Monday, February 23, 2009

The Lao in Minnesota

Of course, living in Minnesota, there's a lot more that I can say about our community here, and I will discuss it in more detail over time, but here are some basics for a quick overview.

Minnesota is believed to have the third  largest concentration of Laotians in the United States, after California and Texas.

More than half of Minnesota’s Asian population are Southeast Asians, which includes Khmer, Hmong, Lao, Karen, Tai Dam, Iu Mien and Vietnamese. The Lao are the 6th largest population in Minnesota with nearly 12,000 residents and some elders feel the numbers are actually closer to 20,000. In Minnesota, at least half of the Lao community resides in Hennepin County. The city of Minneapolis has the largest Lao population at 2,522, followed by Brooklyn Park with 1,299 and other surrounding Twin Cities suburbs. There are several other areas with sizeable Lao populations: Olmsted County, Nobles County, Roseau County and Stearns County. The city of Worthington in Nobles County is home to the second largest concentration of Lao outside of the Twin Cities region with 510 known residents. Notable established Lao communities can also be found in Mountain Lake, Warroad and St. Cloud.

Presently, there are 2 community service organizations working exclusively with ethnic Lao in Minnesota, 3 wat Lao and 16 Lao Christian churches. There are an estimated 35 Lao-owned businesses, not including consultants and private contractors.

Minnesota is also home to several prominent Lao artists, writers, educators and musicians, including Malichansouk KouanchaoBounxou Chanthraphone and Saymoukda Vongsay among others. An excellent and unique resource is the Hmong ABC Bookstore on University Avenue that stocks a significant amount of material about the Lao and Hmong community.


Charleen said...

Can you give me some ideas of other Lao musicians? Our historical society would like to have a music program with a good group for the Lao community in Warroad Minnesota.

thanks for any help you can give me.
our email address is

Bryan Thao Worra said...

Let me see what I can do! Unfortunately, I recently moved from the area but I know some people who may be able to contact you on this matter. With my very best regards, B.