VietNamNet Bridge – The income gap between the country’s richest and poorest groups has increased from 8.9 times in 2008 to 9.2 times last year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported.
The agency’s latest Survey on Household Living Conditions shows that Vietnam’s income per capita in 2010 amounted to VND1.387 million (US$67.5) per month.
A personal average income of the richest bracket in 2010 is VND3.4 million ($165) while that of the poorest is just VND369,000 ($18).
In the previous survey made in 2008, the gap was 8.9 times, said GSO.
On average, every Vietnamese household spent 53 percent of their total income on food and beverage last year. There spending on education increased by 64 percent from 2008.
There was a great difference in spending between the richest and poorest.
The better-off people spent 3.8 times higher in healthcare than the lowest incomers, according to the statistics.
The spending gap in education was much higher, at 6 times, while the ratio in culture, sports and entertainment was even extremely high, at 131 times.
Of the survey’s respondents, 6.2 percent said their living conditions became more difficult last year than they were in 2008.
11.3 percent said their living conditions remained unchanged in 2010 from 2008 levels.
Meanwhile, the remaining respondents told their life was better in 2010 from two years before.
In 2010, Vietnam's Gini-coefficient – a measure of how wealth is distributed in a society – stood at 0.43, unchanged from 2008.
The index was 0.418 in 2002 and slightly increased to 0.42 in both 2004 and 2006.
A Gini-coefficient of 0 suggests total equality, while a value of 1 extreme inequality.
A Gini-coefficient of 0.4 is generally regarded as the international warning level for dangerous levels of inequality, the GSO said.