Vietnam is set to become one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world and turn into an aged society by 2040, leaving socio-economic consequences that require policy action and behavioral change, the World Bank
(WB) has said in a report released in Hanoi on March 28.
Based on United Nations projections, the absolute number of people of working age will start to fall soon after 2035. The number of Vietnamese older than 65 years will grow from around 6.3 million today to over 18 million by 2040, accounting for 18% of the population.
By 2040, the old-age dependency ratio – the number of people 65 years of age or older for every 100 people aged 15-64 – will have risen to almost 26 from under 10 today, while the working-age population will have begun to decline in absolute terms, according to the report.
Among the consequences, the decline in the working-age population will mean that a key driver of Vietnam’s rapid per capita growth will diminish, says the report.
In addition, serious fiscal challenges will be driven by the rising pressure on the pension and health system. Institutional arrangements for the provision of care to the frail old-age population will quickly become a major concern.
WB Country Director for Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa addresses the launch of the report in Hanoi on March 28. (Photo: Minh Tuan)
Giang Thanh Long, director of the Institute of Public Policy and Management under National Economics University, said that the aging issue in Vietnam should be viewed comprehensively, along the life cycle of the older people.
He was upbeat that Vietnam could make use of the “golden population” now and get well prepared for the aged population in the coming three to four decades.
Other Vietnamese speakers said that the aging issue should not be viewed on the negative side only.
Aging needs to be considered an achievement of socio-economic development, said an expert from the Labor Science Institute, urging the current family planning to be loosened.