Source: The Ledger
On June 27, 2004 The Ledger reported, "It may come as a surprise that Polk County contains enough Laotians to support their own organization. The 2000 U.S. Census found 321 Laos-born residents of Polk, almost half the number of Vietnam natives and nearly one-tenth of the statewide population. Many of Polk's Laotian-Americans are part of a diaspora that left the Southeast Asian country in the late 1970s, following a communist takeover. The climate of Florida, they found, resembled that of their native country, though the state lacks the mountains that define Laos' eastern region... Sixty percent of Laotians are Buddhists, according to the CIA's World Factbook. Some of the immigrants to Polk County have become Christians, but many have retained their Buddhist practices and attend a Lao Buddhist temple in St. Petersburg."