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VN faces prospect of an ageing population

Update: May, 29/2015 - 09:03
With a rapid fertility decline and steadily increasing life expectancy, Viet Nam's population has been ageing very rapidly. — File Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam should take advantage of its current "golden population" consisting of a high percentage of young people, as the country will enter an ageing phase soon, speakers said at a workshop held in HCM City on Wednesday.

Dr. Nguyen Dinh Cu, a lecturer at the Institute of Population and Social Studies, said Viet Nam had entered a period of "demographic bonus", with nearly 70 per cent of the population aged 15 to 64, the highest proportion in the country's history.

Last year, the population was 90.5 million, with half under 34 years old. Such a demographic gives Viet Nam an advantage to advance in science and technology, Cu said.

Investing in quality social services, including sexual and reproductive health, education, vocational training and job creation could reap benefits for sustainable development in Viet Nam, he said.

Data from a survey conducted late last year by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) showed that fertility had declined and in 2013 reached below replacement level. This was a result of several decades of implementation of the country's National Programme on Population and Family Planning.

Cu said that more effort was needed to address the unmet needs of the Vietnamese people by ensuring universal access to comprehensive and high-quality sexual and reproductive health information and services, particularly in remote areas, and among ethnic minorities and population groups with lower education status.

With a rapid fertility decline and steadily increasing life expectancy, Viet Nam's population has been ageing very rapidly.

The country would enter the so-called "aging phase" soon, Cu said.

Arthur Erken, of UNFPA, said Viet Nam was undergoing a unique demographic dynamic.

While there is a significant young population, aging is on the rise. There is also an imbalanced sex ratio at birth.

He said the situation presented opportunities and challenges to promote a better quality of life for all.

"The population law should link population to overall development strategies, rather than narrowly focusing on fertility," he added.

According to figures from UNFPA, Vietnamese women are having fewer children, a drop of 2.3 children per woman in 1999 to 2.1 children in 2013.

Life expectancy increased from 71.5 years from 1990 to 75 years in 2010, according to UNFPA.

The workshop, organised by UNFPA and the Central Committee on Propaganda and Education, discussed key emerging population issues. — VNS

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