It goes without saying that the world economy has been going through turbulent times since the outbreak of the pandemic. But amid the economic disruption, many counties managed to display remarkable growth in their GDP per capita from 2020 to 2021. Using data from The World Bank, we analyzed various countries’ GDP per capita (in current U.S. dollars) and their change over the years. For this study, we decided to focus on Vietnam and its GDP per capita.
Read on to find out the Vietnam GDP per capita, its change over the years, and other economic details about this Southeast Asian dynamo.
Vietnam GDP per Capita: A Detailed Analysis
According to the latest data from The World Bank, Vietnam GDP per capita is $3,694.02 (reminder, as of 2021). Vietnam is one of a few countries to have weathered the pandemic’s economic impact fairly well. In 2019, before the pandemic, Vietnam’s GDP per capita was $3,425.09, before rising to $3,526.27 in 2020, and then rising again to $3,694.02. In fact, Vietnam GDP per capita has been on a steep rise since roughly 2005.
Now, when we examined annual GDP per capita growth, The World Bank bases its percentage growth rate of Vietnam GDP per capita on constant local currency. Thus, simply calculating the annual growth of Vietnam’s GDP per capita using current U.S. dollars, it won’t match the annual growth rate provided by The World Bank, since this metric uses constant local currency for its calculation. Looking at the one-year Vietnam GDP per capita growth from 2020 to 2021, the country witnessed an annual growth rate of 1.72% (using current U.S. dollar values, $3,694.02 in 2021 versus $3,526.27 in 2020, the annual growth rate comes out as 4.76%). From 2019 to 2020, the annual growth rate of Vietnam GDP per capita was 2.01%, certainly a slowdown from 2018-2019’s annual growth rate of 6.13%, but still positive.
Here’s a look at Vietnam GDP per capita in current U.S. dollars over the last 15 years:
- 2006 Vietnam GDP per capita: $784.37
- 2007 Vietnam GDP per capita: $906.28
- 2008 Vietnam GDP per capita: $1,149.42
- 2009 Vietnam GDP per capita: $1,217.27
- 2010 Vietnam GDP per capita: $1,673.33
- 2011 Vietnam GDP per capita: $1,942.09
- 2012 Vietnam GDP per capita: $2,178.04
- 2013 Vietnam GDP per capita: $2,354.87
- 2014 Vietnam GDP per capita: $2,545.42
- 2015 Vietnam GDP per capita: $2,581.62
- 2016 Vietnam GDP per capita: $2,745.57
- 2017 Vietnam GDP per capita: $2,974.12
- 2018 Vietnam GDP per capita: $3,230.93
- 2019 Vietnam GDP per capita: $3,425.09
- 2020 Vietnam GDP per capita: $3,526.27
- 2021 Vietnam GDP per capita: $3,694.02
Based on these dollar values, from 2006 to 2021, Vietnam GDP per capita grew by nearly 371% (100% growth means a doubling, so 300% is a quadrupling). In fact, a growth rate of 371% is close to Vietnam GDP per capita increasing five-fold. However, this impressive growth in GDP per capita makes more sense when one takes a closer look at the way Vietnam’s economy has evolved over the same period since 2006.
Vietnam GDP per Capita: A Look at Vietnam’s Economy Over the Years
Using data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), we can analyze how much the economy of Vietnam has changed over the last 15 years. Back in 2006, Vietnam’s biggest export product was crude petroleum, representing 16.9% of its exports that year and equal to $7.72 billion. Fast-forward to 2020 (for OEC data from 2021 requires a Pro subscription), and crude petroleum now only accounts for 0.54% of Vietnam’s exports, equal to $1.64 billion. Instead, broadcasting equipment has become Vietnam’s top export product, accounting for 14% of exports, with a value of $42 billion. Exports of telephones comes in second, accounting for 7.14% of total export value and equivalent to $21.4 billion. Exports of integrated circuits ranks third, accounting for 6.48% of total export value and equal to $19.4 billion. All three of these top exports from Vietnam fall under the broader Machines category, and this category now forms the largest sector of Vietnam’s total export value.
The contrast between Vietnam’s exports in 2020 and 2006 is striking. Back in 2006, broadcasting equipment accounted for only 0.09% of total exports, valued at a mere $41 million versus $42 billion in broadcasting equipment exports in 2020. The destination countries of Vietnam’s exports have also evolved markedly since 2006. Back in 2006, the top destination for Vietnam exports was the U.S., which accounted for 19.8% ($9.02 billion) of total export value. By 2020, though the U.S. still remains the top export destination for Vietnam, America now accounts for 25.6% ($77 billion) of Vietnam’s total export value.
Another destination country to take note of is China. Back in 2006, Vietnamese exports to China accounted for 5.74% ($2.62 billion) of total export value. By 2020, China has moved up to second place among the top destinations for Vietnamese exports, accounting for 16.5% ($49.4 billion) of total export value. Meanwhile, exports to Japan in 2006 accounted for 12.4% ($5.68 billion) of total export value. By 2020, however, Vietnamese exports to Japan accounted for only 6.79% of total exports. Vietnamese exports to Australia also experienced a sharp decline from 2006 to 2020: Back in 2006, Australia accounted for 8.32% of Vietnam’s total export value, but by 2020 Australia accounts for a mere 1.35%.
Over the last 10 years, from 2010 to 2020, the fastest growing export market for Vietnam was the U.S., in which export values increased by $62.3 billion, equivalent to percentage growth of 424%. However, the second fastest growing export market — China — saw an increase in export values of $42.7 billion but equivalent to a percentage growth of 631%. The third fastest growing export market for Vietnam was South Korea, which saw export values increase $16.4 billion yet equal to a percentage growth of 503%, also beating out corresponding growth rate between Vietnam and the U.S.
Vietnam’s GDP per capita growth could be largely due to the increasing diversification and complexity of the Vietnamese economy. According to the OEC, over the last 20 years, Vietnam’s economy has increased in complexity, rising on the Economic Complexity Indicators (ECI) ranking from 83rd to 61st in the world. Vietnam’s economic complexity ranking is far better than its neighbors, such as Cambodia (ECI rank of 102) or Laos (ECI rank of 104). In 2017, Vietnam’s economic complexity overtook Indonesia’s and has remained above it ever since.
Vietnam GDP per Capita Growth in Constant U.S. Dollars
Even when we analyze Vietnam’s GDP per capita in constant 2015 U.S. dollars (as opposed to current U.S. dollars), Vietnam’s growth in GDP per capita is stunning. In constant 2015 U.S. dollars, the Vietnam GDP per capita in 2006 was $1,650.63, before rising to $3,373.08 in 2021. That equates to a 15-year growth rate of 104.4% in Vietnam’s GDP per capita. In all, Vietnam GDP per capita has displayed some of the most impressive growth among all the nations of the world. This trend is a reflection of the dynamism of Vietnam’s economy and its remarkable evolution over the years.
Below you’ll find a table detailing Vietnam’s GDP per capita in current U.S. dollars, constant 2015 dollars, and its annual growth rate (based on constant local currency):