Yoy in Laos





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

About 1,000 Yoy, or Tai Yo people live in Khammouan Province in central Laos. They live at the juncture of three districts: Nakay, Grommarol and Bouarapha.

According to the Ethnologue, there are 5,000 speakers of the Yoy language living in Thailand. Yoy is a member of the Northern Tai language family. All Yoy are adequately bilingual in the national language, Lao. Indeed, to most outsiders there is no visible or cultural differences between the Lao and Yoy. The distinctiveness of the Yoy is confined to their language.

The Yoy are professing Buddhists, although a close inspection of their religious practices reveals a regular dependence on spirit-appeasement and animism.

In many respects, Buddhism has lost some of its authority over the inhabitants of Laos in recent decades. Before the advent of Communism in 1975 it was already showing signs of decay. Nhouy Abhay, a leading figure in the Royal Lao Government, said in 1959, "How much ignorance among the monks! The Pali tongue which is less and less understood has become a screen behind which they hide their ignorance.. This lack of reasoning goes with a daily slackening in the performance of religious rites. Monks relax their discipline, and it can be noticed in temples as well as in the streets, in cemeteries and in homes. In its essence, Buddhism is deeply tolerant; but ours in fact has lost too much of its authority.. In the field of manners, as in religion, our monks are far from being the elite they are supposed to be."

One early missionary summarized the conflict between groups in Laos that are outwardly Buddhist, yet in reality know very little about the faith they so boldly profess: "Ask any person you meet a few questions about the sage who propounded the faith they are supposed to hold, and it will be speedily discovered they...know little of the life and less of the teaching of him whom they apparently worship. The great moral precepts of this religion are not taught to them, are unknown to them."

The Yoy live in a part of Laos with few known churches. They have lived for centuries with little knowledge of Christianity.

Prayer Points

* Pray that the Yoy will glorify God and follow His ways.
* Ask God to send Christians to witness His life among the Yoy.
* Pray the Holy Spirit would prepare the hearts of the Yoy to humbly accept Jesus Christ.

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

People Name General Yoy
People Name in Country Yoy
Population in Laos 1,600
World Population 7,500
Countries 2
Progress Scale 3.1
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Dioi, Duoi, Giy, Lao Yuai, Tai Jo, Tai Yoi, Tai Yoy, Yoe, Yooi, Yooy, Yuai
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Tai
People Name General Yoy
Ethnic Code MSY49z
People ID 16062
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 The Yoy live on both sides of the Mekong River. The majority inhabit villages in the north-east Thailand province of Sakhon Nakhon. They are dispersed over three districts, Akat Amnuai, Phang Khon, and Sawang Daen Din. An additional group of Yoy make their homes in the central Laos province of Khammouan..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Yoy (1,600)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Yoy 1,600
For Primary Language: Yoy

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
10.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 2.10 %)
2.50 %
Ethnic Religions
87.50 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
70.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway   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

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