Volume 6(2019)

PAGE 20/26

Although higher income is perceived as an important element for escaping poverty, the poor households do not consider “looking for extra work” and “investing in vocational training” (means of higher income) as essential strategies. This may be because looking for extra work or looking for jobs after vocational training are not easy for people in the labour marketed who are poor.

As a family strategy, the poor households acknowledge that reducing expenditures is highly important. Yet, the analysis of household expenditure indicates most of their expenditure is for basic needs: food, drinks, education, mobility, electricity and gas, which are hard to reduce (figure 11).

Figure 11: Monthly Household Expenditure



The city poverty line, which is 1.75 million dong per person per month (equivalent to 2.30 US dollars per person per day), is adopted in both urban and rural districts of the city. As a result, there are more rural households living in poverty than the urban ones. Statistics show that 0.6% of the rural population live in poverty (SGGP, 2019) whereas no urban people do (Tuoi Tre, 2019). This creates pressure on local authorities in rural districts.

The multidimensional poverty approach of Ho Chi Minh City sets out to accommodate the needs of each member of a poor household through policy. In reality, some of the policies have proven hard to implement, according to local authorities who were interviewed. They require more work from poverty officials who must monitor each poor person’s needs while managing different tasks in their local authority office.

The local governments have designed numerous favourable policies for poor households. For example, in District 12, poor persons are permitted to divide their agricultural land into smaller pieces for sale or transfer that is usually not in other districts. This policy is regarded as a particular administrative support for some households, who have potential to improve their living condition from a land sale. Other support, such as free electricity and water metre installation, provide impoverished households with access to basic services.

Although the living conditions of the urban poor are improving, and most poverty-reduction policies, such as health insurance and credit programmes, have been well implemented, a few policies remain a work in progress, such as social insurance and adult education (to complete their secondary education). Most of the working members of the poor households in the study have jobs in the informal sector and do not have social insurance. The local authorities cannot afford social insurance for all poor people, and it is hard to convince them to buy it for themselves, they reported. And most poor adults refuse to improve their education and skills because they are busy working to make ends meet.