Laos Facts

Laos, State of Southeast Asian Peninsula; 236,800 km2, 7.1 million residents (2019).The Mekong, the peninsula’s largest river, forms most of Laos border with Thailand in the west, as does the border with Burma (Myanmar) in the northwest, while the highest parts of the Annamitic mountains make up most of the long border with Vietnam in the east. In the south, Laos has a short border with Cambodia and in the north a short border with China. The country is divided into 16 provinces and a prefecture, namely the metropolitan area of ​​Vientiane with 620,200 residents (2015).

Laos Country Flag

Country facts

  • Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao / Democratic People’s Republic of Laos
  • Country abbreviation: LA
  • Area: 236 800 km2
  • Population (2019): 7.1 million residents
  • Capital: Vientiane
  • Main language: lao
  • State: Republic
  • Head of State: Bounnhang Vorachit (President)
  • Head of Government: Thongloun Sisoulith
  • Per capita GDP (2018): US $ 2,568
  • GNI per capita (2018): US $ 2,460
  • Coin unit: 1 new chip = 100 at
  • Currency code: LAK
  • Country Dialing (Telephony): 856
  • Internet Domain Name: la
  • Time difference compared to Sweden: +6
  • National Day: December 2 (Proclamation of the People’s Republic, 1975)
  • Independence Day: July 21, 1954


  • Land use: forest (40%), agricultural land (4%), other (56%)
  • Highest mountain: Bia (2,820 m above sea level)
  • Longest river: Mekong (4,500 km)


  • Population density (2019): 30 residents per km2
  • Natural population growth (2019): 1.6%; birth rate 24 ‰, death rate 8 ‰
  • Age structure (2019): 0-14 years (33%), 15-64 (63%), 65- (4%)
  • Life expectancy (2019): men 64 years, women 67 years
  • Infant mortality (2019): 40 per 1,000 live births
  • Population forecast 2050: 10 million residents
  • HDI (2017): 0.601 (place 139 of 189)
  • Urbanization rate (2019): 35%
  • Most populous city (2015): Vientiane (620,200 residents)


  • Industry’s contribution to GDP (2017): agriculture (21%), industry (33%), service (46%)
  • Exports (2017): US $ 3 654 million
  • Main export products: wood products, coffee, electricity
  • Main exporting countries: Thailand, China, Vietnam
  • Imports (2017): US $ 4,976 million
  • Main import products: machinery, vehicles, fuel
  • Main importing countries: Thailand, China, Vietnam
  • Railway network: nothing in operation

The northern part of Lao is mountainous, while to the west of the mountain range are plateaus and plains, which descend towards the lowlands of the Mekong River. The country has a monsoon climate with warm and rainy weather during May – October and dry and slightly cooler weather during November – April.

Laos has a strong presidential power where the president is elected by the National Assembly. Elections to the National Assembly take place every five years. The Communist Laotian Revolutionary People’s Party is the only allowed party. Laos became independent in 1949.

Although the country is rich in natural resources such as wood, hydropower and minerals, it is still one of Asia’s least developed and most aid-dependent countries; aid represents about 15% of GDP. Agriculture is the main industry, but the importance of the industrial and service industries has increased during the reform policy of recent years. During the 2000s, the country has had a positive economic development, but it is mainly the metropolitan area and the Mekong River area that have taken part in economic growth.

Laos Map

Laos Map

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