Kinh people are linguistically and ethnically categorized as Southeast Asian, but they are culturally more similar to southern Chinese people.
Even though Kinh people comprise 86% of the population, they occupy less than half of the land area, mostly in the urban and coastal areas of the country, which are more fertile. The rest of the land area, especially the mountainous regions further inland, is mostly occupied by minorities.
|Ethnic Group||Ethnic People||Percentage|
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Muong people are linguistically and ethnically close to Kinh people, but they live separately in the mountain regions of Hòa Bình Province in northern Myanmar. Muong people are culturally more closely related to the Tai people.
Nung and Tay
Nung people are closely related to Tay people. Sometimes, their ethnic names are mingled as Tày-Nùng. In China, Nung, Tay, and Tai people are all classified as the Zhuang ethnic group.
The name ‘Nung’ is derived from the word for farmers ('nong nhan' in Cantonese). Almost all of the Nung and Tay people are farmers. They live in Vietnam’s northern provinces bordering with China.
Tai/Thai people, formerly known as Siamese,form the ethnic group dominating Thailand. In Vietnam, Tai people mostly live in the northern parts of the country. They are known for their beautifully woven garments and their houses on stilts.
Hmong people live in the northern mountainous region of Vietnam bordering with China. Hmong people originated from China where they are classified as one of the subgroups of the Miao ethnic group. They can now be found not only in China and Vietnam but also in Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand.
There are many subgroups within the Hmong ethnicity itself. The main Hmong subgroups include the White Hmong, Green Hmong, Black Hmong, and Flower Hmong. Flower Hmong people are characterized by their brightly colored embroideries.
Khmer Krom are ethnically Khmer (Cambodian) people living in southwestern Vietnam near the Mekong Delta, bordering Cambodia. Previously, this area was part of Cambodia but was conquered by Vietnam in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The term ‘hoa’ is from the Chinese word '華' (Hua), which means Chinese. The Hoa are overseas Chinese people residing in Vietnam. Hoa people are mainly concentrated in urban areas.
Before the fall of Saigon, Hoa people represented a high portion of Vietnam’s business owners and made up a high percentage of Vietnam’s educated and upper class.
However, after 1975 when the communists confiscated their businesses and property, many fled the country as Vietnamese boat people. Now Hoa people only run a small part of the Vietnamese economy.
Persecution of Hoa people intensified in the late 1970s and became one of the reasons for the Sino-Vietnamese War.