Conversations - Evolution or Creation?


Map of Vietnam

France occupied all of Vietnam by 1884. Independence was declared after World War II, but the French continued to rule until 1954 when they were defeated by Communist forces under Ho Chi MINH, who took control of the North. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South. Economic reconstruction of the reunited country has proven difficult as aging Communist Party leaders have only grudgingly initiated reforms necessary for a free market.
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia
total: 329,560 sq km
land: 325,360 sq km
water: 4,200 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 4,639 km
border countries: Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km
81,624,716 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.2% (male 12,699,002; female 11,967,674)
15-64 years: 64.2% (male 25,776,600; female 26,599,005)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 1,902,464; female 2,679,971) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 24.5 years
male: 23.6 years
female: 25.5 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.29% (2003 est.)
Birth rate: 19.58 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate: 6.19 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Buddhist, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christian (predominantly Roman Catholic, some Protestant), indigenous beliefs, Muslim
3,444 km (excludes islands)
tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)
low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest
Elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Fan Si Pan 3,144 m
Natural resources:
phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 17.41%
permanent crops: 4.71%
other: 77.88% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
30,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta
Environment - current issues:
logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note:
extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 30.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 26.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 34.71 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.05 years
male: 67.58 years
female: 72.7 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.24 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
130,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
6,600 (2001 est.)
noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese
Ethnic groups:
Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese, Hmong, Thai, Khmer, Cham, mountain groups
Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94%
male: 95.8%
female: 92.3% (2003 est.)

Information courtesy of