Laos…by the numbers

Below is a listing of the Lao PDR’s status on various international rankings and indices. Please follow the links for more information.

(Best Countries for) Business – 148 out of 160

2019:  The Lao PDR’s ranking on Forbes’ Best Countries for Business index dropped to 148 out of 160, the lowest in Asia. It received the lowest possible marks on Trade Freedom, Red Tape and Investor Protection.

2018:  Forbes ranked the Lao PDR 140 out of 153 for 2018. While this is a slight improvement over the previous year, it remains the lowest in Southeast Asia.

(Ease of Doing) Business – 154 out of 190

2020: The World Bank Group ranks Laos 154 out of 190 on its Ease of Doing Business index. Myanmar remains lower at 165th. Its lowest ranking was in the sub-index of Starting a Business.

2018: The Lao PDR  is ranked 141st out of 190 in this index. While slightly lower than 2016 and 17, it is an slight improvement over years prior to that. In ASEAN, only Myanmar ranks lower.

Children – 132 out of 175

The Lao PDR dropped two places in Save the Children‘s 2018 End of Childhood report, even though its score rose slightly to 690 from 684 in the 2017. This is the lowest ranking in Southeast Asia.

(Perceptions of) Corruption – 135 out of 180

For 2017, Transparency International gave the Lao PDR a score of 29/100 (0 = most corrupt) on its Perceptions of Corruption Index, a drop of one point and seven places from 2016. In Southeast Asia, only Cambodia ranked lower.

⇦⇨ Democracy – 151 out of 167

In its 2017 ranking, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the Lao PDR near the bottom of its Democracy Index. In Asia, only North Korea was lower. Its overall score of 2.37 puts Laos firmly in the category of Authoritarian Regime.

Economic Freedom – 138 out of 180

In its 2018 report, the Heritage Foundation gave the Lao PDR a score of 53.6 (0=least free), placing it in the “mostly unfree” category. This is a slight decrease from its 2017 assessment. In Southeast Asia, only Vietnam received a lower score.

⇦⇨ Freedom – 6.5 out of 7.0

For 2018, Freedom House has ranked the Lao PDR near the bottom of its Freedom in the World Index. It received the worst possible score (7.0) on the sub-index of political Rights, and nearly the worst (6.0) on Civil Liberties. In Asia, only North Korea received a higher score. Laos has held this same ranking since 2010.

Happiness  – 110 out of 156

The Lao PDR received a score of 4.623 on the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s World Happiness Report. In Southeast Asia, both Cambodia and Myanmar received lower scores. The ranking is a drop from 102nd in 2016 and 99th in 2015.

Human Capital  – 84 out of 130

The World Economic Forum scored the Lao PDR at 58.36 in its Global Human Capital Report. In Southeast Asia, Myanmar and Cambodia rank lower. The ranking is an improvement over 2016 (106th) and 2015 (105th).

⇦⇨ Human Development  – 138 out of 188

While the Lao PDR’s score in UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Index rose very slightly to 0.586, it’s ranking fell by one place. In Southeast Asia, both Myanmar and Cambodia ranked lower.

Hunger – 91 out of 119

The International Food and Policy Research Institute gave the Lao PDR a score of 27.5 in its 2017 Global Hunger Index. This is an improvement over scores of 33.4 in 2008 and 48.1 in 2000. However, it is the highest (meaning most hunger) score of any Southeast Asian country.

(Commitment to Reduce) Inequality – 150 out of 157

Oxfam ranks Laos near the bottom of its global Commitment to Reduce Inequality index for 2018, the lowest for any ASEAN country. In 2017, it ranked 134th out of 152

⇦⇨ ODA per Capita – 53 out of 156

In 2017, the Lao PDR received ODA of US $68.45 per capita, ranking it 53rd out of 156 countries. Again, this is the highest of any ASEAN county.

In 2015, the Lao PDR received just over US $70 per capita in Official Development Assistance. This is nearly twice the amount of any other ASEAN country. While this figure is slightly lower than for 2014, the trend over the last decade has been a steady increase.

⇦⇨ Press Freedom – 170 out of 180

The Lao PDR’s ranking and score (66.41) in Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Index remained the same for 2018. In Asia, only China, North Korea and Vietnam are lower.

Transformation – 106 out of 129

The Bertelsmann Stiftung scored the Lao PDR at 3.85 out of 10 for its 2018 Transformation Index, up very slightly from 3.80 (and 107th) in it’s 2016 ranking.  In Asia, only Myanmar (111th) and North Korea (125th) rank lower.

Sub-Indexes include Political Transformation ( 2.92 out of 10 and 118th ranking), Economic Transformation (4.79 out of 10 and  86th ranking), and Governance (3.89 out of 10 and 95th ranking).