Laos, at a Glance

Laos is one of the least developed countries ranking 140 out of 189 countries. (2019 United Nations Human development index).

33% of the population is under the age of 14.

23% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day (2019).

Agriculture, often subsistence agriculture, accounts for about half of GDP and provides 80% of total employment.

The percentage of the secondary school aged youth enrolled in school is 68%. The percentage of the population age 25 and younger with at least some secondary education is 46%.(2019)

The percentage of youth ages 15-24 not in school or employed is 42% (2019)

The primary school dropout rate is 19%. (2019)

With few villages/towns having lower secondary schools, students often move and live with relatives, on their own, in dormitories or at temples as novice monks to be able to continue their education.

Moderate to severe malnutrition and stunting affects 44% of children under age 5 (2019)

Books are rare in Laos, school texts are often unavailable and books are often cost prohibitive.

Laos has 68 different ethnic groups, divided into 3 or 4 major groups: Lao Loum (lowland) 53%, Lao Theung (upland) 23%, Lao Tai (Tai) 13%, Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong 10%, other 1%.

Life expectancy at birth is 67.6 years (2019).

Laos was the most heavily bombed country in the history of warfare. Even with clearance programs in place, unexploded ordinances will remain a problem for years to come.

Click to view large map image

map of Laos - click to view larger image