Thanks to its strategic position, HCM City is the meeting place of many
ethnic groups from the North, Central and South of Vietnam through
different periods of time. The city has so many resources that it can
provide many opportunities for the migrants from all over Vietnam.
The city is a place where the majority Kinh people, through a long
period of time, have associated with and lived in harmony with many
other peoples. Citizens also comprise Chinese, Cham, Khmer peoples, and
members of the Tay, Muong, Nung, Thai, Meo, Han, Cao Lan, Sau Diu, Tho,
and Man ethnic groups that have long been at home in Vietnam. Members of
peoples from the Central Highlands are represented, too, especially the
Gia Rai, Ede, Bana, Sedang, Stieng, Van Kieu, Churu and others. They
live peacefully with the Kinh people and add to the cultural and
economic diversity of HCM City.
Of the more than five million city dwellers, minority ethnic groups make
up about one million people. People of Chinese heritage make the largest
of the minority groups. The city is home to about 50% of all Chinese in
Vietnam. About 12% of city residents are of Chinese origin, and District
5 is the Chinese center in HCM City.
During the war for reunification, a large number of soldiers and workers
from the U.S., France, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan,
Thailand and others lived in Saigon. Therefore, many families in what
was known as Saigon-Gia Dinh have links to a variety of countries,
religions and social groups. In the community of Saigon-Gia Dinh, the
Kinh people make the largest group. In the 1960s, the city had 1,423,500
Kinh people, 77% of the 1,800,000 city dwellers.
In 1954, about 33,000 northerners �went South� to settle in the areas of
Saigon-Gia Dinh and Cholon. Among them, 75% were Catholics from Bac
Ninh, Bui Chu, Phat Diem, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Hung Hoa, Lang Son, Thai
Binh, Thanh Hoa, Vinh and other provinces. They concentrated on the
outskirts of Saigon like Tan Binh (40% of the population and within 12
wards), Go Vap (10 wards), Phu Nhuan (5 wards), Binh Thanh (every ward).
In 1959, 1960 and especially 1963, when the political situation in the
Central of Vietnam was getting more and more severe, many Kinh people
moved to HCM City. People from Quang Nam Province moved to the Bay Hien
area while people from Binh Dinh and Thua Thien provinces moved to
poorer areas of Co Giang, Khanh Hoi, Ban Co and so on.
Kinh people from Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Nai, An Xuyen (Bac Lieu), Ba
Xuyen (Soc Trang), Long Xuyen and others also moved to HCM City as a
heaven during the unrest at that time. After the war, very few settlers
returned to their home districts.
HCM City is therefore a melting pot of all kinds of peoples. They get
along well with each another by following the �Solidarity, Mutual
Assistance, and Equality� motto of the Party.