Useful country information
Total area: 91,428 sq mi (236,800 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 6,803,699 (growth rate: 1.59%); birth rate: 24.76/1000; infant mortality rate: 54.53/1000; life expectancy: 63.51
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Vientiane, 810,000
Monetary unit: New Kip
Languages: Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
Ethnicity/race: Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)
Religions: Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5% (2005 census)
National Holiday: Republic Day, December 2
A landlocked nation in Southeast Asia occupying the northwest portion of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is surrounded by China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma.
After 600 years of being a monarchy, at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, Laos has been ruled by a one-party Communist Government. Although Laos is opening its door to the West, under the 1991 constitution, Laos continues to be a one-party centralized system as specified in the constitution.
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