How remote are Vietnam’s ethnic minorities? An analysis of spatial patterns of poverty and inequality


This paper investigates whether physical accessibility or ethnicity is a stronger determinant of poverty in Vietnam. Spatially disaggregated welfare indexes for population subgroups show that overall inequality is shaped by an urban–rural welfare divide, closely followed in importance by sharp welfare differences between ethnic groups. Accessibility to urban areas is a weaker determinant of poverty. The findings have important implications for the targeting of rural development investments. Addressing the factors isolating ethnic minorities from the mainstream economy is likely to be a more useful strategy in reducing rural poverty and inequality than simple geographic targeting.

The Annals of Regional Science