Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Laotian Americans' recent immigration has contributed to the heterogeneity of Asian American communities and the diversity of U.S. society. They arrived mostly as refugees, and thus the difficulties in their transition from life in an agricultural country to life in an industrialized one have placed Laotian Americans among the most disadvantaged of population groups. This entry briefly explores the nature of the contexts surrounding the experiences of Laotian Americans—their ethnically diverse population; their process of settlement, adjustment, and acculturation; their traditional values and culture; and the lives of Laotian Americans today. Laos is an underdeveloped country and home to an estimated 5.9 million people, as of 2007, who mostly practice subsistence agriculture. A mountainous country landlocked by Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and China, it is home to an ethnically diverse population. Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang (or “Land of a Million Elephants”), which existed ...