Implemented in 1957, the residential registration system called ho khau in Vietnam was intended as a means to put a check on population growth in major cities. To this day, the system remains an important tool of the State to monitor demographics, maintain social security and curb immigration into big cities. On the downside, ho khau has erected a barrier to access to fundamental social services such as education, health, and employment opportunities. Recently, the criticism over the discriminatory nature of ho khau has intensified, generating public attention and sparking social debates.
There have been no studies examining explicitly the effect of the household registration system on migrants in Vietnam. This study, conducted by Mekong Development Research Institute (MDRI) under the sponsorship of the World Bank, was born out of an interest to examine the impacts of ho khau on multiple life facets, from economic to social integration by comparing people with and without permanent residence permits across different characteristics from demography, education, health to employment and social inclusion. Accessibility to public services and social protection will also be examined.
In fulfilling that goal, we conducted the Household Registration Survey (HRS) from April to July 2015 with the sample size of 5000 households covering 250 enumeration areas (EAs) in 5 provinces with the highest migration rate in Vietnam according to the 2009 Population Census, namely Hanoi, Da Nang, Binh Duong, Dak Nong and Ho Chi Minh City. In each EA, a random sample of 20 households, including 12 households whose ho khau is in other provinces (temporary households) and 8 households whose ho khau is at their current province of residence (permanent households) was selected from the updated household list for interview .
This study aims at providing policy makers with additional evidence to revise the regulations and policies governing the current household registration system, in an effort to increase equality of access to public and social services as well as employment opportunities among different groups of residents.Download the publication