Provinces of Vietnam

Provinces of Vietnam

Politics of Vietnam

Vietnam is divided into 58 provinces (known in Vietnamese as "tỉnh"). There are also 5 centrally-controlled municipalities existing at the same level as provinces ("thành phố trực thuộc trung ương").

The provinces are divided into districts ("huyện"), provincial cities ("thành phố trực thuộc tỉnh"), and towns ("thị xã"), which are subdivided into towns ("thị trấn") or communes ("xã").

The centrally-controlled municipalities are divided into rural districts ("huyện") and urban districts ("quận"), which are subdivided into wards ("phường").


Vietnamese provinces are, at least in theory, 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.

People's Council

Each People's Council has a Standing Committee made up of the Chairperson and his/her deputies, who are elected from among the representatives in the People's Council. The Standing Committee 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 who the conference does not "express trust" in 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.

People's Committee

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 President and a Vice-President, and between nine or eleven ordinary members.

List and statistics

The most populous top-level administrative unit in Vietnam is Hồ Chí Minh City, one of the five municipalities. It has over six million people living within its official boundaries. The second most populous administrative unit is the recently-expanded Hà Nội with over five people. Prior to the expansion of capital city, this rank belonged to Thanh Hóa. The least populous is Lai Châu, a mountainous province in the remote northwest.

In terms of land area, the largest province is Nghệ An, which runs from the city of Vinh up the wide Song Ca valley. The smallest is Bắc Ninh, located in the populous Red River Delta.

The following is a table of Vietnam's provinces (the table may be sorted by any of the parameters by clicking the small square icon next to the heading at the top of any of the columns).


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:

Northwestern (Tây Bắc) contains four inland provinces in the west of Vietnam's northern part. Two of them border with Laos, and one borders China.

Northeastern (Dong Bac) contains eleven provinces (many of which are mountainous) that lie to north of the highly populated Red River lowlands.

Greater Ha Noindash Red River Delta (Hà Nội Kinh-Dong Bang Song Hong) contains nine provinces that are small but populousndash based around the Red River, including the national capital Hanoi, and the municipality of Haiphong (both of which are independent of any provincial government).

North Central Coast (Bắc Trung Bộ) contains six provinces in the northern half of Vietnam's narrow central part. All provinces in this region stretch from the coast in the east to Laos in the west.

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 Danang.

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 (Dong Nam Bo) 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).

Southwesternndash Mekong River Delta (Tây Nam Bo Việt Nam-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 Can Tho.

Historical provinces of Vietnam

*Ha Nam Ninh - then divided into 3 provinces: Hà Nam, Nam Định and Ninh Bình
*Ha Son Binh
*Chau Doc
*Long Ho
*Nghe Tinh (divided into Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh)
*Minh Hai
*Vinh Phu
*Hà Tây - annexed into Hà Nội since August 1, 2008.

External links

* [ Vietnam map]
* [ article]
* [ Decentralised Government in Vietnam] (Cardozo Electronic Law Bulletin)
* [ Gerrymanderingndash Vietnamese Style] ndash The Political Motivations behind the Creation of New Provinces in Vietnam


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