HCMC – Some 1.1 million local residents left the Mekong Delta for other parts of the country, chiefly HCMC and other southeastern provinces, between 2009 and 2019, according to a report jointly released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management.
The Mekong Delta Economic Report, which was launched in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on December 14, showed that the Mekong Delta region’s immigration rate was the lowest nationwide during the 2009-2019 period, while its emigration rate was the highest.
As many as 1.1 million people have left the region in the past decade, more than the population of a single province and equivalent to the increase in the natural population of the whole region. The Mekong Delta’s population remained unchanged from 2009 to 2019, while the country’s average population growth rate was over 1.1% during this period.
The region had a population of 17.2 million in 2009, which increased insignificantly to 17.3 million in 2019. If this migration trend continues, the figure would drop to below 17 million in 2030.
Dr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh, director of the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, said the reasons for the increasing migration from the Mekong Delta are the declining economy, the negative impacts that climate change and hydropower plants have left on production and the low quality of life.
The report showed that the Mekong Delta’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product has fallen from 27% in 1990 to 18% currently.
Besides, the region’s labor productivity remains low and its urbanization rate only rose slightly from 22.8% to 25.1% in a decade compared to the country’s rise to 34.4% from 29.6%.
Nguyen Phuong Lam, director of the Can Tho branch of VCCI, said although the Mekong Delta is located near HCMC, the country’s economic hub, the region has found it hard to attract foreign investment due to poor infrastructure. The region’s underdeveloped road system has led to poor connectivity between the Mekong Delta and HCMC and other southeastern provinces.
Lam suggested that the Government invest more in the Mekong Delta to help the region develop its infrastructure, thus attracting more foreign investment.