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Vietnam has had a booming and growing economy since 1986 when the government, the Communist Party of Vietnam, implemented market reforms and shifted to a socialist market economy system, called the Đổi Mới reforms. These changes spurred economic growth and transformed Vietnam from a historically under-resourced, war-torn nation into a lower middle-income country. The World Bank shows that between 2002 and 2018, poverty rates declined from more than 70 percent to less than 6 percent, where 45 million Vietnamese people were lifted out of poverty. The Economist reports that this was the second fastest economic growth rate worldwide at that time.
However, this economic rise is not guaranteed to continue, and there is a need for the country to upskill its labor force. The Asian Development Bank estimates that approximately 1 million agricultural workers transition into industry and service jobs every year in Vietnam.
Alongside this economic change, Vietnam is experiencing demographic and social change. Today, World Bank data shows that 70 percent of the population in under 35 years old. Yet disparities remain between economic equity and access. Vietnamese women receive a 25 percent lower income than men on average, according to World Bank. Additionally, the 53 ethnic minorities that make up 14 percent of the population are often discriminated against and not offered the same job opportunities as the majority.