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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Doctor of Philosophy
Title The Consequences of the Vietnam War on the Vietnamese Population
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
URL http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0sh7j7s9#page-143
The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the demographic and socioeconomic consequences
of wars, using the case of the Vietnam War and its effects on the Vietnamese
population. Using mainly the 1989 and 1999 census microdata, it focuses on the effects of
the last ten years of the Vietnam War (or the “American War”) from 1965 to 1975, characterized
by the escalation of the war with a large presence of American troops in Vietnam
and extensive aerial bombings by the United States.
The dissertation consists of two descriptive chapters and two analytical chapters. In the
first descriptive chapter, I summarize existing estimates of mortality in Vietnam covering
the period before, during, and after the war. I find evidence of increased mortality among
young men during wartime, but raised mortality among children and the general population
is not observed. Next, I examine whether the Vietnamese population age and sex structure
show evidence of the war’s imprints. Indeed, the 1989 and 1999 Vietnamese censuses reveal
that the war left a mark on the cohorts that were in their 20s and 30s during 1965-1975, by
reducing their numbers relative to their surrounding cohorts and by skewing the sex ratios.
In the first analytical chapter, I examine marriage patterns in Vietnam between 1979
and 1999 using census data. Using a marriage squeeze index that applies the age-specific
probability of first marriage estimated using the Coale-McNeil marriage model to the population,
I show that Vietnam experienced a severe marriage squeeze in 1979 and 1989, but
the squeeze had been alleviated by 1999. Furthermore, the dissertation investigates the
relationship between the marriage squeeze and two war-related causes of the squeeze: excess
male mortality and emigration. While the relationship between excess male mortality
and the marriage squeeze was not observed, the results indicate that disproportionate male
emigration is likely to be a major factor in bringing about the marriage squeeze.

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