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Saigon's Official Population Hits 13m: Mayor

If Saigon seems especially crowded these days, there's a good reason why, as the city's population has officially reached 13 million people.

The figure was announced by city mayor Nguyen Thanh Phong on Wednesday, VnExpress reports. This far outpaces the official forecast of a population of 10 million by 2025, an estimate that only took registered residents into account. That number currently stands at more than eight million.

Roughly 130,000 migrants are moving to the city every year in search of better job opportunities and financial prospects, according to the news outlet.

This official statistic places Saigon among the world's densest cities with 6,200 people per square kilometer, slightly more than Tokyo's figure of 6,158 people per square kilometer. According to the United Nations, the most densely populated city in the world is Dhaka in Bangladesh, with 44,500 people per square kilometer. 

Phong said at the announcement: "The rising population is exerting huge pressure on infrastructure development."

This overcrowding is most noticeable on Saigon's roads, which are home to 7.6 million motorbikes and 700,000 cars, with 1,000 new vehicles rolling onto the streets daily, according to the news source.

In another article, VnExpress puts this into stark perspective. The national average for road density in Vietnam is 10 kilometers of road for every square kilometer of urban area, while Saigon's road density is just 1.98 kilometers of road per square kilometer.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, the city's Communist Party chief, said Friday: "With the current speed of construction, it will take another 167 years for Ho Chi Minh City to reach national standards."

According to the news source, Nhan went to on to say: "We must speed up road construction by sevenfold in the next 25 years."

However, no plan on how to accomplish that has been put forth, meaning Saigoneers will be stuck in worsening traffic for the foreseeable future.

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