While Việt Nam’s population is still relatively young (just over 10% of the population is 60 years or older), it is rapidly greying. Indeed, according to World Bank estimates, it may now be the world’s fastest aging nation. By 2030, almost one-fifth of the population will be elderly. By 2050, that percentage could rise to 30% or approximately one-third of the population. The current life expectancy of 73 years will increase to 80 years in the future.
Although it takes decades or even centuries for developing countries to transition from a young to an elderly population (France 115 years, Australia 73 years, and China 26 years), Việt Nam only took 15 years. With an increase in the proportion of widows and elderly people living alone, Việt Nam’s aging population is characterized by far more older women than older men. The elderly face numerous challenges, as 68% of the population lives in rural areas and continues to work in low-wage agriculture-related jobs.
According to current statistics, more than 72% of Việt Nam’s elderly live with their children and grandchildren. The traditional Vietnamese family model, which included several generations living under one roof, has gradually given way to the nuclear family model. The family model of support in Việt Nam, as in other modernizing countries, is no longer what it once was.
Young people no longer want to live in multi-generational families, according to a “new concern.” They see elderly people as a burden. And the elderly see themselves as a burden as well.”
Limited State Support
The aged poor receive some government assistance. The central government offers a social security program that pays benefits to the elderly who do not have a contributory pension. Analysts point out, however, that it is highly restrictive, with just around one in every five people qualifying.
To be considered, you must be over the age of 80 (life expectancy for both genders falls short of this); or you must be officially classified as low if you are between the ages of 60 and 79. If you fall into the latter group, you will receive a US$14 monthly allowance. However, this is insufficient to make ends meet. When compared to the minimum living level, the value is insignificant.
However, according to UN Population Fund’s Dr. Nguyễn Ngọc Quỳnh, an aging population must also be taken into account in other ways. “An aging population isn’t only a burden; it can also be a fantastic opportunity for elderly service providers,” she said. She went on to say that elderly people are still seen as a valuable source of labor in society, with around 46% of elderly Vietnamese working for a living.