Provinces of Vietnam
The provinces are divided into districts (huyện), provincial cities (thành phố trực thuộc tỉnh), and county-level towns (thị xã), which are subdivided into commune-level towns (thị trấn) or communes (xã).
The municipalities are divided into rural districts (huyện) and urban districts (quận), which are subdivided into wards (phường).
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Politics and government of
(thành phố trực thuộc trung ương)
(thành phố trực thuộc tỉnh)
Vietnamese provinces are controlled by a People's Council, elected by the inhabitants. The People's Council appoints a People's Committee, which acts as the executive arm of the provincial government. This arrangement is a somewhat simplified version of the situation in Vietnam's national government. Provincial governments are expected to be subordinate to the central government.
Each People's Council has a Standing Council made up of the Chairman and his/her deputies, who are elected from among the representatives in the People's Council. The Standing Council has a number of functions, including representing the People's Council when it is not in session. There are also a number of other committees established to deal with specific issues. All provinces have an Economic and Budgetary Committee, a Social and Cultural Committee, and a Legal Committee. If a province has many inhabitants who are not ethnically Vietnamese, there will probably be a Committee for Ethnic Affairs as well.
Citizens are eligible to vote in People's Council elections from when they are aged eighteen, but cannot stand for election until they are aged twenty-one. To become a candidate, one can either nominate oneself or be selected by the Fatherland Front. Nominated candidates are then voted on at "voters' conferences", which are organized by the Fatherland Front. Attendees determine, sometimes by secret balot and sometimes by a show of hands, whether candidates meet the criteria set down by the People's Council. Candidates in whom the conference does not "express trust" cannot stand for election.
The number of candidates elected per voting district is between one and three. There must be more candidates standing in each district than there are seats to be filled.
The People's Committee is, as mentioned previously, the executive arm of a provincial government, and is responsible for formulating and implementing policy. It may be thought of as the equivalent of a cabinet. The People's Committee will have a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman, and between nine and eleven ordinary members.
List and statistics
According to the census results of April 1, 2009, the population of Vietnam is 85,789,573 people. The most populous top-level administrative unit in Vietnam is Hồ Chí Minh City, one of the five centrally governed cities. It has 7,123,340 people living within its official boundaries. The second most populous administrative unit is the recently-expanded Hà Nội with 6,448,837 people. Prior to the expansion of the capital city, this rank belonged to Thanh Hóa with 3,400,239 people. The least populous is Bắc Kạn, a mountainous province in the remote northeast with 294,660 people.
The following is a table of Vietnam's provinces broken down by population and area, April 1, 2009.
See also List of postal codes in Vietnam
The Vietnamese government often groups the various provinces into eight regions. These regions are not always used, and alternative classifications are possible. The regions include:
Northeastern (Đông Bắc Bộ) contains eleven provinces (many of which are mountainous) that lie to north of the highly populated Red River lowlands.
Red River Delta (Đồng Bằng Sông Hồng) contains nine provinces that are small but populous – based around the Red River, including the national capital Hanoi, and the municipality of Hải Phòng (both of which are independent of any provincial government).
South Central Coast (Nam Trung Bộ) contains five coastal provinces in the southern half of Vietnam's central part. Vietnam is wider at this point than in the North Central Coast region, so the inland areas are separate provinces. The region also includes the independent municipality of Đà Nẵng.
Central Highlands (Tây Nguyên) contains the five inland provinces (much of whose terrain is mountainous) of south-central Vietnam, mostly inhabited by ethnic minorities, although many Viet people live there as well.
Southeastern (Đông Nam Bộ) contains those parts of lowland southern Vietnam which are north of the Mekong Delta. There are seven provinces, plus the independent municipality of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
Mekong Delta (Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long) is Vietnam's southernmost region, and contains twelve mostly small but populous provinces in the delta of the Mekong, plus the independent municipality of Cần Thơ. The other name of this region is Southwestern (Tây Nam Bộ).
Historical provinces of Vietnam
- Hà Nam Ninh - then divided into 3 provinces: Hà Nam, Nam Định and Ninh Bình
- Hà Sơn Bình (divided into Hà Tây and Hòa Bình - then on August 1, 2008, Hà Tây and 4 communities of Hòa Bình became a part of expanded capital city Hà Nội)
- Châu Đốc
- Long Hồ
- Nghệ Tĩnh (divided into Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh), most noted for being the site of the Nghe Tinh Soviet Republic declared September 1930 and lasted into 1931, a short-lived bastion against colonial French rule.
- Minh Hai (divided into Cà Mau and Bạc Liêu)
- Vĩnh Phú (divided into Vĩnh Phúc and Phú Thọ
- Hà Tây - annexed into Hà Nội since August 1, 2008.
- CityMayors.com article
- (English) (Chinese) Comprehensive Map of Vietnam’s Provinces from around 1890