In our interest in bringing readers more nuanced and macro-related content on Vietnam, we’ll be periodically posting articles with graphs and charts that would give you a peek into data about Vietnam. We know that data these days along with human stories are what drive our opinions about topics and places. So why not do the same for Vietnam?

In 2016, The World Bank and Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment issued out a 409-page report on Vietnam. The title? Vietnam 2035. It’s a mammoth of a piece but it’s got some interesting nuggets of information, charts, and graphs that give some insight into Vietnam as an evolving nation. We’ll be picking at this report here and there, but let’s start with one telling chart:

Income per capita growth in Vietnam

Found on Page 102 of the World Bank report, this chart outline the best case scenarios for Vietnam’s GDP per capita growth. In terms of GDP per capita, Vietnam still lags behind many of its larger Southeast Asian neighbors. Vietnam’s GDP per capita pushing past the $4,000 mark would be a significant milestone, possibly indicating a certain maturity in its economy.

Indeed, despite Vietnam being a laggard to its Eastern Asian brethren, this hasn’t stopped the growing middle class from tallying up a much larger PPP (Purchasing Power Parity). In other words, Vietnam’s middle class loves to spend. They like to spend more than what they have and/or more than they declare. But that’s the topic for another article.