Laos Demographics

What is the population of Laos?

Population 7,447,296
Population Growth Rate 1.63%
Urban Population 34.3%
Population in Major Urban Areas VIENTIANE (capital) 810,000
Nationality Noun Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
Nationality Adjective Lao or Laotian
Ethnic Groups Lao Loum (lowland) 68%, Lao Theung (upland) 22%, Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong and the Yao 9%, ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%
Languages Spoken Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages
Language Note <p>Some ethnic minority languages have never been codified in written form. A small percentage of older people and those who attended high school prior to 1975 speak French, which has been the language of international commerce in the past. Some English is spoken.</p><p> The official language is Lao, the native language of the lowland Lao which is used in all official communications and taught in schools. Other main languages include Thai, Hmong, and midland Lao.</P

Laos Health Information

What are the health conditions in Laos?

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 38.4%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 7.86
Diseases - 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
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 64.9%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 28.5%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 83.7%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 2.8%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.2%
HIV/Aids Deaths 400
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population .7
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 50.11
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 61.91
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 56.13
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk very high
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 470
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 2.6%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 8,500
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .19
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 35.4%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 90.4%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 50.5%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.98
Underweight - percent of children under five years 31.6%
Vectorborne Disease (s) dengue fever and malaria

Laos Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Laos?

Life Expectancy at Birth 63 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 65 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 61 Years
Median Age 21 Years
Median Age - female 21 Years
Median Age - male 21 Years

Laos Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Laos median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 25
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 7.86
Median Age 21 Years
Median Age - female 21 Years
Median Age - male 21 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -1.12
Population Growth Rate 1.63%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.02
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female .99
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .97
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .99
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .99
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .82

Laos Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Laos?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities and services in Laos are limited and do not meet Western standards. In Vientiane, U.S. citizens may wish to contact the Primary Care Center, also known as the Centre medical de L’Ambassade de France (CMAF), which is supported by the French Embassy. The CMAF is located on Khou Vieng Road across the street from the Green Park Hotel, tel. 856-21-214-150, or 856-20-5558-4617, or email. The Australian government also supports a fee-for-service clinic located at the Australian Embassy, which is located at Kilometer 4 on Thadeua Road, tel. 21-353-840. Both facilities have well-trained physicians who can handle routine and urgent health problems and provide travel medicine services. The Alliance Clinic, operated by the Wattana Hospital group from Thailand, is located in the Honda building near the airport. It has basic clinical services provided by Thai physicians.

U.S. citizens in Laos often seek medical care in Thailand. The Friendship Bridge linking Vientiane, Laos, to Nong Khai, Thailand, is open daily 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Officials generally will allow travelers to cross after hours in cases of medical emergency. AEK International Hospital (tel: 66-42-342-555) and North Eastern Wattana General Hospital, both in Udorn, Thailand (tel: 66-1-833-4262), have English-speaking staff accustomed to dealing with foreign patients. Ambulances for both AEK International Hospital and Nong Khai Wattana Hospital have permission to cross the Friendship Bridge to collect patients from Vientiane. In Vientiane, the Setthatirat Hospital ambulance (tel: 021-413-720) can take patients to Thailand. The Department of State assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or reputation of these hospitals.

Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a problem throughout Southeast Asia. Please be aware of this problem and purchase pharmaceuticals only through the most reputable pharmacies and with a physician’s prescription.

Avian influenza (H5N1) continues to be a concern in Laos. In Laos and other Southeast Asian countries affected by avian influenza, you should avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals.

Laos Education

What is school like in Laos?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 2.8%
Literacy - female 55.5%
Literacy - male 77.4%
Literacy - total population 68.7%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 10 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 11 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 10 Years

Laos Literacy

Can people in Laos read?

Literacy - female 55.5%
Literacy - male 77.4%
Literacy - total population 68.7%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages

Laos Crime

Is Laos a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Laos generally has a low rate of violent crime, but you should remain aware of your surroundings and exercise appropriate security precautions. Residential burglary is commonplace. The number of thefts and assaults in Laos has increased, and some have turned violent. Sexual assaults do occur in Laos. You should exercise caution, particularly after dark, at roadside restaurants, bars, and stalls. Foreigners are often victims of purse snatchings while they are dining or riding bicycles or motorcycles. Please be careful when carrying purses, bags, and other personal items.

Local law enforcement responses to crimes, even violent crimes, are often limited. Foreigners attempting to report crimes have reported finding police stations closed, emergency telephone numbers unanswered, or policemen lacking transportation or authorization to investigate crimes that occur at night. If you move to Laos, please contact the U.S. Embassy Vientiane for security information.

If you travel to Vang Vieng, be aware that some tourists have been robbed and sexually assaulted in that area. Many restaurants in the Vang Vieng area offer menu items, particularly “pizzas,” “shakes,” or “teas,” that may contain unknown substances or opiates. These products are often advertised as “happy” or “special” items. These unknown substances or opiates can be dangerous, causing serious illness or even death. Travelers in Vang Vieng have been fined and detained for purchasing, possessing, or using illegal substances. In recent years, foreigners, including U.S. citizens, have died in Laos after using illegal drugs, such as methamphetamines, opium, or heroin. The potency of some of these drugs can be several times that of similar substances found in the United States.

Please exercise caution on overnight bus trips, particularly on buses travelling to/from Vietnam. The Embassy has received reports of scams and thefts of personal belongings on these trips.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.

Laos Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Laos, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. There are also some things that might be legal in Laos, but still illegal in the United States. For example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with minors or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Laos, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Arrest notifications in Laos: If you are arrested in Laos, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the Embassy.

Laos Population Comparison

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