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Saigon Couples Encouraged to Make More Babies

Even though Vietnam’s population has been steadily growing the last few decades, a declining birth rate has prompted HCMC officials to encourage couples to have more than one child.

Vietnam ranks 13th in the world with 90 million inhabitants and sports a national birth rate of 2.06 children per couple. However, over the last 10 years, the birth rate in Saigon has been quickly dropping - according to Thanh Nien, the city had the lowest national birth at 1.45 children per couple in 2009 and 1.33 in 2012.

To address this problem, Duong Quoc Trong, director of the Population – Family Planning Department under the Heath Ministry, told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday, “I officially recommend that each Ho Chi Minh City couple have two children.” Trong said that couples with more than one child are uncommon in Saigon as most only have one.

This is the first time that officials have promoted having more children as previous birth-related edicts focused on keeping the national birth rate in check. From 1960 – 1964, Vietnam’s fertility rate was 6.36.

As in many other countries, education plays a significant role in these statistics. For rural women with low levels of education, the birth rate is 2.14 – 3.

It’s unclear if the government will provide any financial incentives to couples who have more than one child.

[Thanh Nien]

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