Just as population is crucial to each country,  so is population
policy.  It means the future of the nation.  A country with a high
population and limited area has to consider seriously the ramification of
their population policies.  Vietnam has faced this situation for decades.
Vietnam has adopted two policies:  1)  family planning programs,  2)
population redistribution to the New Economic Zones (NEZs).  With these
strategies,  the government has set goals to decrease the population
growth rate and distribute the population out of urban areas.  After three
decades,  these policies are still in use.
	My purpose of this study is to find out how population policy has
impacted:  1)  population growth and distribution and  2)  socio-economic
development.  I will address the effectiveness of population policy and
how these policies can be improved.  I will begin this paper with an
introduction to Vietnam's   geographic,  natural resources,  economic and
demographic characteristics to explain  Vietnamese policy makers
instituted programs of population control.  Then I will evaluate Vietnam's
population policy,  including the results of each specific population
plan.  Apart from the national goal of population control,  the goal of
socio-economic development will also be elaborated.  Four categories of
socio-economic development will be discussed:  1)  labor force and
employment,  2)  agricultural production,  3) urbanization, and 4)
forestry.   I will demonstrate how these policies of socio-economic
development are   relevant to population control in Vietnam.  I will use
Thailand as a country of comparison in this paper.  Thailand has been
successful in population control through family planning and land
settlements.  It has also enjoyed economic growth in the last two decades.
With slight difference in development level,  Thailand's experience will
be helpful in studying Vietnam.  Eventually,  policy suggestions will be
added for Vietnam's future socio-economic development.

Vietnam's background
Geography and natural resources
	Geographically,  Vietnam is located on the eastern edge of the
Indochinese Peninsula.  The total area is approximately 331,700 sq. km.
Its "S" shape stretches 3,000 km. from the northern border with China
south to the South China Sea.  The coastal terrain on the east side causes
Vietnam to have monsoon rains every year and some years Vietnam suffers
from flooding and typhoons.  In regard to its terrain,  the north and the
south are level plains.  Two major rivers--Red River in the north and
Mekhong River in the south--have created alluvial deltaic plains.  Hills
and mountainous areas,  which cover almost 75%  of the country are located
in a narrow strip in the central part and in the north. 
	Vietnam is blessed with many natural resources:  petroleum,  coal,
iron,  tin,  bauxite,  copper,  and forests.  The land in the Red River
Delta and the Mekhong River Delta are the most fertile in the country and
suitable for farming.  The south central coast are also large deltaic
alluvial plains but arable land has eroded.  Hills and mountainous areas
which include the Northern midland and North Central coast have poor in
nutrient soils.  The Central highlands has reddish brown soil as forest
were destroyed.  The large part of this area is unsuitable for cultivated. 
	Generally,  Vietnam's economy is not in good condition.  Compared
to China and Thailand,  Vietnam's average of GDP per capita in terms of
purchasing power parity in 1991 was US$ 1,100 whereas China has US$ 1,190
and Thailand has US$ 3,986 (Thrift,  1986).  Vietnam's per capita income
in 1987 was only US$ 198 (Thrift,  1986).   Although the government has
adopted tight financial measures,  inflation rate was 60% in 1991.
	Vietnam's economy is dominated by agriculture (fig. 1).  Although
the percentage of GDP distribution of the agriculture sector is declining,
agricultural labor force is the largest part of total labor force and
Vietnam's leading major export products are rice and agricultural
products.  Rice is the major crop of Vietnam.  During World War II and the
Vietnam War,  Vietnam was unable to compete with other countries but in
1996 Vietnam improved its rice production capacity to be the fourth
largest rice exporter of the world.  Services sector used to be ignored by
the government.  After the Fifth Five Year Plan was employed during
1991-1995,  services sector has increased its proportion in GDP
distribution and surpassed agricultural and industrial sectors apparently
in 1993.  Industrial sector has been promoted by the government since
1976.  Industrial sector's growth rate did not increase dramatically
because lack of infrastructure.  The government has promoted heavy
industry but it could not provide sufficient facilities and infrastructure
for it.  Vietnam's industry also suffered from was devastation.  However,
It is likely that  percentage of industrial sector in GDP distribution
will rise up as well as services sector whereas agricultural sector will
go down.  

Figure 1.  GDP distribution in three sectors from
1990-1993 (%).

Vietnam's economy has been influenced by 3 major factors: wars, natural disasters, and foreign aid. Wars has interrupted Vietnam's agricultural and industrial production. During the Vietnam War, Vietnam's factories were severely damaged. Approximately 1.8 million has. of forest were destroyed. Natural disasters have been a major threat to the country, especially to agriculture, owing to the country's geographic location. During 1978-1979, agricultural farmland was damaged as a result of natural disaster causing sharp decrease in agricultural production. The last and very important factor is foreign aid. After the independence of the country in 1954, North Vietnam was supported by China, Soviet Union, the Eastern Europe . South Vietnam was supported by the US and capitalist countries. Most of foreign aid was used in national defense rather than economic development. After 1975, Vietnam was chiefly funded by Soviet Union, the Eastern Europe. When Vietnam invaded into Cambodia in 1978, the country's economy was affected by the cessation of foreign aids from China, Japan, and some countries in Europe. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vietnam lost US$ 1 billion from the Soviet Union and other East European countries. At present, structure of foreign aid to Vietnam changed. Vietnam receives foreign aid from Japan, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank(ADB) and UN organizations. Population Situation Vietnam has a large population: an important factor in national development. At present, Vietnam's population is approximately 74,545,000; the second largest in the Southeast Asia. Vietnamese people in average have a primary level of education. The literacy rates of adult females and males was 87% and 95% in 1990 respectively (WRD, 1995-95). The population is not equally distributed throughout the country (See Map 1). Although the average population density was 225 people per in 1995 (WRD, 1995-96), most of population resides in the deltaic plains. The population density in the Red River Delta was 468 people per and in the Mekhong River Delta was 353 people per (Jones, 1984). In some parts of the country, including mountainous ares in the north, the west, and the southwest of the country, population density was only 20-50 people per; due to lack of good farmland and arable land. Moreover, the government has provided water control systems--irrigation and drainage--in the deltaic areas, especially near Hanoi. Likewise, the south of Vietnam was improved by American assistance before the reunification of the country in 1975. Hence, there is high motivation for people to move to the big cities such as, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and Da Nang. The high growth rate of population together with high population density have brought Vietnam problems. Food shortages has been a chronic problem in North Vietnam. North Vietnam has suffered from this dilemma since the colonial period. The French rulers had to bring rice from the south in order to feed the Northerners. The first time that the Vietnamese government became aware of food shortage was after World War II. An estimated 2 million people died of starvation. After the reunification of the country, many Northerners believed that the reunification would help alleviate food shortages in the north because of larger area in the South and higher rice production. On the contrary, the southern part was not ready to a food producer for the whole nation owing to was destruction. The government also had burden to provide job opportunities for 300,000 people in the south who used to work with military service. At the end of the Vietnam War, there were 21 million in the labor force and 8 million were unemployed. In 1988, Vietnam still had to import over 450,000 of rice(Thrift, 1986). Not until 1989 that Vietnam was able to produce over 21 million tons of food for domestic consumption, reserves and exports. Map. Population Density.

Population Policy In regard to the socialist ruling system, Vietnamese socialist government used centralized control, the government therefore is the most important mechanism for national development. In response to these problems, the Communist Committee decided to control the population and improve economic development. The Vietnamese government has adopted two population policies to deal with population problems: family planning programs and population redistribution to NEZ. Family Planning Family planning in Vietnam can be divided into two periods: the first period was before the reunification of the country in 1975, and the second family planning period was after the reunification. Prior to the reunification of the country in 1975, family planning programs had been conducted separately in the north and the south. In the early 1960s, North Vietnamese leaders were concerned about a rapid growth of population as an impediment to an economic development. In 1962 North Vietnam started a family planning program with the target to reduce population growth from 3.5% to 2.5% and 2% in a few years. Two -to- three children per family with 5 to 6 year-spacing was the encouraged family planning program standard. The Committee for the Protection of Mothers and Children was established to promote birth control. This policy was adopted widely in cities and the deltaic plain. The population in mountainous areas was not targeted rather the Vietnamese government encouraged population growth. The widespread contraceptive device was the intrauterine device (IUD). However, during 1965-1975 the government paid more attention to shifting economic and military sources to support the Vietnam War, and the family planning program was inadequately promoted. In regard to South Vietnam, there was a scarcity of available data concerning family planning. In 1971 South Vietnam prepared an annual report on birth control and proposed the program to the United Nations Secretary- General in 1973. The National Council on Population was established in 1973. There was no official policy on population and family planning in South Vietnam. However, the government has targeted to reduce population growth rate from 3% in 1973 to 2% in 1980. A new governmental decree called for a limitation of family allowances. These family allowances used to be allotted to each family for each new-born child, later the South Vietnamese government would only provide each family with allowances for only their first four children. This was applied to military families and civil servants' families. Giving this new decree, it is surprising that a law restricting birth control and banning a dissemination of contraceptives enacted by the French ruler in 1920 was still in use. Nevertheless, records show contraceptives were used in South Vietnam and promoted by the private voluntary agencies. In 1974, South Vietnam also attempted to seek the United States and the United Nations' assistance for a family planning program before it was annexed to North Vietnam in 1975. The second period of family planning in Vietnam was after 1975. In the mid-1980s, the government encouraged people to limit the total number of children per family. To enhance this program, the government regulated financial and work penalties for couples who had more than two children (Banister, 1993). In 1990, the 2-child policy was changed from mandatory to voluntary. Overall, the family planning was operated on voluntary basis. The government attempted to persuade and educate couples about the benefits of family planning. According to demographic indexes, a health survey in 1988 and national census in 1989, it showed the government's failure to achieve their target goals in the family planning program. From 1979-1989, the average annual population growth was 2.1%. In 1995, population growth rate increased to 2.23%. Overall, family planning programs in Vietnam have not been very successful. The fertility rate has decreased from 1970 to 1995 but did not achieve 2 children per woman as the government set a target (fig. 2). The mean rate of population growth has increased since the beginning of family planning programs in 1962 and it likely to rise up in the future. If population growth rate increases 2% a year as shown, there will be at least 14 million people more in Vietnam in 2005. Figure 2. Mean rate of population growth and fertility rate from 1955-1996.

There are four primary reasons why Vietnam did not achieve its goals for population control. The first reason is that the government lacked adequate funds to fully support a family planning program, caused by a fluctuating economy since the World War II and the Indochinese wars. Intrauterine device was the only modern method that the government could afford. The funds for family planning before 1988 were supported chiefly by foreign assistance. The UNFPA provided 28 million dollars from 1977 to 1987 and the Vietnamese government started providing its own funding in 1988. The second reason is Vietnam had contradictory policies. At first, the government provided the enforcement of limitation of the child per family in 1988 but in 1989 the Vietnamese National Assembly issued the decree allowing the policy to be voluntary. Hence, both the citizens and Vietnamese bureaucracy were confused regarding these policies. The third reason is that Vietnam overestimated their target for population growth rate reduction, 3% to 1.7% within short period and incorrectly hypothesized that the Vietnam economy would improve enough to independently support these family planning policies. The last cause is a paucity of data. The first national census was held in 1979 and the second in 1989. Before 1979 census, all data, particularly demographic data, was unofficial and estimated. The data for South Vietnam before the reunfication is even more sparse. The insufficient data caused an uncertain projection and estimation of setting target of population growth. Moreover, in terms of birth control device use, the percentage of women using IUDs was above 50% but the population growth rate was still high. This is assumed that the birth control provided by the government did not meet demand of the users, and women interviewed by government officials regarding their birth control, gave affirmative answers in order to regardless of their personal practices (Banister, 1993).. Population Redistribution The Population Redistribution Policies can be divided into three phases. The first one was in 1961. The second phase was conducted in 1975 in the whole region of Vietnam. And the third phase was started in 1981 as a long term plan. The target is to mobilize the population to NEZs (See map 1). The government tried to promote industry all over the country but the NEZs were used mostly for agriculture. The purpose of these policies was to re-distribute the population to the slightly populous uplands, and create more urban areas apart from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong. With this strategy, the government wanted to equalize: population density, employment, and income throughout the country. Moreover, the government also wanted to improve the uncultivated land in the highlands by moving people from the deltaic plains to use and teach their rice-production skills to local people in the NEZs. Phase I The first redistribution was conducted successfully under the First Five Year Plan (1961-1965) solely in the north of Vietnam. The target was to mobilize one million people from the Red River Delta to the upland areas: Bach Thai, Son La, and Lai Chau provinces. (Map 2) Thai Binh was the first province where the population was mobilized as it was the most populous province. According to the plan, 150,000 people should be moved in five-year period. During 1961-1963, 70,000 inhabitants of Thai Binh joined this program and during 1965-1966 it was concluded that 110,000 of Thai Binh's former residents moved to the NEZs. (Jones, 1982) This policy was conducted, similarly, in the densely populated deltaic provinces. The campaign gained more support by the fear of US bombing threats propagandized by the Vietnamese government. Approximately 500,000 people from major cities and minor urban areas moved to the northwestern provinces. (Jones, 1982) In one decade, 1961-1970, there were over one million people shifted to the new settlements. This population mobilization was unsuccessful in terms of improving quality of life. First, there were natural calamities. Second, there was an inadequate planning. Lacking tools and funds, the settlers could not farm and faced an unpredictable future. Moreover, the ethnic minorities who lived in upland areas long before the coming of new settlers were not prepared to encounter the influx of newcomers. It was also found that the minority peoples were not respected by the people in the program. Food production, especially rice, did not increase though the settlers were moved to apply their skills in the upland areas. Phase II Before the reunification, it was assumed that 1.3 million soldiers and police were living in the south. The government tried to solved unemployment problem and also found that the southern area would be suitable location to continue population redistribution program. During 1976-1980, 1.5 million people were moved to the NEZs. People were moved from north to south, north to north, and south to south in 16 provinces. The government regulated more new economic zones shown in table 3. Virgin land was opened for 527,649 ha. in this period. Agricultural production was 436,480 or 82% of new land and 34.8% was used for growing rice. Map. New Economic Zones.

From To Number North to South Hanoi Lam Dong 100,000 Thai Binh Kien Giang 100,000 Song Be 120,000 Gia Lai Cong Tum 10,000 Hai Hung Long An 150,000 Ha Nam Ninh Minh Hai 100,000 Dong Nai 24,000 Dac Lac 10,000 Binh Tri Thien Dac Lac 69,000 Ha Son Binh Lam Dong 19,500 Tay Ninh 5,000 North to North Hai Phong Quang Ninh 15,000 Ha Nam Ninh Hoang Lien Son 35,000 Ha Son Binh Son La,Vinh Phu, 35,000 Ha Tuyen and Bac Thai Thai Binh Bac Thai 5,5000 Lai Chau 10,000 South to South Ho Chi Minh CityDong Nai 170,000 Song Be 100,000 Tay Ninh 100,000 Nghia Binh Gia Lai Cong Tum 40,000 Quang Nam Dac Lac 45,000 Total 1,263,000 Table 1 Population redistribution in phase II catagorized by north to south, north to north, and south to south. Most of population moved to the south and central highland, particularly, Dac Lac, Lam Dong, Gia Lai Cong Tum. Source: Jones, 1982.
According to table 1, it is obvious that Southern region was a main target of the government in order to distribute population from the Northern deltaic plain and big cities. Thai Binh was the province among northern provinces where largest population were moved to new settlements. As for southern provinces, Ho Chi Minh City's 300,000 people were mobilized. This is explained that the southern provinces did not have severe population density as in the north except Ho Chi Minh City . Phase III The third phase is a long term plan from 1985 to 2000. The target for the third plan was to mobilize 1,600, 000 people to the Mekhong Delta, the eastern areas and mountainous areas. In 1980, the government issued regulations for people moving to the NEZs, including training before redistribution and allowances for the basic living in new areas. In conclusion, an estimated 6 million farmers have settled in the NEZs. 1.7 million hectares of virgin land was used in agricultural production. Thai Binh was the most successful in this program in terms of population decrease because 74,400 families were sent to new economic zones and enjoyed better living than in Thai Binh. The third phase was the most successful because the previous plans were ill-prepared and had inadequate supervision, causing many settlers to go back to their homeland. However, due to a small budget, 30% of people in this program are in poverty. Thus, in planning for redistribution from 1985 to 2000, the government emphasizes increased provision for technical planning, water control systems, rice field construction, infrastructure, schools, and medical stations. Socio-economic impacts Population policies in Vietnam are not successful in the overall decrease in the population growth rate and population density reduction. These inevitably affected socio-economic aspects of the country. I will discuss how these policies have affected labor force and employment, urbanization, agricultural production, and forestry. Labor force and employment Population policy has had an impact on the future labor force of Vietnam. First of all, population redistribution has increased the agricultural labor force because most of the jobs in the NEZs are related to agriculture. The agricultural labor force has increased from 15, 140, 000 people in 1980 to 19, 797,800 in 1986. (Statistical Public House, 1990) Moreover, the NEZs has created an estimated 8 million jobs not only in agriculture sector but also services sector during the past decades. However, the structure of labor force in Vietnam has not changed. Agricultural labor force still remains the large part of Vietnam's labor force. According to the population growth rate, in the next 10 years, Vietnam's structure of population by age group will change. The country will be replete with young population (fig. 3). Vietnam will have more labor force in the future which is good for economic development. However, the government has to be concern about unemployment in the future. Large population in 15-64 age group can suffer from unemployment if the country's economy cannot afford sufficient job in the future. Figure 3. Population by age group.

Agricultural production One of the objectives of population redistribution is to alleviate food shortages. To extend the cultivated land is one way to increase food production. In average, the production of major crops has increased. The cultivated land area has increased as well as food per capita. Although food per capita decreased to 239 kg/person in 1978 which is lower than World Health Organization (WHO) standard, 240 kg/person, an overall of food capita is above the WHO standard. It signifies that population redistribution program has helped increase productivity and alleviate food shortages problem of the country (fig. 4 ). Agricultural production in the NEZS provinces increased in average. In the northern area, agricultural production increased more in average than in the southern area. It is because the northern part has been provided better water control systems and irrigation. The most successful province is Long An in which the production grew 63.4% from 433,300 tons in 1980 to 708,000 tons in 1986. The industrial crops also increased during 1976-1984. During 1985-1990, the production of industrial crops fluctuated, some crops had higher yields while some had lower yields as a result of calamities. The higher production capacity of Vietnam has affected its export of agricultural products, especially in 1986, the amount of major crops increased sharply. Figure 4. Food per capita in Vietnam.

The increasing volume of food production is partially caused by the population redistribution policy. It is interesting that agricultural production is increasing while food per capita does not highly increase. At the same time, Vietnam is the fourth largest rice exporter of the world and industrial crops also increased in the country's exportation.

Year 1980 1986 1988 1989 North Quang Ninh 79.0 125.1 129.6 139.7 Hoang Lien 222.1 248.8 267.8 281.9 Son Son La 147.3 150.9 164.7 168.9 Vinh Phu 286.5 385.9 416.9 432.9 Ha Tuyen 194.1 264.9 266.4 283.1 Bac Thai 161.0 228.0 217.7 249.9 Lai Chau 122.9 137.2 147.7 150.5 South Lam Dong 86.8 127.0 131.9 128.7 Kieng Giang 603.7 689.7 726.9 809.5 Song Be 91.2 166.1 158.9 146.8 Gia Lai Cong Tum 217.2 214.2 198.4 223.9 Long An 433.3 708.0 785.5 890.6 Minh Hai 688.7 671.2 707.4 829.4 Dong Nai 335.6 464.2 432.8 405.9 Dac Lac 144.7 202.6 232.2 244.2 Tay Ninh 242.7 239.3 249.9 239.5 Table 2 Production of food crops and food crops per capita by provinces in the NEZs Source: Statistical Publishing House, 1991.
Urbanization Urbanization accompanies modernization. The developed countries have passed through the urbanization transition whereas the developing countries still operate in different stages of urbanization. The Vietnamese government has attempted to decentralized development throughout the country. Population redistribution is one of the means to motivate people to create new urban areas besides Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or Hai Phong, and reduce population in the big cities. However, the urban population has increased each year since the end of World War II with annual average growth rate of 3.31%. The urban growth rate dropped during 1970-1980 as a result of the fear of the US bombing threats. Urban population is expected to increase in the next century. The unsuccessful creation of new urban centers is blamed on a lack of funds and inadequate infrastructure and facilities in the new settlements. The government emphasized increasing agricultural production and redistribution population, but did not develop sufficient infrastructures. The highly increasing urban growth rate is likely to occur in the future if the government cannot provide facilities and infrastructure in the NEZs. People who join population redistribution policy may decide to go back to their former settlements instead. Figure 5. Urban and Rural Growth Rates.

According to Drake, urbanization transition is created by two forces: rural to urban migration; and central city population growth. (Drake, 1994) Vietnam is in the early stage of this transition. The Vietnamese government is in a way to pass through the transition. The government has attempted to create new urban areas by using "pull" forces--jobs and allowances in mobilization--formed in the NEZs. The "push"--crowded community and unemployment--motivates people to move to different provinces. However, an increase of urban growth rate according to WRD's projection could be explained by the return of people to big cities or their homeland if new urban areas still lack of infrastructure and support from the government. Forestry According to MacAndrews, land settlement in Southeast Asia usually opens up and develops previously cultivated land. (MacAndrews, 1982) Likewise, during 1976-1979, 527,647 has. of virgin land in Vietnam was opened up and used in agricultural production for 436, 480 has. or 82% of the newly opened land. According to WRD, during 1981-1990, there was an annual -0.83% change in forest areas. In 1980, Vietnam had 10, 663, 000 has. of all forest and the extent decreased to 9,782, 000 in 1990. Although the new policies on land location and use are employed, it is effective in some areas. The yearly afforestation of 50, 000 to 100, 000 has. is inadequate in substituting 88, 100 has. of deforestation each year (WRD, 1995-96). Therefore, the NEZs partly has destroyed forests. An increasing population in newly settled areas causes higher consumption of fuelwood as the government does not provide sufficient infrastructure. According to figure 6, wood production has obviously increased, especially fuel wood and roundwood since 1961. Wood production is also expected to increase in near future. Figure 6. Wood Production.

Comparison with Thailand Overall, Vietnam's family planning programs and population redistribution are not totally successful. Thailand is one of many countries that have used both family planning and land resettlement policies. Thailand has been able to cope with high population growth. Its development level is not distant from Vietnam, including the size of the country and population size. Thailand is a good case study in comparison with Vietnam in a discussion of population policy. Thailand has also faced population problems. First, Thailand experienced rapid population growth since World War II. In 1958, the World Bank recommended the Thai government to control rapidly growing population which will obstruct a national economic growth. The government has employed family planning programs which has helped decrease the population growth rate from 3.2 in 1947 to 1.7 in the 1980s(Sternstein, 1976). The fertility rate also decreased from 6.62 in 1955 to 2.10 in 1995. (WRD, 1995-96) Secondly, Thailand adopted a land settlement policy in 1935 as a result of the government's regulation prohibiting trishaws in Bangkok. The government offered new settlements to trishaw drivers. After that, many programs were developed under various titles. From 1935 to 1980 at least 1.2 million people had been moved to the new settlements, opening up and developing previously uncultivated land. The objective was to raise the living standards of farmers and improve productivity. Thailand's population policy has been successful in terms of population growth control. The government has put high priority for population control, including a significant allocation of funds. As for land resettlement, these have also been more successful than in Vietnam. It is explained that Vietnam's resettlement program is larger both in size of population and of newly settled areas. The common problems are inflexibility of policy and there is no long-range planning. Moreover, there was no careful planning, no initial site survey, no sufficient facilities and services. The staff was not well-trained for working in new settlements. However, Vietnam has been successful in creating new urban areas such as Haiphong, Da Nang, Da Lat and Nha Trang. In contrast, Bangkok still remains the most important and largest city of Thailand and center of the country. Another problem that is more severe in Thailand than in Vietnam is deforestation. In the past, more than half of the country was forest. The forest extent of 18, 123, 000 has. in 1980 decreased to 13, 264, 000 has. in 1990 with -2.68% of annual change (WRD, 1995-96). Thailand consequently suffers more severe flooding every year. Thailand is able to cope with population growth and land resettlement is one of government's plan to conserve forests. However, the rate of deforestation is still increasing sharply since the 1960s until 1978 (fig. 7). It could be argued that Thailand passed through an "economic boom" which was fueled in part by a utilization of forests without adequate conservation. In regard to Vietnam, it has maintained family planning policies for more than 3 decades but could not control population growth. Although a rate of deforestation has not been as severe as in Thailand, Vietnam is currently going through economic boom as Thailand was. If Vietnam still cannot control population growth rate and population redistribution to new land, it is possible that Vietnam is going to lose its valuable natural resources as higher increase of wood production previously presented. Afforestation should be seriously taken into consideration in environmental policy of Vietnam. Figure 7. Forest and woodland in Thailand and Vietnam.

Policy suggestions and conclusion According to the study of the population policy in Vietnam, the results are not completely satisfactory. However, population policy has begun many solutions for population problems. The government still maintains this policy. If the population keeps growing, I argue that family planning programs are important for Vietnam. Population redistribution policies should also be continued in order to reduce population density in some areas and equalize development throughout the country. These policies need adjustment to be more effective. As for population policy, the Vietnamese government should focus on fund management. At present, it is known that Vietnam's economy has not in good condition. Foreign assistance is needed, and it is crucial that this fund is managed effectively. The second suggestion is cautious planning. In particular, the population redistribution program in the past was not successful because the people were sent to new settlements without sufficient support and planning from the government. The third suggestion is target setting. Both family planning programs and population redistribution target should be set by the real situation. It means that the government should take into consideration socio-economic factors, and the extent to which the government can support the programs. Previously, the government set too high of a target within a short period which was difficult to achieve if looking at the country's economy. The next suggestion is that infrastructure should be developed in new urban areas. At present, Vietnam still receives financial support from foreign sources, especially the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and Japan. Most of this aid is targeted for projects such as: rehabilitating highways, irrigation system, power development, water supply, port development, for present urban areas such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Haiphong. Infrastructure development should be more focused on rural areas in the NEZs. This could help alleviate conflict between resident and new settlers. The ethnic minorities could change their attitude toward this population redistribution program and the settlers into positive way if facilities and infrastructure were created in their region. This also increase the likelihood for economic development in the NEZs. Apart from population policy implementation, a very important policy to be included is forest conservation. Although the government has produced an outline of environmental policy but it has not been in use yet. Population and socio-economic development are related to each other, in both positive and negative feedback cycles. 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