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Laos Main Page


People of Laos

Laos' population is increasing at an average of 2.5 percent each year, with the 2000 population estimates at over 5.2 million, with women outnumbering men. It is estimated that if Laos continues to grow at it's current rate, the it's population will almost double in the next 25 years.  

As life expectancy at birth is 55 years, only a small fraction of the population is over 60 years old and almost half of the remaining population (approximately 45 percent) under the age of 15.

The population density of Laos is the lowest in Asia, with about 21 people per square kilometer with the overwhelming majority of the population residing in rural areas.

There are about 49 ethnic groups in Laos with 4 main linguistic families that are found all across Lao with each comprising their own culture and traditions. These groups can be classified into three separate groups: approximately 56% in Lao Lum (Lowlanders), 34% in Lao Theung (uplanders), and 9% Lao Soung (hill tribes). (1993 estimate)

The linguistic families are Lao-Tai; Mone-Khmer; Tibeto-Burmese; and the Hmong-Ioumein.  The eight groups within the Lao-Tai family are - Gnaheune, Gnouane, Lao, Lue, Phouthai, Saek, Tai,  Thai Neua, and Young.

Mone-Khmer consists of 32 groups, among them are the Bid, Brao, Harak, Idou, Kabkae, Katang, Katou, Khmer, Khmu, Khom, Kri, Krieng, Lavy, Lamed, Makong, Meuang, Ngouane, Oi, Pray, Samtao, Singmou, Souai, Ta-oi, Thene, Toum, Trieng, Try, Yeh and Yrou.

Seven groups are within the Tibeto-Burmese family - Ahka, Hayi, Hor, Lahou, Lolo, Sila, and Singsali.  The Hmong-Ioumen family has two main ethnic groups comprising it - the Hmong and the Ioumein (Yao).

6,368,162 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
Age structure:
0-14 years: 40.8% (male 1,399,674/female 1,386,526)
15-64 years: 56.2% (male 1,900,638/female 1,938,165)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 90,144/female 119,198) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 20.7 years
male: 20.4 years
female: 21 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.712% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
Birth rate:
26.57 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
Death rate:
8.28 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
Net migration rate:
-1.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 160
urban population: 31% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 5.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 61.19 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 35
male: 67.36 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 54.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62 years
country comparison to the world: 181
male: 60.14 years
female: 63.94 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.22 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
5,500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 100 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008) (2009)
noun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
adjective: Lao or Laotian
Ethnic groups:
Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)
Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5% (2005 census)
Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73%
male: 83%
female: 63% (2005 Census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2008)
Education expenditures:
2.3% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 164


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