Statistical information Laos 2001Laos

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

Laos in the World
Laos in the World

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Laos - Introduction 2001
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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 2001
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Location: Southeastern Asia northeast of Thailand west of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates: 18 00 N 105 00 E

Map referenceSoutheast Asia

Total: 236,800 km²
Land: 230,800 km²
Water: 6,000 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than Utah

Land boundaries
Total: 5,083 km
Border countries: (5) Burma 235 km; , Cambodia 541 km; , China 423 km; , Thailand 1,754 km; , Vietnam 2,130 km

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

Extremes lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
Extremes highest point: Phou Bia 2,817 m

Natural resources: timber hydropower gypsum tin gold gemstones
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 3%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 3%
Forests and woodland: 54%
Other: 40% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land
Note: rainy season irrigation - 2,169 km²; dry season irrigation - 750 km² (1998 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: floods droughts and blight

Note: landlocked

Laos - People 2001
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Population: 5,635,967 (July 2001 est.)
Growth rate: 2.48% (2001 est.)
Below poverty line: 46.1% (1993 est.)

Noun: Lao or Laotian
Adjective: Lao or Laotian

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% animist and other 40%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 42.75% (male 1,212,577; female 1,196,795)
15-64 years: 53.94% (male 1,494,927; female 1,544,851)
65 years and over: 3.31% (male 85,632; female 101,185) (2001 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 2.48% (2001 est.)

Birth rate: 37.84 births/1000 population (2001 est.)

Death rate: 13.02 deaths/1000 population (2001 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (2001 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
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.03 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male/female
Total population: 0.98 male/female (2001 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 92.89 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 53.48 years
Male: 51.58 years
Female: 55.44 years (2001 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.12 children born/woman (2001 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: 0.05% (1999 est.)
People living with hivaids: 1400 (1999 est.)
Deaths: 130 (1999 est.)

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 57%
Male: 70%
Female: 44% (1999 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Laos - Government 2001
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Country name
Conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
Conventional short form: Laos
Local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
Local short form: none

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: Republic Day 2 December (1975)

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
Chief of state: President Gen. KHAMTAI Siphandon (since 26 February 1998) and Vice President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since NA March 2001)
Head of government: Prime Minister BOUNGNANG Volachit (since NA March 2001); Deputy Prime Ministers THONGLOUN Sisolit (since NA March 2001), SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly
Elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 21 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister appointed by the president with the approval of the National Assembly for a five-year term
Election results: KHAMTAI Siphandon elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA%

Legislative branch
Elections: last held 21 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - LPRP or LPRP-approved (independent, non-party members) 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 ARF 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
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador VANG Rattanavong
In the us chancery: 2,222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 332-6,416
In the us fax: [1] (202) 332-4,923
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affairs Karen Brevard STEWART
From the us embassy: 19 Rue Bartholonie, B. P. 114, Vientiane
From the us mailing address: American Embassy, Box V, APO AP 96,546
From the us telephone: [856] (21) 212,581, 212,582, 212,585
From the us fax: [856] (21) 212,584

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 2001
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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% during 1988-97. Reform efforts subsequently slowed and GDP growth dropped an average of 3 percentage points. Because Laos depends heavily on its trade with Thailand it was damaged by the regional financial crisis beginning in 1997. Government mismanagement deepened the crisis and from June 1997 to June 1999 the Lao kip lost 87% of its value. Laos' foreign exchange problems peaked in September 1999 when the kip fell 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 limited government revenue and 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.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4% (2000 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: 51%
Industry: 22%
Services: 27% (1999 est.)

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 tourism

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
Lowest 10: 4.2%
Highest 10: 26.4% (1992)

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $211 million
Expenditures: $462 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY98/99 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 33% (2000 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: $323 million (f.o.b. 2000 est.)
Commodities: wood products garments electricity coffee tin
Partners: Vietnam Thailand Germany France Belgium

Imports: $540 million (f.o.b. 2000 est.)
Commodities: machinery and equipment vehicles fuel
Partners: Thailand Japan Vietnam China Singapore Hong Kong

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $2.46 billion (1998 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: kips per US dollar - 7,578 (December 2000) 7,102 (1999) 3,298 (1998) 1259.98 (1997) 921.02 (1996)

Laos - Energy 2001
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 792 million kWh (1999)
By source fossil fuel: 2.78%
By source hydro: 97.22%
By source nuclear: 0%
By source other: 0% (1999)

Electricity consumption: 173.6 million kWh (1999)

Electricity exports: 705 million kWh (1999)

Electricity imports: 142 million kWh (1999)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Laos - Communication 2001
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 4,915 (1997)

Telephone system
General assessment: 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
Domestic: radiotelephone communications
International: satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region)

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .la

Internet users: 2000 (2000)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Laos - Military 2001
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $55 million (FY98)
Percent of gdp: 4.2% (FY96/97)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Laos - Transportation 2001
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 51 (2000 est.)
With paved runways total: 8
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 5
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2 (2000 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 43
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 17
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 25 (2000 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 8
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 5
914 to 1523 m: 2 (2000 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 43
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 17
Under 914 m: 25 (2000 est.)


Pipelines: petroleum products 136 km

Railways: 0 km


Note: primarily Mekong and tributaries; 2,897 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m

Merchant marine
Total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,370 GRT/3,000 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 1 (2000 est.)

Ports and terminals

Laos - Transnational issues 2001
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Disputes international: parts of the border with Thailand are indefinite

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

Austrian Airlines

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