215; real growth rate 8% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 40% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: 25% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $3.2 billion; expenditures $4.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $528 million (1987 est.)

Exports: $1.1 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—agricultural and handicraft products, coal, minerals, ores; partners—USSR, Eastern Europe, Japan, Singapore

Imports: $2.5 billion (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—petroleum, steel products, railroad equipment, chemicals, medicines, raw cotton, fertilizer, grain; partners—USSR, Eastern Europe, Japan, Singapore

External debt: $16 billion (1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 10% (1989)

Electricity: 2,465,000 kW capacity; 6,730 million kWh produced, 100 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: food processing, textiles, machine building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, fishing

Agriculture: accounts for half of GNP; paddy rice, corn, potatoes make up 50% of farm output; commercial crops (rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas) and animal products other 50%; not self-sufficient in food staple rice; fish catch of 900,000 metric tons (1988 est.)

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-74), $3.1 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $2.7 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $61 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $10.9 million

Currency: new dong (plural—new dong); 1 new dong (D) = 100 xu

Exchange rates: new dong (D) per US$1—4,000 (March 1990), 900 (1988), 225 (1987), 18 (1986), 12 (1985); note—1985-89 figures are end of year

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 3,059 km total; 2,454 1.000-meter gauge, 151 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 230 km dual gauge (three rails), and 224 km not restored to service

Highways: about 85,000 km total; 9,400 km bituminous, 48,700 km gravel or improved earth, 26,900 km unimproved earth

Pipelines: 150 km, refined products

Inland waterways: about 17,702 km navigable; more than 5,149 km navigable at all times by vessels up to 1.8 meter draft

Ports: Da Nang, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City

Merchant marine: 71 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 290,123 GRT/432,152 DWT; includes 1 short-sea passenger, 55 cargo, 4 refrigerated cargo, 1 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 vehicle carrier, 8 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 bulk; note—Vietnam owns 10 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 111,028 DWT under the registry of Panama and Malta

Civil air: controlled by military

Airports: 100 total, 100 usable; 50 with permanent-surface runways; 10 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 20 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: 35,000 telephones in Ho Chi Minh City (1984); stations—16 AM, 1 FM, 2 TV; 2,300,000 TV sets; 6,000,000 radio receivers; at least 2 satellite earth stations, including 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 15,707,629; 10,030,563 fit for military service; 787,444 reach military age (17) annually

Defense expenditures: 19.4% of GNP (1986 est.)