Vietnam rising working-age population to lift economic growth

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Vietnam's economic growth and industrialization may get a boost as the Southeast Asian country adds more people to the labor force, the census report said.

People aged between 15 and 64 made up 69 percent of the population in 2009, compared with 61 percent a decade before that, according to the report released Wednesday in Hanoi. The government expects the economy to grow 6.5 percent this year.

"Vietnam is now in demographic window structure, a unique opportunity for each nation to have abundant labor force," said Tran Thi Van, assistant representative at the United Nations Population Fund Vietnam. "It can create big challenges in employment and social welfare if the young labor force is not properly educated, trained and accessed to job opportunities."

The demographic dividend may last until 2040, UNFPA said in a statement. The rising number of people in the labor age is also increasing the urban population, which grew at an annual rate of 3.4 percent in the decade to 2009, Van said.

"Migration from rural areas to urban areas will continue to increase," Van said. "It puts pressure on urban infrastructure, including water, transportation, health care, education."

Vietnam's population under 15 years of age decreased to 24.5 percent in 2009 from 33 percent in 1999, partly because of lower fertility rate, the report said. People aged 65 or older accounted for 6.4 of the total population, compared with 5.6 percent in 1999, it said.

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