Laos has more males than females, while the birth rate per woman has fallen, according to the final report on the 4th Population and Housing Census, which took place in March last year.
Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay officially announced the figures on Friday, with representatives from line ministries, provincial administrations and development partners in attendance.
Head of the Lao Statistics Bureau, Dr Samaychanh Boupha, highlighted the results of the census at a press conference.
“The figures recorded by the census show that Laos has a population of almost 6.5 million of whom 3,237,227 are female and 3,254,770 are male,” he said.
“We can see that there are more men than women, or we can say there are 101 men per 100 women.”
An expert from the bureau clarified the figures by saying the population stood at close to 6.5 million with 51 percent being male and 49 percent being female.
Prior to the final report, a provisional report was released last December. The report issued on Friday provides detailed data and presents the results for broad categories of the population and household characteristics, including spatial distribution of population, age and sex composition, fertility, mortality, religion and ethnic composition, education and literacy, migration and economic activity, disability, and housing conditions.
The figures showed a slowing of population growth over the past 10 years by an average of 1.45 percent a year, compared to an average growth rate of 2.08 percent over the years 1995 to 2005.
Fifty percent of the population is under 25, and the average number of children per woman has dropped to 3.2, down from 4.5 in 2005.
Rural inhabitants account for the large majority of the population with only one in three people living in urban areas. Vientiane has the highest population density, with 209 people on average for every square kilometre.
The density is nearly eight times higher than the national average figure of 27 people per sq km.
Dr Samaychanh remarked on the influx of rural people to urban areas, with the census showing that about 7 percent of people aged 10 and over could be considered to have migrated.
“The results indicate both progress and challenges to the country’s development, especially in terms of geographic disparities,” it was stated at the joint press conference given by the statistics bureau and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The figures highlighted the growth of the population as a whole, particularly the young working age group, who constitute the main workforce.
UNFPA Representative Ms Frederika Meijer said “Around one in three Lao people are between 10 and 24 years old and 64 percent of the total population is in the working age group. This continues to provide Laos with a unique demographic window of opportunity to accelerate economic development.”
“However, fulfilment of this potential requires greater investment in young people, both girls and boys, who are the current and future workforce of the country,” she added.
Source: Vientiane Times