Population aged 5 years and younger    

The distribution of the very young and very old population of the Lao PDR is shown in Maps B.3 and B.4. Map B.3 shows the village population aged 5 years and younger divided into 5 percentage bands from percentages of less than 9% up to more than 25%.

The overall impression from Map B.3 is that percentages of 15-20% and 20-25% predominate throughout the country. Villages with percentages of 9-15% occur in a small strip along the Mekong-Thai border, in and around Vientiane, in the south of Xayaboury and in the north in and around Phongsaly, and in the east in the province of Huaphanh.

The results of the Population and Housing Census of 2005 showed that a very large percentage of the population is young with the highest percentage in the 10–14 year age group followed by the 5–9 and the 0–4 years and younger age groups. The map shows that villages with populations of 25% and higher of children aged 5 years and younger are found in the provinces of Xiengkhuang, Huaphanh, Sekong, Vientiane and Borikhamxay. Percentages in the 15–20% range are found in the provinces of Saravane, Luangnamtha, Phongsaly and Vientiane Capital. The low percentages in the ranges of 9-15% and of less than 9% are rare, and are found in villages in parts of Vientiane Capital and the provinces of Vientiane, Savannakhet, Xayaboury and to a limited extent in Phongsaly.

Thus the highest percentages of 25% and over of the population aged 5 years and younger are found mostly in the poorly developed rural and mountainous areas, in contrast to the less than 9% found in the more developed urban areas which offer a high level of economic development, together with education and public heath services. The majority of these urban dwellers are well-educated, understand contraception and also have the financial means to practice effective family planning. On the other hand rural dwellers experience difficulties related to education and access to public health services. Many younger people do not know how to use contraceptives so the birth rates are still high in these areas, where, however, each child represents a source of future manpower and a potential carer of older people hence limiting the number of children is not always a preference. This is counterbalanced to some extent by the high infant mortality in the less developed areas.

In general the percentage of children of 5 years and younger is high in areas where access is difficult and where the people have a low level of education and limited access to health and family planning.




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