Vietnam does not have a large area, of which the natural land area is nearly 33 million hectares (about 330,000 km2). However, it is a fairly populous country with many ethnic groups.


The population of the whole country in 2019 is 97,612,217 people, including 54 ethnic groups. Of all the groups, The Kinh people account for more than 86% of the national population while the rest are 53 ethnic minorities. Each ethnic group is a community defined on the basis of a combination of 3 basic criteria including Language, cultural activities, and self-awareness.

In Vietnam today, there are only 5 ethnic groups (Viet, Tay, Thai, Muong and Khmer) with a population of one million or more. Many ethnic groups have a very small population. There are 17 ethnic groups with a population of less than 10,000 and 5 ethnic groups with a population of less than 1,000 even some ethnic groups are only 300 – 400 people, only living in one main village (Brau people). 

Language and script


54 ethnic groups living in the country of Vietnam have their own language and unique traditional culture while 24 ethnic groups have their own scripts such as Thai, Mong, Tay, Nung, Khmer, Giarai, Ede, Khmer, and Cham. The scripts of some ethnic minorities can be listed as Thai, Chinese, Khmer, Cham, Ede, Tay – Nung, and Co Ho.

Vietnamese is chosen as the common language for ethnic groups. In the educational system from kindergarten to university level, Vietnamese is a common language and a tool to impart knowledge. It is also a tool of communication and state management of ethnic groups in the territory of Vietnam.


Vietnamese script today was originated in the 17th century when a group of European missionaries represented by missionary Alexandre de Rhodes introduced a letter based on the Latin alphabet. After that, Vietnamese script was increasingly developed and become the official script of Vietnam in the early twentieth century.