Laos Population

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Laos is 7,447,396, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 7,447,396
Population growth rate 1.44%
Birth rate 23.60 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 63.14 years
Men 61.20 years
Women 65.17 years
Age structure
0-14 years 32.19%
15-64 years 63.86%
65 years and above 3.95%
Median age 22.30 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.99
Population density 31.45 residents per km²
Urbanization 20.70%
49 ethnic groups in all: 55% Lao-Lum (Tal-Lao), 27% Lao-Theung (Mountain-Lao), 15% Lao-Soung (Hmong, Meo); Minorities of Chinese and others Thai
Buddhists 66.8% Christians 1.5% Animists and Other 31%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.604
HDI ranking 140th out of 194

People in Laos

The population in Laos is just under seven million people. Laos is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Asia. Since the mountain regions are difficult to access, most of them live in the lowlands of the Mekong River. 20 out of 100 people live in the country’s cities, which are not nearly as big as other Asian cities. Just 600,000 people live in the capital of the country Vientiane and that is already the largest city in Laos.

The population is roughly divided into three groups, whereby this division goes back to the colonial time of the country (compare also history and politics) and should only be used very carefully:

The Lao Loum live in the more densely populated lowlands of the country and 60 from 100 Laotians belong to this ethnic group. The Lao Theung inhabit the middle mountain areas. 20 out of 100 Laotians belong to this second ethnic group. They are among the oldest ethnic groups in Laos. In the mountainous part of Laos are the Lao Soungat home. This is the smallest tribe in Laos in terms of numbers. 10 out of 100 Laotians belong to this tribe. At one point their ancestors immigrated from southern China. This smaller ethnic group is again divided into many small tribes.

Conflicts between ethnic groups

But there are many other tribes besides these three very roughly subdivided. All tribes again have sub-tribes. The many ethnic groups do not always understand and get along well, so that time and again there were quarrels or serious conflicts between the individual ethnic groups.


The people in Laos are very poor. There is no insurance system like pension insurance, and medical care is very poor. Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world. For many children this means that they are not allowed to go to school and sometimes have to go hungry. You can read more about the life of children under “Everyday Life”.

Languages in Laos

Lao is very similar to Thai, the language spoken in Thailand. Both languages ​​belong to the same language family, so many Laotians understand and speak both languages. But if you don’t understand either one yourself, it becomes difficult to communicate in the country. In tourist regions, many people also speak English, but Laos is far from being as touristically conquered as Thailand. Therefore you should be prepared for the good old “hands-feet-language” when visiting.

Laos used to be part of French Indochina (see also History and Politics) and a colony of France. That is why you can still find many street names in French in the capital Vientiane. Older residents speak French rather than English, which, like everywhere else in the world, is becoming the language of commerce.

Since the country has opened up more to tourism, many people can speak English, at least in the big cities. Younger people who also went to school have a few bits of English, but often only verbally and very few only in written form.

Otherwise there are 80 tribal dialects and also the languages ​​of the immigrants such as Khmer, Vietnamese or Mandarin, all of which have also found a home in Laos.

In the following photos you can see people of different origins who all live in Laos.

Religions in Laos

60 out of 100 people in Laos live their Buddhist faith. It is a special type of Buddhism called Theravada Buddhism. All male Laotians spend a certain amount of time as monks. Usually young men who have just finished school and are not yet in professional life serve as monks. Besides the Buddhists there are also animists. There are few Muslims and Christians in Laos.

Laos Overview

Laos, a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including lush forests, meandering rivers, and mountainous terrain. The country is famed for its rich Buddhist heritage, with numerous temples and monasteries scattered across its picturesque countryside. Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is renowned for its well-preserved traditional architecture and serene atmosphere. Laos is also celebrated for its laid-back lifestyle, friendly people, and delicious cuisine, which often includes sticky rice, spicy soups, and fresh herbs.

State Facts of Laos:

  • Capital City: Vientiane
  • Population: Approximately 7.5 million
  • Area: Approximately 236,800 square kilometers
  • Full Country Name: Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  • Currency: Lao Kip (LAK)
  • Language: Lao
  • ISO Country Codes: LA, LAO, 418

Bordering Countries of Laos

Laos is a landlocked country located in Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos has a total land boundary of 4,639 km which includes 2,161 km with Myanmar, 1,936 km with China, 1,228 km with Vietnam and 314 km with Thailand.

Laos borders Myanmar to its northwest; this border is formed by a line drawn between Laos’s Bokeo Province and Myanmar’s Shan State. The two countries have had close ties since 1949 when they established diplomatic relations and have since worked towards strengthening their relationship through joint initiatives such as infrastructure projects within their shared boundaries.

To Laos’s east lies Vietnam; this border is formed by a line drawn between Laos’s Khammouan Province and Vietnam’s Nghe An Province. The two countries have had close ties since 1950 when they established diplomatic relations and have since worked towards improving their relationship through joint projects such as trade within their shared boundaries.

To Laos’s south lies Cambodia; this border is formed by a line drawn between Laos’s Champasak Province and Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Province. The two countries have had close ties since 1950 when they established diplomatic relations and have since worked towards improving their relationship through joint initiatives such as agricultural development within their shared boundaries.

Finally, Laos shares its western border with Thailand; this border is formed by a line drawn between Laos’s Ubon Ratchathani Province and Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom province. Both countries are working together for years now on issues such as transportation links within their shared borders of Ubon Ratchathani Province.


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