FAR EAST CORRESPONDENT — Vietnam has the highest urbanization rate in Southeast Asia. Just a decade ago, only 24% of its population lived in cities, with 65% of the labor force employed in rural agriculture. Today, already more than 30 million people live in urban areas, accounting for approximately 34% of Vietnam’s total population.
The country is witnessing a rapid proliferation of urban areas, with the number of towns or cities at 755 and rising.Planners estimate that Vietnam’s cities will be home to more than 46 million people by the year 2020. The largest of these cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, are the growth engines of the country, supported by a relatively low urban unemployment rate of 4.6%.