The Lao Loum have throughout the country’s history comprised the ethnic and linguistic majority.
The Lao Theung generally include Mon-Khmer peoples which are among the indigenous peoples from the Mekong River valleys.
The largest single group (11% or 500,000 people) is Khmu (Khmou, Kmhmu, Khammu, Khamu, Kammu).
(91,400 sq miles), yielding one of the lowest population densities in Asia.
Yet the country of Laos has an official count of over forty-seven ethnicities divided into 149 sub-groups and 80 different languages.
The Tai family includes the Lao and Thai, as well as smaller groups which have generally been distinguished by their traditional dress and include the Tai Dam (Black Tai), Tai Daeng (Red Tai), and Tai Khao (White Tai).
The Laos to define both the ethnicity and nationality.
Prior to the 20th century Lao principalities and the Kingdom of Lan Xang extended to the Sipsong Panna (China), Sipsong Chau Tai (Vietnam), and Khorat Plateau (today the northeast of Thailand) where the river was used as a transportation artery to connect Lao peoples on both the right and left banks.
However, the political history of Laos has been complicated by frequent warfare and colonial conquests by European and regional rivals.
The Yao (Mien and Lu Mien) are another large group of Lao Sung, and distinguish themselves through the incorporation of Taoist deities with their animist beliefs.