The gap in people’s living standards between urban and rural areas and the rich and the poor remains huge, a seminar heard in Hanoi on March 4.

Statistics released at the event, jointly held by the General Statistics Office (GSO) and the World Bank, show that the monthly income of urban residents in 2012 stood at 3 million VND (141 USD) on average while a rural resident earned only 1.6 million VND per month.

The group of the country’s poorest people pocketed an average 512,000 VND per month, up 38.5 percent over the figure recorded in 2010, while the richest collected an average of 4.8 million VND, representing an increase of 40 percent against their earnings two years earlier.

According to the GSO’s deputy head Tran Thi Hang, the office has always strived to raise the quality of information in the service of both domestic and foreign agencies.

She stressed the need to make it easier for data users and encourage the use of figures at State agencies, research institutes and universities in order to promote the role of studies on people’s living standards.

Sandeep Mahajan, a WB economist, described the survey on residents’ living standards as a main tool for the bank as well as Vietnamese policy makers and researchers to fulfill their tasks, noting such important data should be supplemented each year.

The annual survey aims to assess people’s living standards in various fields ranging from earnings and spending to education, healthcare, environment, electricity and water.-VNA