Vietnam has over three million poor families, accounting for 14.2 percent of the population, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs reported at a conference held early this week.
"Nearly poor" population, meanwhile, constituted 7.5 percent, or more than 1.6 million families, the ministry told the conference Monday.
It said the figures were calculated on the poverty thresholds that the government approved early this year for the coming five years, from 2011 to 2015.
The lines were set at VND400,000 (US$19.51) per person per month for rural households, and VND500,000 ($24.39) for urban households. Previous poverty threshold was VND200,000 per month in rural areas and VND270,000 in urban areas.
According to the ministry, of all 63 provinces and cities, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau have the poverty rate less than five percent, while the northern province of Dien Bien gets the rate of over 50 percent.
Nguyen Trong Dam, deputy minister of labor, previously said that the government has approved a resolution on decreasing poverty from now till 2020 where the poor's per capita income will go up 3.5 times and the nation's poverty rate will decline two percent every year.
The resolution also aims to give the poor easier access to basic social services, namely health, education and water, while investing into infrastructure at disadvantaged localities.
Ngo Truong Thi, the official in charge of poverty reduction of the ministry, said on Tuoi Tre newspaper that in efforts of reducing poverty, the government will give priorities to ethnic minority people, the elderly, the disabled, women and children.