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Vietnam has been a development success story. Economic reforms since the launch of Đổi Mới in 1986, coupled with beneficial global trends, have helped propel Vietnam from being one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle-income economy in one generation. Between 2002 and 2021, GDP per capita increased 3.6 times, reaching almost US$3,700. Poverty rates (US$3.65/day, 2017 PPP) declined from 14 in 2010 to 3.8 percent in 2020.

Thanks to its solid foundations, the economy has proven resilient through different crises. GDP growth is projected to ease to 6.3 percent in 2023, down from 8% in 2022, due to the moderation of domestic demand and exports. Vietnam's economic growth is expected to rebound to 6.5 percent in 2024 as domestic inflation could subside from 2024 onward. This will be further supported by the accelerating recovery of its main export markets (U.S., Eurozone, and China).

Growing at 2.5 to 3.5 percent per year over the past three decades, the agriculture sector has supported economic growth and ensured food security.  It contributed 14 percent of GDP and 38 percent of employment in 2020 while earning more than US$48 billion in export revenues in 2021 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health outcomes have improved along with rising living standards. Infant mortality rates fell from 32.6 per 1,000 live births in 1993 to 16.7 in 2020. Life expectancy rose from 70.5 to 75.5 years between 1990 and 2020. Vietnam’s universal health coverage index is at 73—higher than regional and global averages—with 87 percent of the population covered by the national health insurance scheme.

Vietnam’s average duration of (learning-adjusted) schooling is 10.2 years, second only to Singapore among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries. Its human capital index is 0.69 out of a maximum of one, the highest among lower middle-income economies.

Access to infrastructure services has increased dramatically. As of 2019, 99.4 percent of the population used electricity as their main source of lighting, up from just 14 percent in 1993. Access to clean water in rural areas has also improved—up from 17 percent in 1993 to 51 percent in 2020.

Vietnam has grown bolder in its development aspirations, aiming to become a high-income country by 2045. To achieve this goal, the economy would have to grow at an annual average rate of 5.9% per capita for the next 25 years. Vietnam also aims to grow in a greener, more inclusive way, and has committed to reducing methane emissions by 30 percent and halting deforestation by 2030 while achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A few megatrends are shaping the future of Vietnam. The country’s population is rapidly aging and global trade is declining. Environmental degradation, climate change, and the rise of automation are growing. The COVID-19 crisis presented unprecedented challenges that might undermine progress towards development goals.

To rise to these challenges, Vietnam needs to dramatically improve its performance to implement policies particularly in finance, environment, digital transformation, poverty/social protection, and infrastructure, according to the World Bank’s latest Systematic Country Diagnostic Update.

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2023


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Vietnam: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
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Hanoi, Vietnam
63 Ly Thai To Street
+84 243-934-6600
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1818 H Street NW
+1 202-473-4709