What can Vietnam's Population and Housing Census Data tell us about profound socio-economic transformations among the most marginalised communities of upland Vietnam? This paper analyses new quantitative data to grapple with the intersections between widespread Hmong Protestant conversion over the past 35 years, migration pathways, educational attainment and economic development indicators. Quantitative data analysis reveals some significant trends which corroborate previous qualitative fieldwork. Firstly, Hmong Protestantism is associated with distinct migration routes down to the Central Highlands or to more remote areas of the Northwest highlands, suggesting an intentional distancing from state influence. Secondly, Hmong Protestants exhibit different rural livelihoods dynamics with regard to crop diversification and household economic practices. Thirdly, while non-Protestant Christians engage to a greater degree in formal education, unschooled Christians have relatively higher levels of literacy. This all points to the salience of what we call ‘alternative routes to development’ among different sectors of the Hmong population in Vietnam, which may be differentiated by both religious and geographical factors.