Laos Plateau des Bolovens weaving in Ban Lao Ngam
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Vietnam, Laos
 Vietnam74,173 (2019)[1]
 Laos28,378 (2015)[2]
Related ethnic groups
Pacoh, Brao, Ta Oi

The Katuic people (also Co Tu, Ca Tang; Vietnamese: người Cơ Tu; Katu: Manứih Cơ Tu) are an ethnic group of about 102,551 who live in eastern Laos and central Vietnam. Numbered among the Katuic peoples, they speak a Mon-Khmer language. Katuic languages have been developed by Paul Sidwell,[3] but Sidwell's work is not commonly used in Katuic communities due to language barriers.


The Katu in Laos live in Sekong Province along the upper Sekong River and in the highland basin of the Song Boung river watershed along the border with Vietnam's Quảng Nam and Thừa Thiên–Huế Provinces. There were 28,378 of them in Laos in 2015.[2]


Model of a Co Tu tomb

The Vietnamese government's official name for the Katu ethnic group is "Co Tu". Within Vietnam, Katu people are indigenous groups recognized by the Vietnamese government and they almost live in the provinces of Thừa Thiên–Huế, Quảng Nam, and Da Nang city. The Katu in Vietnam numbered 50,458 in the 1999 census,[4] 61,588 in the 2009 census, and 74,173 in the 2019 census.[5][1]

The Katu typically serve rice cooked in bamboo stems such as zăr, aví hor, koo dep, koo g'đhoong, and cha chắc, and drink a beverage called tavak. Their famous dances are tung tung (performed by males) and ya yá (performed by females). They play h'roa in ordinary life. Traditional Katu homes are on stilts and those who live on the Laotian border are known for growing jute and weaving.[citation needed] Some 15,000 Katu in Thừa Thiên–Huế speak Phuong, a Katuic dialect often recognized as a separate language.[6] They also notorious for the wide variety of Austroasiatic carrying baskets that they have developed. Nowadays, Katu peoples' lives are modernized, and many young Katuic people go to the cities to study and find jobs. Some of them go abroad to advance their education. Dr Tho Alang (Alăng Thớ) is recognized as the first Katu people gained a Doctor of Philosophy (in Management) from the RMIT University (Australia).[7]


  1. ^ a b "Report on Results of the 2019 Census". General Statistics Office of Vietnam. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Results of Population and Housing Census 2015" (PDF). Lao Statistics Bureau. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  3. ^ Sidwell, Paul (2021-08-23), "11 Classification of MSEA Austroasiatic languages", 11 Classification of MSEA Austroasiatic languages, De Gruyter Mouton, pp. 179–206, doi:10.1515/9783110558142-011/html, ISBN 978-3-11-055814-2, retrieved 2023-08-05
  4. ^ Census 1999, file 42.DS99.xls
  5. ^ Census 2009 Archived 2012-11-14 at the Wayback Machine, Hanoi, June 2010. Table 5 (POPULATION BY URBAN/RURAL RESIDENCE, SEX, ETHNIC GROUP, SOCIO-ECONOMIC REGION AND PROVINCE/CITY, 1/4/2009), pp. 134. Access Feb 12, 2011.
  6. ^ Phuong at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  7. ^ "Người dân tộc Cơ Tu đầu tiên nhận bằng Tiến sĩ của Úc". www.rmit.edu.vn (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 2023-08-05.