The number of the poor in Hanoi will double, to about 700,000, when the new poverty standard becomes effective during the 2011-15 period.

According to the new standard, which was approved by the municipal People's Committee, poor households are categorised as those with an average income that is less than 750,000 VND (38 USD) per person per month in urban areas and 550,000 VND (28 USD) in rural areas.

The new level is about 200,000 VND (10 USD) higher than the current category.

Average income levels for households near the poverty line will be between 38.5 – 51 USD in urban areas and 28-38 USD in rural areas.

The municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs estimated that with the new standard the capital city would have more than 148,000 poor households and nearly 61,500 households living near the poverty line, which account for 3.98 percent of the population.

Deputy chairman of the municipal People's Committee Phi Thai Binh said the city would need about 5 trillion VND (256 million USD) for anti-poverty programmes in the next five years to bring the capital's poverty rate down to 2 percent by 2015.

"An increasing amount of impoverished citizens would create many challenges, especially with financial resource in the future," said head of the city's Labour Department Nguyen Dinh Duc.

"We will have to mobilise resources from businesses and individuals to help reduce the capital's poverty rate by at least 1.8-2 percent each year," said Duc.

With current regulations that were applied during the 2009-2013 period, 4.48 percent of the city's population (nearly 7 million) are impoverished. 8.43 percent of households in the capital were impoverished during the beginning of 2009./.