The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, also known as Laos, is located in Southeast Asia. Laos shares its borders with Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

  • Population: 6,645,800
  • Life Expectancy: 68 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 70%
  • School Enrollment: 97%
  • Land Mass: 91,428 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 73%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 72/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 1,260

Facts about Laos

Economic Development

Laos remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. A third of the population lives on less than $1 a day, and another third lives on less than $2 a day. There is also a growing income inequality in Laos.

Child Protection

Laos is one of the world’s most heavily bombed countries, with many areas still containing unexploded ordinances (UXO) that threaten the safety of farmers.

Food & Agriculture

Agriculture is the most important livelihood activity; 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas, but only 4 percent of the total land area is suitable for cultivating crops. Many rely on fragile forest and water resources that are threatened by commercial development.


Half of the population is under 20. Unfortunately, much of the country’s population has limited education, and many are ill-equipped to find employment.

Laos flag


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World Vision in Laos Today

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Laos to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision is working in six out the country’s 18 provinces. Highlights include:

  • Creating services that allow mothers to enjoy better health.
  • Better protecting children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence.
  • Improving food security, self-sufficiency, and resilience for households.
  • Improving the quality and access of education for children.

World Vision History in Laos

World Vision began work in Laos in 1969, but was forced to suspend relief and child sponsorship work at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. World Vision resumed work in 1981, and opened an office there in 1991. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

  • Increasing access to healthcare in rural areas by building a clinic and several hospitals during the 1980s.
  • Providing emergency relief to southern communities affected by drought in 1990.
  • Improving care for disabled people and providing them with prostheses during the 1990s.
  • Focusing on improvements in food security, education, healthcare, economic development, and water and sanitation since the beginning of the 21st century.

Geography & People

Geography and people

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, also known as Laos, is located in Southeast Asia. Laos shares its borders with Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

One of the longest rivers in the world, the Mekong, forms much of the western border with Thailand and flows for nearly 1,000 miles through Laos. Mountains cover most of the terrain. The tropical monsoon climate has a rainy and a dry season.

Natural resources include timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, and gemstones.

The Lao people make up over half of the population, with over 100 other ethnic groups making up the rest of the population. Lao is the official language of the country; Laotians also speak French, English, and a variety of ethnic languages.

About 80 percent of Laotians work in agriculture. Some crops that they grow include sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, and sugarcane.

Laotians value courtesy and respect; they try not to criticize an individual in front of others. They take a relaxed attitude towards life and enjoy each moment as it comes, despite the problems that they face.


Laos gained independence from France around 1953. Conflict between Laos and the communist Pathet Lao group from North Vietnam during the 1960s ended in a coalition government.

The conflict between the United States and North Vietnam during the 1960s and early 1970s left Laos devastated by heavy bombing. In 1975, Pathet Lao invaded Laos and renamed the country the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Laos’ government began a return to private enterprise and economic reform in the late 1980s. A new constitution in 1991 allowed for government elections, but the country has retained a mainly one-party government so far. Laos joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1997.

Prayer Requests for Laos

  • Please pray for the people of Laos and for peace and stability in their country, particularly through improved quality of education, food security for households, and increased access to education for children.