The population of Vietnam, which was equal to 64,375,762 residents at the 1989 census and over 69,900,000 according to a 1993 estimate, it has an annual growth coefficient of 2.5%. Most of the residents are Vietnamese (87%), while the rest is equally divided between Tay, Khmer, Thai, Muong, Nung and Meo. The most widespread religions are Buddhist and Taoist, but the Catholic community is also noteworthy, equal to 2.5 million believers. The active population is estimated at around 33 million people, of which 73% employed in agriculture. The urban population represents 20% of the total and is mostly concentrated in the three main cities, Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon), the capital Hanoi and Haiphong. The first counted at the last census over 3.9 million residents; located on the Mekong, about fifty km from the coast, and connected to Cholon by a canal, it enjoys a very central position, also enhanced by the international airport (Tan Son Nhutt) and by the coastal railway network that reaches Hanoi. Devastated by the conflict and subsequently deprived of important administrative and political-cultural functions, Ho Chi Minh is recovering numerous industrial and commercial functions, thanks to a changed government will that would like to restore the city to its pre-war splendor. Hanoi, the capital, is just over 2 million residents. in its urban agglomeration; located on Song Hong, over 130 km from the sea, it dominates an area still subject to the whims of the river, whose regime is characterized by floods that are barely controlled by means of a system of dams. Political and administrative center, it has a developed industrial structure and also performs important commercial functions. The third city, Haiphong (1.5 million residents), is the main port of the country on the Gulf of Tonkin, although it is located about thirty kilometers from the sea; it is home to shipyards and iron and steel, metallurgical, chemical and mechanical industries.
From an economic point of view, Vietnam – tried by long years of war – found itself facing very considerable difficulties, to which was added the transition to an economic market system, launched in 1986. About one third of the national product is supplied from agricultural activities. Submerged rice cultivation is dominant both in the South, distinguished by very fertile soils, and in the North, where it is flanked by dry crops (sugar cane, cassava, corn, soybeans, cotton). In the South there are also tea, coffee, banana, pineapple and hevea plantations; however, the production of rubber is far from the pre-war one. Compared to the crops, which cover 19% of the country, the forest reaches 28% and supplies precious woods and bamboo. The subsoil is rich in coal and phosphates; furthermore there are mineralizations of zinc, tin and iron. L’ modern industry sees the chemical, textile and electronic sectors prevail. Industrial centers are Hanoi (mechanical, chemical, textile, rubber and fertilizer industries), Ho Chi Minh (construction sites, paper mills, chemical and rubber industries, sugar refineries, distilleries, breweries) and Haiphong (shipyards, foundries, cement factories, industries food). The reconstruction involved, in addition to the urban settlements, also the ports (Haiphong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh) and the roads that now reach over 3,200 km of railways and 87,500 km of roads. foundries, cement factories, food industries). The reconstruction involved, in addition to the urban settlements, also the ports (Haiphong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh) and the roads that now reach over 3,200 km of railways and 87,500 km of roads. foundries, cement factories, food industries). The reconstruction involved, in addition to the urban settlements, also the ports (Haiphong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh) and the roads that now reach over 3,200 km of railways and 87,500 km of roads.