Vietnamese in Laos





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

More than 80,000 ethnic Viet people live in Laos. Their population is difficult to gauge, as many of them live scattered throughout the cities and larger towns of Laos, where they are traders, factory owners, and merchants. The Viet have a reputation as skilled and aggressive businessmen, somewhat similar to the Chinese in that regard.

One source states, "Vietnamese can be found in substantial numbers in all the provinces bordering Vietnam and in the cities of Vientiane, Savannakhet and Pakse. For the most part Vietnamese residents in Laos work as traders and small businesspeople, though there continues to be a small military presence in Xiangkhoang and Houaphan provinces."

The 1995 Lao census did not count the Viet as a distinct ethnic group, but did mention that there were 14,251 Vietnamese citizens within Laos at the time. Many of them prefer to maintain their Vietnamese citizenship while traveling in and out of Laos to conduct business. There has been a Vietnamese influence in Laos for many centuries, but only since the war in north Vietnam in the 1950's have large numbers crossed into Laos and formed their own communities.

By the year 2000 the population of ethnic Vietnamese in Vietnam will be close to 70 million. More than 1.5 million Vietnamese live in over 25 nations on six continents around the world. More than 850,000 Vietnamese live in the United States.

The Vietnamese, who call themselves Kinh or Jing have a long history. It is generally believed they were a collection of Mon-Khmer speaking groups who occupied areas primarily in north Vietnam around the time of Christ. About 500 years ago, the Vietnamese migrated to the southern extremities of the country, destroying the Chamba Kingdom in 1471.

Unlike the Lao, who follow the Theravada sect of Buddhism, the Viet mostly adhere to Mahayana (`Greater Vehicle') Buddhism. They also have a complex mix of religious influence including Daoism, animism, Caodaism and ancestor worship.

About 5,000 Viet in Laos profess to be Christians, of which most are Roman Catholics.

Prayer Points

* Pray the Catholic believers among the Viet in Laos would truly walk with God and be people of His Word.
* Ask God to give a vision for Laos to the church in Vietnam.
* Pray the influential Viet would be used by God to spread the Gospel to many parts of Laos.

Profile Source:   Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Vietnamese (Vee-et-nahm-ees)
People Name in Country Vietnamese
Population in Laos 122,000
World Population 83,406,000
Countries 33
Progress Scale 2.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Annamese, Annanese, Ching, Cing, Gin, Jhing, Jing, King, Kinh, Kinh (Việt), Viet
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Vietnamese
People Name General Vietnamese (Vee-et-nahm-ees)
Ethnic Code MSY52b
People ID 12700
Country Laos
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 28  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Xekong, Phongsali, Houaphan provinces, Vientiane City..   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Vietnamese (122,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Vietnamese 122,000
For Primary Language: Vietnamese

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1890-1989)
New Testament Yes   (1914-2011)
Complete Bible Yes   (1916-1994)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Gateway Scripture Text / Printed Matter
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Revised Vietnamese Version Bible Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Vietnamese Bible 1934 Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
General Ministry Resources Audio Recordings
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
International Bible Society Text / Printed Matter
Jesus Film: view in Vietnamese Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Online Scripture (Talking Bibles) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
59.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.80 %)
9.00 %
Ethnic Religions
9.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
17.00 %
Other / Small
6.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
8.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
14.0 %
Roman Catholic
78.0 %
Photo Source: Henk Sebregts   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.