Non-agricultural activities


Information about non-agricultural activities came from asking the population aged 10 years and over about their occupation in the 12 months prior to the Population and Housing Census of 2005. The type of work was classified as either agricultural work (farming, fishing, creating pastures for livestock rearing, growing animal feed crops) or non-agricultural work.

The results of the 2005 Census showed that the majority, about 78.5% of the population, worked mainly in agriculture and 21.5% did not. Even though the economic importance of agriculture at the national level is nowadays slowly shifting to the secondary and tertiary sectors, it remains the main sector of employment of the Lao population throughout the country in all the provinces - except for Vientiane Capital. Here, 65% of the economic activities of people are not in agriculture. The map reveals that the remaining 35% involved in farming mostly live in the peri-urban areas and in rural areas in the north, west and east of Vientiane Capital.

The map shows that rates of non-agricultural activities generally follow an urban-rural pattern with the highest rates in province capitals and district towns such as: Vientiane Capital, Xayaboury, Phonehong, Paksan, Thakek, Kanthabuly, Pakse and Saravane. It is remarkable that for non-agricultural activities the proximity to borders and especially to that with neighbouring Thailand does not seem to be important. For example the southern tip of Xayaboury, which almost throughout this atlas manifests exceptional characteristics, does not seem to benefit from the higher employment opportunities. We do observe however isolated villages in some remote areas of the country, where the majority of the people pursue non-agricultural activities.

These may be employment opportunities offered by the government but increasingly are activities in the mining sector and with hydropower development projects. Finally, we also observe some very small-scale patterns of elevated non-agricultural activities following road infrastructure and river or border crossings.



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