How poor is Vietnam compared to the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia?





According to data from the World Bank, Vietnam is considered to be a lower-middle-income country, with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of $1,260 in 2021. This is lower than the Philippines, which has a GNI per capita of $3,050, but higher than Indonesia and Thailand, which have GNIs per capita of $1,180 and $5,710 respectively. Malaysia, on the other hand, is considered to be an upper-middle-income country, with a GNI per capita of $9,210.It's worth noting that this is just one measure of a country's wealth and it's important to consider other factors such as income inequality and access to resources and services when comparing countries. Additionally, the economic situation of a country can change over time and these numbers may not be fully reflective of the current situation in these countries.





Os Wright

I am a 73 year old American who lives in Hanoi and I would asbsolutely not characterize Vietnam as “poor”. I also lived in Europe for 23 years. Hanoi has non of the destitution and desperation that I saw in Rome and Milano, in Los Angeles and most major cities in the US. Many people here have to work very hard to make a living but that is NOT POOR ! They have their ancient culture based primarily is a confuccian code of ethics, strong family values, love and respect for the society and country. There is a sense of hope here and you see it in how young people marry early and begin to have children. That is NOT POOR.


Poor is what you see in the west; the homlessness, the crime, shooting, drug addiction, sense of hopelessness, sense of being lost, the extreme anger, the extreme divisions between the filthy rich and the rest of society.


In Hanoi petty crime is almost non exstent, Violent crime is practically non exstent. Mothers excourage their children to speak to the foreigners to practice english. My god what parent in the west would do that. Woke culture has instigated fear in everyone over everything. People are immensely friendly and helpful here. THIS IS NOT POOR. The idea that people are poor here comes from western hubris and arrogance which presumes that “I am rich because I have more gadgets”. (while I pretend that the desperate, crime infexted ghettos don’t exst) I tell my many friends in Hanoi, “you should realize how lucky to have this country”….”absolutely do not envie or imitate the west”.





Richard Chiu

There is not much reason to put Malaysia and Thailand in this group of countries. Malaysia is a high-middle income country now, and Thailand is a mid-income country. Both countries have graduated from develo country status and they are not poor, especially Malaysia.

Now Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam are still develo countries. Out of these 3 countries, if you just look at the GDP per capita, Vietnam is the lowest.



But in terms of poverty, Vietnam is doing very well. In 2017, only 7% of Vietnamese lived under poverty line, where 10% of Indonesian, 21% of Filipino lived under poverty. Vietnam is a socialist/centrally planned economy. Although the average GDP/Income is low, they don’t have a big income gap. Most Vietnamese don’t earn a lot of money, but they earn enough and protected by socialism to be living above poverty line.

But in Indonesia and the Philippines, especially the Philippines, the income gap is still huge and in the Philippines, 1/5 of people lives under poverty line.



I visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City and you won’t find any beggar there. But if you go to Jakarta, Manila, you will see so many jobless people begging for money on the street.

So on average, yes Vietnamese do not make as much. But when you are talking about poverty, the Philippines is the worst in the group by a big margin.







Sorry for my poor grammar. As a Malaysian who maried with Vietnamese, I visited wife family at Vn several times, we live in Soc Trang is more likely as my hometown Kuala Selangor. Latest trip is early July this year, totaly diffrent from last trip. Poor vs Malaysia? I don’t think so, maybe its my narrow sight cause I only visits countryside. Their lifestyle is relax and spending for daily expenses is better than Malaysia. Vietnam’s cities make me feel of motorbikes rush, country side just calm but only the honk of the bus and motorcycle. I miss there, people, seafood, coffee, cashewnuts, Banh Mi, and a lot, I wish I could live at there for my retire life.

我语法不太好,大家见笑了。我是马来西亚人,娶了越南姑娘,我去过越南的妻子家几次,住在Soc Trang,和我的家乡吉隆坡的雪兰莪州非常像。我们最近一次去越南是今年7月初,已经和上一次去完全不同了。越南比马来西亚穷吗?我不这么认为,可能是我的视野太狭窄了,因为我只在乡下活动。越南人的生活方式很放松,日常开销也比马来西亚便宜。越南的城市到处都是飞驰的摩托车,但越南的乡下非常宁静。我想念越南,想念越南的人,海鲜,咖啡,腰果,越南菜,还有很多,我希望我退休后去越南定居。




Chenko Azcrilez

I visited Hanoi, Vietnam, two years ago, and I didn’t see any different between Thailand and Vietnam. The street looked clean, infact without electric wires, it looked even better than Bangkok.

Vietnam may not have as many tall buildings as Thailand, but it does not mean they are poor, Many developted countries in Europe do not have tall buildings as well.






Minh Trương

Comparing Vietnam's economic conditions to those of the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia is a nuanced task. Vietnam has made significant strides in its economic development over the past few decades, and it is no longer considered a "poor" country by many measures.


Economic Growth: Vietnam has consistently achieved robust economic growth, driven by a rapidly expanding manufacturing and export sector. This has led to improvements in the standard of living for many Vietnamese citizens.

Poverty Reduction: Vietnam has been successful in reducing its poverty rate significantly over the years. Government policies, including investment in infrastructure and education, have played a crucial role in lifting millions out of poverty.



Foreign Investment: Vietnam has become an attractive destination for foreign investment, which has further stimulated economic growth and job creation.

Global Trade: The country actively participates in global trade, benefiting from export-oriented industries. This has contributed to a more diversified economy.

Social Development: Vietnam has made notable progress in areas like healthcare, education, and access to basic services, further improving living standards.

Income Distribution: Although income inequality exsts, it is generally more evenly distributed compared to some other countries in the region.





While Vietnam still faces challenges, such as environmental concerns and income disparities between urban and rural areas, it has made remarkable progress in improving the overall quality of life for its citizens. When compared to the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Vietnam is no longer considered "poor" but rather a country on a path of sustained economic growth and development.





Gunawan M.S

Malaysia's GNI per capita is already on high level, Thailand's is upper middle level with Indonesia too, and Vietnam & Filipina are in lower middle level. But AFAIK, Vietnam's GNI per capita is already a bit higher than Filipina, and not much behind compared to Indonesia (whose distance with Thailand over it is bigger than with Vietnam below it).

So i don't think Vietnam can be associated with the word POOR among those countries, fact that they are not positioned at the LOWEST compared to others in the list. And considering their faster economic growth, i am not gonna be surprised if they can overtake Indonesia sooner than later, unless it slows down significantly in the coming years, or Indonesia can increase its economic growth to match Vietnam.






Taufiq Muhammadi

Similar take with Adrian Muhammad's answer to How poor is Vietnam compared to the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia? but using GDP per capita adjusted by PPP instead. PPP basically took into account the different purchasing power of the dollar in each country. Here’s the data from GDP per capita, PPP (current international $)

The ranking is same with GDP per capita:

我和Adrian Muhammad有着相似的看法,但我会用购买力平价调整后的人均GDP来作对比。购买力平价基本上考虑了一美元在各个国家的购买力差异。以下数据来自人均GDP,购买力平价

Indonesia = Thailand 2006, Malaysia 1996/1998

Philippines = Indonesia 2008, Thailand 2000, Malaysia 1991

Vietnam = Philippines 2012, Indonesia 2005, Thailand 1994

Stephen McInerney ‘s comment on the question is also correct that these numbers are averages. Let’s see the Gini index estimation to see how much inequality happens in each country. Higher number mean higher inequality





Stephen McInerney对这个问题的评论也是对的,这些数字是平均值。我们可以通过基尼指数看看每个国家的不平等程度。数字越大,不平等程度越高

This is surprising for me since I thought the inequality in Indonesia is very bad. But looks like it is still better than other ASEAN countries? It is accelerating though, understandable with current development but concerning.


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