The number of U.S. dollar millionaires in Vietnam as bright spots in the economy in last year’s first half increased by 33% from the previous year’s same period, but the dark side is that the rich-poor gap remains wide, according to the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM).
In a report on income gap reduction, CIEM cited results of a survey conducted by the wealth management firm Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and the consulting firm Capgemini on U.S. dollar millionaires in Asia in the first half of last year.
According to official statistics of the Vietnam Stock Exchange, the number of U.S. dollar millionaire in Vietnam amounted to nearly 170 last year, with 100 richest people on the stock exchange holding assets worth over US$2 million each and two people meeting requirements of the US$100-million club.
“This is a good and encouraging signal after 20 years of renovation,” said CIEM in its report.
However, CIEM also cited a report of the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs issued last year, saying that the number of poor households nationwide was one million, up 50% under the new poverty standards and accounting for 20% of the population.
This contrary picture reflects the economic growth going in line with negative effects, in which the income gap has become wider. In other words, according to the World Bank, the disparity between the rich and the poor in Vietnam has changed from being relatively small in 2002 to increasingly wider between groups.
The income differential between cities and regions has also turned clearer. Specifically, the average income per capital was around US$1,850 in Hanoi, US$3,000 in HCMC and US$2,350 in Can Tho last year.
Besides, the figure in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province in 2010 reached US$5,800, five times higher than the country’s average income at that time. While HCMC and Hanoi only set the income per capital targets of some US$4,800 and US$3,300 respectively in 2015, the target set by Ba Ria-Vung Tau is US$11,500, and even US$15,000 if inclusive of crude oil.
On the contrary, the income of poor provinces is very low, with only around US$900 per capita per year in Nam Dinh Province, over US$700 in Bac Kan Province, over US$400 in Quang Ngai and less than US$300 in Ha Giang Province.