Sunday, March 29, 2009

Laotians Need To Be Counted: Census 2010

How many Lao are there in America?

Every 10 years we count the population, and in 2010 the US new census will be taken. The results we get help determine where federal aid and support goes for the next decade and has great historical and educational value.

Above are the results from the last Census, with map developed and generously donated by Norasack Pathammavong ( for the Laotian American National Alliance. (

A lot has probably changed since 2000 and we need help making sure everyone is counted when the Census comes. Looking at the figures, do you think your state's population has grown or shrunk since we last looked?

The Southeast Asian Resource Action Center in DC assembled a good profile issued in 2004 that broke down the information from the 2000 census, in addition to some other interesting figures. The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans also has a pretty good profile on the MN community:

A key question is of course, these are people who self-identify as Lao, and doesn't take into account biracial, multiracial individuals or families, or some of the smaller minority populations from Laos. There's still a lot of work needed to fine-tune the figures from any given census.

There are many things we are really interested in seeing if there's been a change.

For example, in 2000, among those who responded from the Lao community, only 7.6% of us had bachelor's degrees or higher and only .2% had a PhD. Across the entire US, with all categories included, the average is: 1 out of 4 people have a bachelor's degree or higher. Interestingly, nearly 39% of Asian American women have bachelor's degrees from all Asian groups, and 46% of Asian American men.

At the start of this century, nearly 45% of us worked in production, transport and material moving occupations. That's a lot of deliveries and trucking!

And our average household income was $42,838! The average American household made $50,046 while Asian Americans made $57,874 for comparison.

Won't it be interesting to see how we've shifted?

But we need to start getting the word out to have people fill out the surveys, because they DO matter.