Statistical information Laos 2000Laos

Map of Laos | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

Laos in the World
Laos in the World

Laos - Introduction 2000
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Background: In 1975 the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy. Initial closer ties to Vietnam and socialization were replaced with a gradual return to private enterprise an easing of foreign investment laws and the admission into ASEAN in 1997.

Laos - Geography 2000
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Location: Southeastern Asia northeast of Thailand west of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates: 18 00 N 105 00 E

Map referenceSoutheast Asia

Comparative: slightly larger than Utah

Land boundaries

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)

Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus


Natural resources: timber hydropower gypsum tin gold gemstones
Land use

Land use

Irrigated land: 1250 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: floods droughts and blight

Note: landlocked

Laos - People 2000
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Population: 5,497,459 (July 2000 est.)
Growth rate: 2.5% (2000 est.)
Below poverty line: 46.1% (1993 est.)


Ethnic groups: Lao Loum (lowland) 68% Lao Theung (upland) 22% Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong ('Meo') and the Yao (Mien) 9% ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%

Languages: Lao (official) French English and various ethnic languages

Religions: Buddhist 60% (in October 1999 the regime proposed a constitutional amendment making Buddhism the state religion; the National Assembly is expected to vote on the amendment sometime in 2000) animist and other 40%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 2.5% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 38.29 births/1000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 13.35 deaths/1000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (2000 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 94.8 deaths/1000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total fertility rate: 5.21 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures


School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Laos - Government 2000
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Country name

Government type: Communist state

Capital: Vientiane

Administrative divisions: 16 provinces (khoueng singular and plural) 1 municipality* (kampheng nakhon singular and plural) and 1 special zone** (khetphiset singular and plural); Attapu Bokeo Bolikhamxai Champasak Houaphan Khammouan Louangnamtha Louangphabang Oudomxai Phongsali Salavan Savannakhet Viangchan* Viangchan Xaignabouli Xaisomboun** Xekong Xiangkhoang

Dependent areas

Independence: 19 July 1949 (from France)

National holiday: National Day 2 December (1975) (proclamation of the Lao People's Democratic Republic)

Constitution: promulgated 14 August 1991

Legal system: based on traditional customs French legal norms and procedures and Socialist practice

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (99 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; note - by presidential decree on 27 October 1997 the number of seats increased from 85 to 99)

Judicial branch: People's Supreme Court the president of the People's Supreme Court is elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee the vice president of the People's Supreme Court and the judges are appointed by the National Assembly Standing Committee

Political parties and leaders: Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [KHAMTAI Siphandon party president]; other parties proscribed

International organization participation: ACCT AsDB ASEAN CP ESCAP FAO G-77 IBRD ICAO ICRM IDA IFAD IFC IFRCS ILO IMF Intelsat (nonsignatory user) Interpol IOC ITU NAM OPCW PCA UN UNCTAD UNESCO UNIDO UPU WFTU WHO WIPO WMO WToO WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Laos: three horizontal bands of red (top) blue (double width) and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Laos - Economy 2000
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Economy overview: The government of Laos - one of the few remaining official communist states - began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results starting from an extremely low base were striking - growth averaged 7% in 1988-96. Since mid-1996 however reform efforts have slowed and the economy has suffered as a result. Because Laos depends heavily on its trade with Thailand it was further damaged by the regional financial crisis beginning in 1997. From June 1997 to June 1999 the Lao kip lost 87% and reached a crisis point in September 1999 when it fluctuated wildly falling from 3,500 kip to the dollar to 9,000 kip to the dollar in a matter of weeks. Now that the currency has stabilized however the government seems content to let the current situation persist despite 140% inflation in 1999 and limited foreign exchange reserves. A landlocked country with a primitive infrastructure Laos has no railroads a rudimentary road system and limited external and internal telecommunications. Electricity is available in only a few urban areas. Subsistence agriculture accounts for half of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. For the foreseeable future the economy will continue to depend on aid from the IMF and other international sources; Japan is currently the largest bilateral aid donor; aid from the former USSR/Eastern Europe has been cut sharply. As in many developing countries deforestation and soil erosion will hamper efforts to attain a high rate of GDP growth.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 5.2% (1999 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: sweet potatoes vegetables corn coffee sugarcane tobacco cotton; tea peanuts rice; water buffalo pigs cattle poultry

Industries: tin and gypsum mining timber electric power agricultural processing construction garments

Industrial production growth rate: 7.5% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 1 million - 1.5 million
By occupation: agriculture 80% (1997 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 5.7% (1997 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 46.1% (1993 est.)

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index


Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 140% (1999 est.)

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $271 million (f.o.b. 1999 est.)
Commodities: wood products garments electricity coffee tin
Partners: Vietnam Thailand Germany France Belgium

Imports: $497 million (f.o.b. 1999 est.)
Commodities: machinery and equipment vehicles fuel
Partners: Thailand Japan Vietnam China Singapore Hong Kong

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $2.32 billion (1997 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: new kips (NK) per US$1 - 7,674 (January 2000)7,102 (1999) 3,298 (1998) 1259.98 (1997) 921.02 (1996) 804.69 (1995)

Laos - Energy 2000
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 1.34 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity consumption: 514 million kWh (1998)

Electricity exports: 782 million kWh (1998)

Electricity imports: 50 million kWh (1998)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Laos - Communication 2000
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 1600 (1997)

Telephone system: service to general public is poor but improving with over 20,000 telephones currently in service and an additional 48,000 expected by 2001; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Laos - Military 2000
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $77 million (FY96/97)
Percent of gdp: 4.2% (FY96/97)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Laos - Transportation 2000
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 52 (1999 est.)

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: petroleum products 136 km

Railways: 0 km


Waterways: about 4,587 km primarily Mekong and tributaries; 2,897 additional km are sectionally navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m

Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Laos - Transnational issues 2000
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Disputes international: parts of the border with Thailand are indefinite

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: world's third-largest illicit opium producer (estimated cultivation in 1999 - 21,800 hectares a 16% decrease over 1998; estimated potential production in 1999 - 140 metric tons about the same as in 1998); potential heroin producer; transshipment point for heroin and methamphetamines produced in Burma; illicit producer of cannabis

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