Rapid urbanization took off as a global megatrend at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In 2018, according to the United Nations, 55 per cent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to move up to 68 per cent by 2050, adding a gigantic 2.5 billion people to the global urban population. This trend has been happening in major cities in Viet Nam, especially Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City-the biggest city in the country-is still experiencing strong population growth and faces many challenges that have come along with its economic development. Despite high economic growth with a multitude of opportunities to overcome poverty, some parts of the population remain left behind. Many of them are migrants living in degrading living environments. These people face many obstacles in accessing social services, such as education and health care, due to many institutional barriers, such as lack of permanent residence status in the city.
Since 2016, poverty in Viet Nam has been defined and measured in multidimensional terms, which include living conditions, health care, housing and education. This assessment generated a more comprehensive picture of poverty in the country. Based on the multidimensional criteria, the research looked at the living conditions of the urban poor in the central and peri-urban districts of Ho Chi Minh City and analysed relevant policies regarding assessed indicators to suggest alternative solutions towards improving living conditions and accessibility to social services for urban poor households. The survey findings hopefully will be of interest to policy-makers and governmental officials on national and local levels, urban planners, researchers, civil society organizations, international NGOs as well as interested citizens.