Vietnamese citizens worry most about jobs, pollution, corruption

By Sen    January 19, 2019 | 11:32 pm PT
Vietnamese citizens worry most about jobs, pollution, corruption
Smoke rises from the chimney of a paper factory outside Hanoi, Vietnam, May 21, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham
A nationwide survey finds employment, environmental pollution and corruption are issues of leading concerns among Vietnamese citizens.

The 2018 survey, conducted by the Mekong Development Research Institute, Hanoi (MDRI), covered 1,400 people aged 18 and over in 34 provinces and cities in Vietnam.

It found 24.12 percent of respondents saying employment was their primary concern. Air pollution followed with 17.06 percent and corruption 15.96 percent.

Dr. Phung Duc Tung, Director of MDRI, said the results reflect reality in Vietnamese society. The 18 to 30 years old demographic was naturally more anxious about employment than other age groups.

Preoccupation about jobs was stronger among respondents in the countryside, high school graduates and those who earned less than VND5 million a month ($215). Vietnam's average GDP per capita in 2018 was around $2,500.

Also, 2.19 percent of people in the working ages were unemployed, down from 2.24 percent in 2017.

On pollution, the survey came up with an unusual finding on gender difference.

"Interestingly, men are more troubled by air pollution than women, and respondents between 30 and 40 years old are the primary worriers of this pollution," Tung told VnExpress International.

The MDRI also found that citizens in the north of the country were more worried about air pollution than those in the central and southern regions, and the level of concern was the same among urban and suburban dwellers.

Hanoi, with a population of 7.7 million, recorded air pollution four times higher than WHO standards in 2017.

Regarding climate change, 43.22 percent of respondents think the climate change situation will worsen in the next five years, 37.12 percent are positive about improvement, while 19.66 percent think it will remain static.

While job and air pollution were primary concerns of people in the 18 to 40 age bracket, those 50 years and older saw corruption as a greater concern.

"The more educated, the more they are worried about this issue," Tung said. More specifically, 50 percent of postgraduates were concerned about corruption, while only 8 percent of people without degrees shared the concern.

"There is a visible contrast between workers in the public and private sector. 23 percent in the former say corruption is a worry, while only 14 percent in the latter say so," the MDRI director noted.

On the bright side, the study found most people (68 percent) believe the corruption situation will improve in the next five years. Only about 17 percent think the situation will not change and a small percentage believes it will get worse.

In the past three years Vietnam's sweeping corruption crackdown has ensnared scores of high-profile officials, especially in the energy and banking sectors.

Last year a large number of officials, including in the military, and businesspeople faced criminal charges including for mismanagement of military land, faced disciplinary action or were arrested for corruption.

Vietnamese people are also worried about healthcare (11.32 percent), water pollution (8.16 percent), food hygiene and safety (7.28 percent) and education (6.32 percent).

The MDRI’s "2018 Sociological Survey" was conducted in June last year and took five months to complete.

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