Laos Physical Map

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Physical Map: Defined
In addition to country borders, major cities and significant bodies of water, Physical Maps indicate the location of landforms like deserts, mountains and plains. This type of map also displays major cities and regions. Physical Maps are commonly used to see elevation and land contours as well as major rivers and lakes.

page last updated on September 26, 2011

Introduction :: Laos
Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.
Geography :: Laos
Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates:
18 00 N, 105 00 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
total: 236,800 sq km
country comparison to the world: 84
land: 230,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Utah
Land boundaries:
total: 5,083 km
border countries: Burma 235 km, Cambodia 541 km, China 423 km, Thailand 1,754 km, Vietnam 2,130 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
highest point: Phu Bia 2,817 m
Natural resources:
timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
Land use:
arable land: 4.01%
permanent crops: 0.34%
other: 95.65% (2005)
Irrigated land:
3,000 sq km (2008)
Total renewable water resources:
333.6 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 3 cu km/yr (4%/6%/90%)
per capita: 507 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
floods, droughts
Environment - current issues:
unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand
People :: Laos
6,477,211 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
Age structure:
0-14 years: 36.7% (male 1,197,579/female 1,181,523)
15-64 years: 59.6% (male 1,908,176/female 1,950,544)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 107,876/female 131,513) (2011 est.)
Median age:
total: 21 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 21.3 years (2011 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.684% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
Birth rate:
26.13 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
Death rate:
8.13 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
Net migration rate:
-1.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
urban population: 33% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major cities - population:
VIENTIANE (capital) 799,000 (2009)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 59.46 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 36
male: 65.49 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 53.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.39 years
country comparison to the world: 179
male: 60.5 years
female: 64.36 years (2011 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.14 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
8,500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008) (2009)
Drinking water source:
urban: 72% of population
rural: 51% of population
total: 57% of population
urban: 28% of population
rural: 49% of population
total: 43% of population (2008)
Sanitation facility access:
urban: 86% of population
rural: 38% of population
total: 53% of population
urban: 14% of population
rural: 62% of population
total: 47% of population (2008)
noun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
adjective: Lao or Laotian
Ethnic groups:
Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)
Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5% (2005 census)
Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73%
male: 83%
female: 63% (2005 Census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2008)
Education expenditures:
2.3% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 150

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