Missionary Spotlight – Socialist Republic of Vietnam

ET staff writer
ET staff writer
01 September, 2005 1 min read

Area:128,000 square miles


Cambodia, Laos and China.


Vietnam has a tropical climate. There are northern mountains, central highlands, and flat river delta areas in the north and south (Mekong river).


83.5 million (plus 2 million diaspora).

Infant mortality:

26 deaths per 1,000 births.

Life expectancy:

Males 68 years; females 74 years.

Ethnic groups:

Vietnamese 86% — predominantly coastal dwellers with large cultural differences between the north and south; many other ethnic groups.


Vietnamese (official); English; French; Chinese; many indigenous languages.




Hanoi (3.5 million).

Major cities:

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon; 6.5 million); Haiphong (2.3 million).


Vietnam is recovering from decades of devastating warfare and Marxist economics during the mid-to-late twentieth century. There has been a steady transition to a mixed economy, but many rural poor still depend on subsistence agriculture. Exports include oil and natural gas (offshore deposits), rice, marine products, coffee, rubber, tea, textiles and shoes. The northern highlands have valuable mineral deposits.


Buddhist (54%); non-religious (22%); traditional ethnic (8%); Chinese religions (7%); Catholic (6%); Protestant (1%); others (2%). Ancestor worship and animism permeate Vietnamese life and society.

Protestant denominations:

Evangelical Church of Vietnam; unregistered house churches; Montagnard (a tribal group; there are Christians in about 20 of the other 53 tribal groups); United Protestant; Assemblies of God; others.


Vietnam received independence from France in September 1945. From 1957 Vietnam was a battleground as (predominantly) American and South Vietnamese forces slugged it out with North Vietnamese communists. In 1975 the communists gained total control, shortly after American withdrawal from Vietnam. In 1979 there was a brief but bloody war between Vietnam and China.

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