Vietnam’s 2018 population was 95,540,524, yielding a population density of 267 persons per sq km (692 per sq mi). However, most people live in or near the densely populated Red or Mekong deltas.
Four of the five largest cities in Vietnam are located on or very near the coast. Vietnam’s largest metropolis is the southern port of Ho Chi Minh City. The administrative capital of Hanoi, Vietnam’s next largest city, lies in the Red River Delta about 140 km (about 85 mi) upriver from the Gulf of Tonkin. Haiphong is the major northern seaport; Da Nang is an important port in central Vietnam; and Hue, located near Da Nang, is the former imperial capital and an important trade center.
Vietnam’s population is relatively homogeneous. As much as 90 percent of the people are ethnic Vietnamese, descendants of the people who settled in the Red River Delta thousands of years ago. Ethnic Chinese constitute the largest minority group. Other important minorities are the Khmer and the Cham. In addition, there are also numerous tribal groups. While the ethnic Vietnamese live in lowland areas scattered throughout the country, most minorities are concentrated in specific regional areas. The ethnic Chinese, also known as overseas Chinese, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who settled in Vietnam during the last 300 years. They live primarily in the cities and provincial towns and number about 2 million. The Khmer (about 500,000) and the Cham (about 50,000) are descendants of peoples who lived in central and southern Vietnam prior to the Vietnamese conquest of those areas.
The tribal peoples are descendants of communities who migrated into Vietnam from other parts of Asia over a period of several thousand years. They are divided into about 50 different language and ethnic groups (including the Tho, the Tay, the Nung, the Muong, the Rhadé, and the Jarai) and live almost exclusively in the mountains surrounding the Red River Delta and in the Central Highlands. Taken collectively, the tribal peoples represent 7 percent of the country’s total population.
For the most part, the various ethnic groups in Vietnam coexist with few mutual tensions. Relations between the ethnic groups are not always amiable, however. Ethnic Chinese play a dominant role in the national economy, which angers some Vietnamese who resent the economic power of the much smaller Chinese population. Furthermore, some Vietnamese are suspicious of China, which subjugated parts of Vietnam for centuries, and this suspicion is occasionally directed at the ethnic Chinese citizens of Vietnam. Some tribal minority communities have resisted recent Vietnamese penetration into mountain areas. "Vietnam" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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