Lao of North America

People Group Info

Total Population: 472,090

ROP3 Code: 105643
IMB Affinity Group: Southeast Asian Peoples
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Lao
Language: Lao - (lao)
Religion: Buddhism
Country of Origin: Laos

Photo courtesy of Joshua Project.
By Cambodia Research Network.

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Majority Located Where

  Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX - 8,550

  Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN - 6,844

  Fresno, CA - 6,489

  Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA - 5,939

  Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA - 5,807

Click here to recommend other locations where this People Group resides.

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Brief Profile

Lao are sometimes reluctant to talk to people they do not know because of their English speaking ability. Even Lao who have been in North America for twenty years have trouble communicating. Lao families are fairly large as they cooperate as a community and help each other. As a result they seem to be concentrated at a few businesses. One aspect of their identity that the Lao seem particularly eager to stress is that of their new status as Americans. When asked what is important to them they are very excited about getting green cards. Despite some cultural hurdles such as language, they feel very comfortable in North America and are optimistic about the possibilities for them.

The Lao are Theravada Buddhists and their pagodas are the hubs of their social activities. Their fear of spirits keeps them in bondage, however, and often one can find altars and miniature temples in their homes where offerings are made to appease the spirits.

Ancestors are also revered. They tie strings on each other’s wrists at many ceremonies like weddings and farewells. These strings signify the keeping of the ‘khwan’ spirits within the person for a healthy and successful life. Some festivals, like the New Year go back further than Buddhism to Hindu and animistic elements.

Prayer Points

  • Spiritually the Lao need liberation from fear of the spirits and all the traditions that go with their religious life, so that they can embrace the good news of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for evangelical churches that are neighboring Laotian Buddhist Temples to develop relationships with Lao people in order to discover Lao people of peace.
  • Pray that the few known evangelical Lao believers to stand strong and share their newfound faith with their Lao family members and friends.


Global Recordings Network
Displaying 1-30 of 48 results.
StatusCountry City Metro Area Name State / Prov. Baseline Population
United StatesAlbuquerqueAlbuquerqueNM747
United StatesAmarilloAmarillo-DumasTX1,000
United StatesAnaheimLos Angeles-Long Beach-AnaheimCA5,939
United StatesAustinAustin-Round RockTX400
United StatesBakersfieldBakersfieldCA216
United StatesBridgeportBridgeport-Stamford-NorwalkCT1,019
United StatesCharlotteCharlotte-Concord-GastoniaNC500
United StatesElginChicago-Naperville-ElginIL3,882
United StatesFort SmithFort SmithAR2,288
United StatesFresnoFresnoCA6,489
United StatesHartfordHartford-West Hartford-East HartfordCT997
United StatesHoustonHouston-The Woodlands-Sugar LandTX2,206
United StatesIndianapolisIndianapolis-Carmel-AndersonIN381
United StatesJenksTulsaOK371
United StatesJohnstonProvidence-WarwickRI2,985
United StatesJonesboroAtlanta-Sandy Springs-RoswellGA2,000
United StatesKansas CityKansas CityKS202
CanadaKitchenerToronto (Mississauga, Brampton)ON1,530
United StatesLas VegasLas Vegas-Henderson-ParadiseNV1,621
United StatesLouisvilleLouisville/Jefferson CountyKY395
United StatesMemphisMemphisTN360
United StatesMilpitasSan Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa ClaraCA1,327
United StatesMilwMilwaukee-Waukesha-West AllisWI2,554
United StatesMinneapolisMinneapolis-St. Paul-BloomingtonMN6,844
United StatesMontréalMontreal (Laval)QC5,760
United StatesNashvilleNashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--FranklinTN1,500
United StatesOdessaOdessaTX80
United StatesOklahoma CityOklahoma CityOK918
United StatesPhiladelphiaPhiladelphia-Camden-WilmingtonPA1,802
United StatesPhoenixPhoenix-Mesa-ScottsdaleAZ1,371