The Khmuic peoples are aboriginal to Laos and surrounding areas. Most Khmuic peoples live in northern Laos and neighboring areas in Vietnam, although they can also be found in Thailand, Burma and China.
The Khmuic peoples are believed to have migrated by land from China to Laos, where they have resided for at least 4,000 years. Some 10,000 years ago, they were probably part of a largely homogenous ethnicity, now referred to as the Austro-Asiatic peoples, with a homeland somewhere within the borders of the modern-day People's Republic of China. The prevalence of Y-DNA Haplogroup O among Austro-Asiatic peoples suggests a common ancestry with the Sino-Tibetan, Austronesian, and Hmong–Mien peoples some 35,000 years ago in China. Haplogroup O is a subclade of Y-DNA Haplogroup K, which is believed to have originated approximately 40,000 years ago somewhere between Iran and Central China. In addition to the ethnicities previously mentioned, the progenitor of Haplogroup K was the patrilineal ancestor of nearly all modern Melanesians and Native Americans. Haplogroup K, in turn, is a subclade of Y-DNA Haplogroup F, which is believed to have originated in Northern Africa some 45,000 years ago. In addition to the ethnicities previously mentioned, the progenitor of Haplogroup F was probably the ancestor of all Indo-Europeans.
Their languages belong to the Khmuic language family, which is a branch of the Austro-Asiatic language family. Most scholars agree that the Khmuic languages are part of the Mon–Khmer branch of the Austro-Asiatic family, but the validity of the Mon–Khmer branch has recently been called into question.