Press Release

Lao PDR launches the final report of the 4th Lao Population and Housing Census

21 October 2016

Vientiane, 21 October 2016 – The Lao Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Planning and Investment released the final report of the 4th Population and Housing Census (PHC) 2015 which provides important data for the country socio-economic development. 

The enumeration for the 2015 PHC was conducted on 1st March 2015. Prior to this final report, the Provisional Report was released in December 2015. The Final Report that is launched today provides detailed data and presents the results in board categories of population and household characteristics, including spatial distribution of the population, age and sex composition, fertility, mortality, religion and ethnic composition, education and literacy, migration, economic activity, disability and housing conditions.

“The Population and Housing Census is the largest statistical operation in the country. A number of challenges were faced during the operation. However, the Lao Statistics Bureau has applied international standards and ensured the quality of the data through a number of processes,” said H.E. Mr. Samaychanh Boupha (PhD), Head of Lao Statistics Bureau, Vice Minister.

The success of the 4th PHC provides benefit to the country’s development. “The results from the 2015 PHC give us detailed demographic and socio-economic data to help planners at the national to the lowest administrative level to monitor and strengthen their plans and programmes towards LDC graduation and SDG achievements,” said H.E. Mr. Souphanh Keomixay (PhD), Minister of Planning and Investment.

The 2015 PHC results reported in today’s launch show both progress and challenges for the country development in particular geographic disparities. The results highlight the continuous growing in the number of total population in particular young population and working age group who are the main labour force of the country.

“Around 1 in 3 Lao people are between 10-24 years old and 64 per cent of the total population are in the working age group. This continues to provide Lao PDR a unique demographic window of opportunity to accelerate economic development. However, to maximize this potential, it is also required greater investments on young people both girls and boys who are the current and future labour force of the country,” said Ms. Frederkia Meijer, UNFPA Representative.

The final results of the 4th Population and Housing Census are timely as the Government strikes to localize SDGs and graduate from the LDC status. The data will allow the Government to prioritize and address disparities. Some of key highlights from the final report include:  

·         Total population is 6,492,228 million in 2015 increased from 5,621,982 million in 2005 of which 3,237,458 were females and 3,254,770 males.

·         Population growth, 1.45 per cent per year (2005-2015), decreased from 2.08 per cent (1995-2005).

·         Half of the population is under aged 25.

·         The average number of children per woman declined to 3.2 from 4.5 in 2005.

·         One in 3 people now live in urban areas but the rural population still represents a large majority of Lao population.

·         ents a large majorty of Lao population.but the rural population still represents a large majorty of Lao PDR'status.of the count

·         Vientiane Capital has the highest population density in the country, 209 people per square kilometer, nearly eight-fold higher than the national figure (27 people per square kilometer).

·         About 7 percent of the population aged 10 and above were considered migrant population.

·         Literacy rate of the Lao population aged 15 and over increased from 73 percent in 2005 to 85 percent in 2015, but with a large gender gap remains.

·         Nearly two-thirds were reported to be in the labour force. Sixty-nine percent of males are usually employed while 66 percent of females belong to that category.

·         The household size slightly reduced from 5.8 in 2005 to 5.3 in 2015.

·         Nearly 96 percent of households owned the house they lived in.

·         Eighty-six percent of households owned a cell phone, 80 percent owned a motorcycle and 75 percent owned agriculture land.

·         Eighty-four percent of households had access to electricity, 61 percent had access to safe water and 73 percent to improved sanitation facilities.

For the first time, the Government had provided around half of its funding to carry out the 2015 Population and Housing Census. It was carried out by the Lao Statistics Bureau under the leadership of the high-level National Steering Committee headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR, with support from UNFPA, Swiss Development Cooperation, World Bank, the Government of China and UNICEF.

Lao Statistics Bureau will continue to analyse PHC data in some areas in-depths including migration, fertility, youth, gender, disability and economic activity. In the upcoming years, a number of key statistics surveys will also be conducted to provide socio-economic data for the monitoring and implementation of national and sub-national plans and programmes. These include the new round of Lao Social Indicator Survey, Labour Force Survey, Economic Survey, Lao Expenditure and Consumption Survey and updated LaoInfo database.


Note to Editors:

Lao PDR conducts a Population and Housing Census every 10 years. The 2015 Population and Housing Census is the fourth in a series of decennial censuses conducted during the post-independence era. Previous censuses were carried out in 2005, 1995 and 1985.

Included in the census enumeration of 2015 are: all Lao citizens who usually reside in the country; Lao citizens who are temporary residing abroad; and citizens of foreign countries who reside in Laos at the time of the census.

As a source of data, population census has the unique distinction of being able to provide a complete count of the population, including their demographic and socio-economic characteristics. More notably, a census provides statistics at the lowest administrative areas which is not possible through sources like sample survey. Census data are, therefore, significant tools for planning, monitoring and evaluation of programmes, plans and policies at the national and provincial level.


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Duangchanh Vongnasythan                                                 

Programme Assistant, UNFPA Lao PDR

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Mobile: +856 20 9990 3355