Volume 6(2019)

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A number of impoverished people are associated with social evils, such as drug abuse. They do not work but may be involved in a rehabilitation programme. A few households have become impoverished due to illness or an accident. The cost of medical treatment was too high for them to manage without moving into destitution. Some older parents have given their land to their children but have been left alone without support from those children or with little or no social welfare.

Several poor people have become comfortable with the poverty policies and want to remain on the Poor Household List, even though they earn income that is higher than the city poverty line. The city poverty officials find it difficult to convince them to withdraw from the list. They often argue with the officials to be allowed to stay because they are poor. One prominent characteristic of many people considered as urban poor is that they prefer freelance jobs or to work in the informal sector rather than with a company, despite the large number of manufacturing factories, especially for garment, electronics and auto parts production.

The findings of the research reflected in this report indicate that 68.7 per cent of households in Ho Chi Minh City have lived in chronic poverty since the National Poverty Reduction Programme began in 1998, an unchanged situation they attribute to illnesses and the low education level of the family breadwinner. The percentage of households falling into poverty after the start of the multidimensional poverty policy of 2016 is 5.6 per cent. These cases were attributed to the impact of illness, disability or separation of the household. Based on the findings of this study, the health status, education level and occupation of the breadwinner in a family generally has great impact on the status of household poverty.


This research relies on the multidimensional poverty measurement indicators created by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme. The indicators cover income, access to social services (education and health care), living conditions plus employment, social insurance and access to information. It is, however, adapted to the Ho Chi Minh City multidimensional measurement criteria. For the research, we used all indicators, including income. The indicator on access to information was adapted in the HCMC multidimensional poverty survey to refer to the use or ownership of information-accessing equipment, such as television and smart phones, rather than what type of information people access. We also added mobility (which was used in the Social City Research Project on Housing and Transportation in Ho Chi Minh City, 2017).

This study entailed a survey of 520 questionnaires for poor households in seven peri-urban districts (Cu Chi, Can Gio, Binh Chanh, District 12, Thu Duc, Go Vap and Binh Tan), using the district multidimensional poverty criteria. In the districts of Thu Duc, Go Vap and Binh Tan, which are closer to the city centre and have been urbanized much longer, 240 households were surveyed. And 280 households were selected in the districts farther from the centre and in the process of urbanization (Cu Chi, Can Gio, Binh Chanh and District 12).

Due to the difficulty in approaching poor households and the need for support from the local authority officials, a convenience sampling method was employed to select poor and near-poor households registered on the Poor Household List. The survey was conducted at the household level; data on each household member were provided by a household representative who answered the survey. In-depth interviews were carried out with household members, local officials and experts at the same time as the survey.