Much of what is now Bình Thuận Province was part of the Cham principality of Panduranga, which had its political centre in neighbouring Ninh Thuận Province. It was the last independent principality after the fall of Vijaya in 1471. Bình Thuận was later incorporated into Vietnam, while Ninh Thuận remained independent longer, until 1832. Before 1976, Bình Thuận Province was much smaller because much of the west was in the separate Bình Tuy Province). Bình Tuy, Bình Thuận and Ninh Thuận were merged in 1976 to form Thuận Hải Province. It was divided again into Ninh Thuận and Binh Thuận in 1991, while Bình Tuy remained part of Bình Thuận Province.
Bình Thuận borders Lâm Đồng Province in the north, Ninh Thuận Province in the north-east, and Đồng Nai and Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu provinces in the west. Much of the borders with Lâm Đồng and Ninh Thuận are mountainous, while much of the rest of the province is relatively flat. However, there are several hills with a height of at least 200m along the coast of the province. The highest peak in the province (1548m) is in northwestern Tánh Linh District, near Lâm Đồng. Phú Quý island is located around 120 km south-east of Phan Thiết. It is a separate district. There are several much smaller island off the coast of Bình Thuận, including Cau Island (cù lao Cau) in the east, Lao Island (hòn Lao) at Mũi Né, and Bà Island (hòn Bà) in the west.
Bình Thuận has several rivers mostly originating in the province itself or in the highlands of neighbouring Lâm Đồng Province. Most flow into the East Vietnam Sea. Some of the major rivers are the Luy River (Sông Luỹ) in the east, the Cai River (Sông Cái) in the centre, and the Dinh River (Sông Dinh) in the west. La Ngà River (Sông La Ngà) flows through four districts in the north-west of the province and is a major tributary of the Đồng Nai River. The largest lake is Song Quan Lake (hồ Sông Quán) in the centre of the province around 30 km north of Phan Thiết. Another major lake is Biển Lạc in the northwest region of the province.
As of 2007, 50% of the province (394,100ha) are covered with forests, which is high compared to most other provinces of the South Central Coast region. Forests are mostly located in the province's mountainous regions in the northwest and northeast. Despite its large forested area, the province also has a lot of agricultural land. 284,200ha were used for agriculture in 2007, which is the largest figure among all provinces of the central coast regions (both North Central and South Central).
Bình Thuận is one of the most arid provinces in Vietnam. Much of the province receives less than 800mm of rain per year. The months from November to April are particularly dry, with less 200mm of rain. It has reserves of arsenic in the north-western mountains and titanium along its western coast.
Bình Thuận had a population of 1,170,700 people in 2007. The population grew by 1.35% per year on average between 2000 and 2007. Growth was particularly strong in the cities and towns at 4.42% per year on average. As a result, urbanisation increased from 30.4% in 2000 to 37.5% in 2007, making it one of the most urbanized provinces of the South Central Coast (after Khánh Hòa Province). Population density ranges from around 1000/km2 in Phan Thiết to less than 100/km2 in the districts of Bắc Bình, Hàm Tân, Hàm Thuận Nam, and Tánh Linh.
Apart from the majority Kinh, there are several ethnic minorities in the province. Some Cham communities are in the coastal regions of eastern Bình Thuận. Other minorities mainly inhabit the mountainous regions along the border to Lâm Đồng Province. They include Cơ Ho and Ra Glai.
Bình Thuận is subdivided into 10 district-level sub-divisions:
1 district-level town:La Gi
1 provincial city:Phan Thiết (capital)
They are further subdivided into 12 commune-level towns (or townlets), 96 communes, and 19 wards.
Cham names for Cham villages in Bình Thuận Province are as follows (Sakaya 2014:757-758).
Bình Thuận had a GDP per capita of 11 million VND in 2007, which is the third highest in the South Central Coast after Đà Nẵng and Khánh Hòa Province, and slightly higher than the regional average of 10.8 million. The economy has been the fastest growing in the South Central Coast with an average yearly growth of almost 14% from 2000 to 2007, with growth of all three sectors of the economy significantly exceeding the regional average. Agriculture, forestry and fishing had an average growth of 7.4%, industry 21.6%, and services 15.4%.
Bình Thuận is a relatively large producer of rice. 434,600 t were harvested in 2007. This is a significant increase from 2000 (321,500 t), although the area used for growing rice did not increase significantly (93,100 ha to 96,400 ha). Roughly one third of the province's agricultural land is used to cultivate rice, less than many other provinces.
Bình Thuận has increased the area used for some crops significantly over the last few years, including rubber, pepper, and cashew nuts, while cultivation of sugar-cane and sweet potatoes has been shrinking. There are large fishing grounds off the coast of Bình Thuận and around Phú Quý island, including shrimp, squid, and tuna. However, their contribution to the local economy is relatively small compared to agriculture. Forestry has made a very small contribution to the economy of the province and its growth has been slow from 2000 to 2007. The largest increase has actually been in forest cultivation rather than exploitation of forest products.
Bình Thuận's industry has been booming in the first years of the 21st century, with average an average growth rate of 21.6% until 2007. Bình Thuận's industrial development is currently facing problems of land management. Licensed industrial parks have been found to overlap with titanium reserves and their development may be delayed as a result. The province has seen a decline in state industry from 2000 to 2007. The private sector now makes up most of industrial output and even the foreign-invested sector has overtaken state-owned industry. Despite its spectacular growth, industry was not able to absorb much of the growth of the labour force. It created 17,200 new jobs between 2000 and 2007, while the slower growing service sector created 44,100 and even agriculture, forestry and fishing created 57,600 jobs.
Bình Thuận is located along Vietnam's main north-south transport corridors. National Route 1A runs through the province, connecting 6 out of the province's 10 districts to the rest of the country. Bình Thuận's main railway station along the North–South Railway is Mương Mán Railway Station, located around 10 km north-west of Phan Thiết. Four smaller railway station are in the city of Phan Thiết and the eastern part of the province.
The province is connected to the Central Highlands by two national roads: 28 from Phan Thiết to Di Linh, Lâm Đồng Province and Đắk Nông Province and 55 from Vũng Tàu to La Gi and Bảo Lộc, Lâm Đồng Province. Bình Thuận does not have an airport; the nearest commercial airport is located near Đà Lạt.
Ham Thuan hydro-power plant is located in the north-west of the province. Bình Thuận is the site of several new energy projects and will be important for Vietnam's diversification away from hydro-power. Bình Thuận has significant potential for wind power generation, estimated at 3000MW. The wind power project in Tuy Phong District, Bình Thuận Province was set to be hooked up to the national electricity grid by 2009. The large wind energy project is expected to help boost regional socio-economic development and pave the way for further exploitation of renewable energy sources in the country. Located on Highway 1A, the section running through Bình Thuận Commune, the Wind Power Plant 1 is about 300 meters from the coast. This is an arid area usually short in rainfall but abundant in wind. Other wind power projects are in preparation, with 12 licenses issued as of August 2010. However, the land for many of these projected overlaps with land with rich titanium reserves. These overlaps have remained unresolved for several years.
A thermoelectric plant is under construction in Tuy Phong District in the east of the province. It is a cooperation of EVN and Chinese investors and projected to generate 1200MW of electricity.