Concerns about the rising cost of living and a growing desire to pursue happiness outside the home were cited among the factors that have discouraged women in Ho Chi Minh City from giving birth, according to official statistics.
The average birth rate among women of reproductive age in the city is 1.48, which is among the lowest in the country, officials said at an annual meeting last week to review family planning strategies.
Dr. Tran Van Tri, deputy director of the HCMC Population and Family Planning Agency, attributed the low birth rate to various causes, including the high cost of living and raising a child in the city, which is among the most expensive place in the country.
Vietnam's per capita income was US$1,890 last year while that of HCMC was $5,131.
Urban couples are starting families later, Tri said before adding that improvements in the quality of healthcare has encouraged many to abandon the traditional practice of having extra children as a hedge against infant mortality.
Tri said the biggest and most recent development in the city's falling birth rates is a shift in thinking about the valuation of motherhood.
Many women are now reluctant to have children because they want to travel, preserve their health and beauty and pursue advanced degrees, Tri said.
Some are afraid that having children will reduce their chance of receiving a promotion at work.
“Many couples in HCMC now only have one kid. That is very concerning since it will strongly affect the population structure. I encourage couples to have two kids,” he said.
Officials at the meeting said the rate of young people and working people in Vietnam is declining while the retirement age population is increasing.
Vietnam’s population exceeded the 90 million mark in April of this year. Seven percent of the country is 65 and above, according to the General Statistics Office.