Country Name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Population (2012) 90,000,000
Urban-rural Population (1999): 17,918,200 (Urban), 58,409,700 (Rural)
Sex distribution (1999 ): 37,518,500 (Male), 38,809,400 (Female)
Age breakdown (1996 est.): under 15, 37.5%; 15-29, 28.8%; 30-44, 18.5%; 45-59, 7.9%; 60-74, 5.8%; 75 and over, 1.5%
Major cities (1996): Ho Chi Minh City 5,322,300; Hanoi (Capital) 3,154,900
People composition: Vietnamese (86%, est.), 53 other people groups (14%, est.)
Area: 329,560 sq km (slightly larger than New Mexico)
Border Countries: Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 Km, Laos 2,130 km
Vietnamese (official), over 80 other languages groups, English (increasingly favored as a second language)
(means 15 and over can read and write): 93.7%
Since the beginning of the market economy, Vietnam has enjoyed sharp economical growth. Living standard has gone up, especially in the cities, and the people have been expecting a greater growth if the normal trade relationship with US is signed. Christians argue whether the economical advance would be good or bad for the spread of Gospel. None the less, the economic development has helped us to reach more people than ever before.
The Vietnamese government has been trying hard to prevent social evils such as drug abuse and prostitution. The government has been rounding up the people who are caught and send to education camps, but they are unable to keep up with the spreading of the criminal activities. Immediate family has become the basic unit, for increase in child education and living expanses have forced to think of their family first. Vietnamese has been always high on education and with the economical development parents are investing their fortune on their children. Many students can now afford to study abroad, and even many of the primary level students are getting extra English lessons. It seems that the educational drive will continue for sometime, for the higher education has become a way to success. Young people are very receptive to the new things coming at them. This means there is great opportunity for the evangelization among the young people, but it also means that they are willing to follow anything that can fill their void.
Election of young and progressive Secretary General of Comm. Party has people anticipating changes. Nong Duc Manh is newly elected SGCP since last April and economy has pickup sharply since the election. Local people as well as foreigners are hoping for more flexible system of government for them to operate more efficiently and freely. However, the government leaders are still cautious about the changes because they do not want to lose stability while moving ahead. The Vietnamese government is concerned that only few are joining the Communist Party now, and they want to gain credibility again. All the religious cases are considered as “criminals”, because it is the only way to stop so called “illegal” religious activity by enforcing with constitution.Since there is “religious freedom” in Vietnam, the government will have hard time persecuting religion.
Vietnam has embraced the Western world again. Vietnamese Government is now feeling the pressure to open up its country even more, and the conservative and progressive members are battling for the upper hand. Vietnam wants to gain the respect and interest it has enjoyed as one of the most strategically important country in South East Asia. Will it be able to attract the interest once again? Will it be able to establish itself as one of the key nation in SEAsia? Will Vietnam ever will be a key Christian nation reaching out to others? God is doing the new things in Vietnam (Is 43:18), and we want to be a part of God’s amazing work that He initiated in Vietnam.
Religion and Beliefs
Buddhist (1998): 52%
Roman Catholic (1998): 9%
Cao Dai (1998): 18%
Protestant (1998): 0.8%
Non-religion and others(1998): 20.8%
Complete Bible: 1926 (First Translation), 4 other translations
Jesus Film: Southern & Northern Dialects
Christian Radio Broadcast: FEBC
Audio Recording of Gospel: Yes
The open policy at the end of 1980’s has created new opportunity for evangelization of the people groups in Vietnam. Especially during the period of 1992-1997, we see remarkable growth of open churches and planting of house churches. Christian relief and development works also played vital role during the period, especially by narrowing the gap between the Vietnamese government and the Christian community. However, the continuous church movement among some of the minority peoples has alarmed the Vietnamese Government, and the persecutions of the believers are on the increase