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Fact Sheet

September 8, 2017

Laotians in the U.S. Fact Sheet

    MORE FACT SHEETS: ASIANS IN THE U.S.

    Laotian population in the U.S., 2000-2015

    Year Population
    2000 198,000
    2010 232,000
    2015 271,000

    Pew Research Center

    English proficiency of Laotian population in the U.S., 2015

    Category English proficient
    All 62%
    U.S. born 90%
    Foreign born 45%
    Adults 56%
    All Asians 70%

    Pew Research Center

    Length of time in the U.S. for Laotian immigrants, 2000-2015

    • All Laotian immigrants
    • All Asian immigrants

    Educational attainment of Laotian population in the U.S., 2015

    Category High school or less Some college Bachelor's degree Postgrad degree
    All 58% 27% 12% 4%
    U.S. born 43% 40% 14% 3%
    Foreign born 61% 24% 12% 4%
    All Asians 29% 20% 30% 21%
    All Americans 41% 29% 19% 11%

    Pew Research Center

    U.S. Laotian population living in poverty, 2015

    Group All Americans All Asians All Laotians
    All 15.1% 12.1% 14.9%
    U.S. born 14.7% 11.2% 17.8%
    Foreign born 17.8% 12.8% 12.9%

    Pew Research Center

    Top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas by Laotian population, 2015

    Metro area Laotian population
    Sacramento, CA 15,000
    Minneapolis-St. Paul 11,000
    Dallas-Fort Worth 8,000
    San Francisco 8,000
    Seattle 8,000
    Fresno, CA 7,000
    Nashville, TN 7,000
    Los Angeles 7,000
    San Diego 6,000
    Portland, OR 5,000

    Pew Research Center

    Demographic characteristics of U.S. Laotian population, 2015

    % (unless otherwise noted)

    Among Laotians in the U.S.
    All Asians
    in the U.S.
    All U.S. born Foreign born
    MEDIAN AGE (in years) 34 34 17 46
    AGE
    Younger than 5 7 5 11 <1
    5-17 18 18 39 2
    18-29 19 18 35 6
    30-39 16 19 12 24
    40-49 15 17 2 27
    50-64 16 17 1 28
    65+ 10 7 1 12
    NATIVITY
    U.S. born 41 42 - -
    Foreign born 59 58 - -
    YEARS IN U.S. (among foreign born)
    0-5 years 20 - - 5
    6-10 years 14 - - 3
    11-15 years 13 - - 4
    16-20 years 11 - - 5
    21+ years 42 - - 82
    CITIZENSHIP (among foreign born)
    U.S. citizen 58 - - 70
    Not a U.S. citizen 42 - - 30
    MARITAL STATUS (18 and older)
    Married 59 47 20 57
    Divorced/Separated/Widowed 12 16 6 20
    Never married 30 37 74 23
    FERTILITY (among women ages 15 to 44)
    Women who have given birth in the past 12 months 6 7 7 6
    HOUSEHOLD TYPE, BY PERSONS
    Married-couple household 71 58 56 60
    Other family household 17 34 38 30
    Non-family household 12 8 6 9
    IN A MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLD
    Multigenerational household 26 38 35 41

    Note: Family households are those with a household head and one or more persons living in the household who are related to the household head by birth, marriage or adoption. Households with a household head and an unmarried partner are only considered family households if there are other persons in the household who are related to the household head by birth, marriage or adoption. Multigenerational households are households with two or more adult generations or one that includes grandparents and grandchildren. Figures may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Due to data limitations, figures for Laotians based on single-race population only, regardless of Hispanic origin. Figures for all Asians based on mixed-race and mixed-group populations, regardless of Hispanic origin. See methodology for more detail.
    Source: Pew Research Center analysis of 2013-2015 American Community Survey (IPUMS).

    Pew Research Center

    Economic characteristics of U.S. Laotian population, 2015

    % (unless otherwise noted)

    Among Laotians in the U.S.
    All Asians
    in the U.S.
    All U.S. born Foreign born
    MEDIAN ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME $73,060 $54,000 $50,000 $55,800
    MEDIAN ANNUAL PERSONAL EARNINGS (ages 16 and older with positive earnings)
    All $35,600 $30,000 $20,000 $32,800
    Full-time, year-round workers $51,000 $36,900 $34,500 $38,000
    EMPLOYMENT STATUS (civilians ages 16 and older)
    Employed 61 62 61 63
    Not employed 4 6 9 5
    Not in labor force 35 32 30 33
    UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (civilians ages 16 and older in the labor force) 6.0 8.7 12.9 6.9
    LIVING IN POVERTY
    All ages 12.1 14.9 17.8 12.9
    Younger than 18 12.0 19.5 19.9 ***
    18-64 12.1 13.4 15.6 12.6
    65 and older 12.8 15.3 *** 14.8
    HOMEOWNERSHIP (households)
    Owner-occupied 57 56 28 62
    Renter-occupied 43 44 72 38

    The symbol *** indicates insufficient number of observations to provide a reliable estimate.
    Note: The household population excludes persons living in institutions, college dormitories and other group quarters. Households are classified by the race or detailed Asian group of the head. “Full-time, year-round workers” are defined as people ages 16 and older who usually worked at least 35 hours per week and at least 48 weeks in the past year. The share of the population ages 16 and older who are not employed differs from the unemployment rate because the share not employed is based on the total population, while the unemployment rate is based on those who are in the labor force (i.e. working or looking for work). Poverty status is determined for individuals in housing units and non-institutional group quarters. It is unavailable for children younger than 15 who are not related to the householder, people living in institutional group quarters and people living in college dormitories or military barracks. Due to the way in which the IPUMS assigns poverty values, these data will differ from those provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Figures may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Due to data limitations, figures for Laotians based on single-race population only, regardless of Hispanic origin. Figures for all Asians based on mixed-race and mixed-group populations, regardless of Hispanic origin. See methodology for more detail.
    Source: Pew Research Center analysis of 2013-2015 American Community Survey (IPUMS).

    Pew Research Center

    Find out more

    Explore fact sheets on other Asian groups in the U.S.

    Read the methodology.

    The Asian American fact sheets were compiled by Gustavo López, research analyst, Anthony Cilluffo, research assistant, and Eileen Patten, former research analyst.

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