Vietnam’s population, severely depressed by 50 years of war that finally ended in the early 1980s, is now growing so fast the government has passed a law imposing fines on families having more than two children.
The law, however, is not rigidly enforced, according to the Vietnam News Service.
“Many agencies … and communities loosened administrative fines and flinched from punishing people who gave birth to a third child,” the News Service reported in August.
An estimated 85 million people live in Vietnam, a narrow and elongated coastal country with the land area equivalent to the state of New Mexico, or 121,500 square miles. New Mexico, by comparison, has only 2 million people.
During much of the Vietnam War, the population hovered around the 60 million mark. Two-thirds of today’s population were born after the war ended in 1975.
In addition to its two-child policy, the government has invested heavily in family planning programs and the distribution of contraceptives. They are key elements of the country’s population strategy that has set a national growth rate of 1.14 percent over the next two years.
Because Vietnam has far more females than males, it also has one of the highest abortion rates among the world’s developing countries as boy babies are prized over girl babies.
Population control, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told the Vietnam News Service, is necessary to raise the standard of living and correct gender imbalance in the land of the dragon.
– William B. Ketter, CNHI