Oxfam Launches Report on Inequality in Viet Nam and Even it Up Campaign

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Oxfam Launches Report on Inequality in Viet Nam and Even it Up Campaign


Ha Noi, Viet Nam – “Increasing inequality is threatening decades of progress”. This is one of the findings from the research on inequality in Viet Nam, conducted by Oxfam as a part of the Even it Up campaign.

The Oxfam report reveals how great the economic gulf between the richest and the poorest has become in Vietnam. The richest man in Vietnam earns more in a day than the poorest Vietnamese earns in 10 years. In an hour, the richest Vietnamese can earn almost 5,000 times more than what the poorest 10 percent of Vietnamese spend every day on their basic needs. Vietnam's 210 super-rich earn more than enough in one year to lift 3.2 million people out of poverty and end extreme poverty in Vietnam.

Economic inequality is compounded by inequality of voice and opportunity. Limited access to public services, such as health and education, resulting from low income and discrimination, holds back poor households. Because of poverty, some households are unable to afford higher education for their children. In many cases, one or two children in a family, often girls, must ‘sacrifice their education’. The poor utilize health services less than the rich; higher-income groups are much more likely to use multiple types of inpatient and outpatient services. Lower-income households are more likely to use services at public health centres, particularly at the commune level, with lower quality care. Kinh public health services staff often show discriminative attitude toward ethnic minority users.

The research also reviews four pillars of an equitable policy framework: tax system, ‘socialization’ of public services, spending on health and education, and labour policies. The government’s existing policies in these four areas reflect both strengths and areas for improvement.   

Through multidimensional analysis of inequality, we believe that to tackle the dangerous gap between rich and poor, Viet Nam should urgently implement progressive policies on governance, taxation, public spending, public services, labour rights and civic engagement.

According to Babeth Ngoc Han Lefur, Country Director of Oxfam in Vietnam, poverty and inequality is not inevitable. The economic model which Vietnam has followed since Doi moi has been remarkably successful in delivering high levels of growth, while also enabling a large proportion of Vietnamese people to rise above the poverty line and enjoy better lives. However, the existing policy framework is not yet sufficient to address forms of inequality which are becoming more prevalent in Vietnamese society, such as inequality between regions, gender and ethnic groups, and disparities in voice and opportunities.

“In order to curtail and reduce poverty and reverse inequality, the government should take all forms of inequality into account – not only income inequality, but also opportunity and voice inequality – and implement policies which are proven to reduce inequality. Otherwise, the poorest and the most disadvantaged groups will not benefit from the economic growth”, said Oxfam Country Director.

With the release of the report, Oxfam launches the Even it Up campaign in Viet Nam (#thuhepkhoangcach) for the period from 2016 to 2019.

Notes to editors: 

Inequality is central to Oxfam’s mission to fight poverty. Vietnam is one of more than 40 countries where Oxfam is developing a national inequality campaign. The inequality campaign in Vietnam will run from 2016 to 2019. Oxfam promotes public debate on the need to combat extreme inequalities, raising public awareness and contributing to the formulation of policies that address this issue. In particular, the campaign focuses on the state budget and national tax system, looking at how fair and effective collection of revenue and spending of the state budget can help finance high-quality and equitable public services. The Even it Up campaign in Vietnam also addresses gender inequality and promotes women’s leadership, linking with other projects of Oxfam in Vietnam.


Oxfam is an international confederation of 18 organizations networked together over 90 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty. In Vietnam, Oxfam is recognized as one of the leading international rights-based non-government organisation, in the areas of good governance & civil society, women’s empowerment, building resilience & humanitarian response, sustainable and fair sharing of natural resources; and, active citizenship.

Contact information: 

For more information, please contact

Nguyễn Thị Phương Dung, Media and Event officer

04 3945 4448 (ext 408) – mobile: 0986508789

Email: dung.nguyenthiphuong@oxfamnovib.nl