Average private household size    

The average number of persons per household varies between the villages from less than 5 to over 8 people. The country average in the National Population and Housing Census of 2005 was 5.9 people, slightly lower than that in the 1995 census. In three villages the average household size was found to be more than 15 people while 38 villages reported an average household size above 10.

Generally speaking, the villages with large household sizes can be found in the following areas: villages along the Lao-Vietnamese border from Phongsaly all the way to Borikhamxay, in the southeast of Oudomxay, the northwest and west of Xayaboury, in Xiengkhuang and in the northeast of Vientiane Province. In the southern part of the country only Khammuane and the western parts of Saravane, and Champasack and Attapeu have smaller households of 5-6 people. Villages with very large household sizes again dominate regions of the provinces of Savannakhet, Saravane and Sekong. In summary, household size is smaller in urban areas than in rural areas and is also smaller in those rural areas with road access.

Different factors may influence the average size of village households. First and foremost the size is influenced by demographic factors such as the birth rate and life expectancy (see also the previous maps in this section). In rural areas a big household is an important asset for coping with the heavy agricultural workload and ensuring the livelihood of the older people. Urban areas differ in that small households may be a sign of adaptation to modern life styles with better health and so a longer life expectancy, and better livelihood security but also higher living expenses. Furthermore, the arrival of young single migrants from rural areas who usually live in small households of one or two people may contribute to lower household sizes in urban regions. Yet, urban households frequently receive children of relatives because high school education is often not available or not affordable in their home district. Finally, cultural and ethnical differences may be important in the way a household is formed. In some areas it is common for elderly people to have a separate small house but which no longer acts as a separate household. The elderly share work and meals with the active younger family members.




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