The Ethnologue (Gordon 2005) estimates the total population of the five languages which currently use the Tai Viet script to be almost 1.5 million. (Tai Dam 764,000, Tai Dón 490,000, Tai Daeng 145,000 Thai Song 32,000, Tày Tac unknown.) This includes populations in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, as well as those which have emigrated to Australia, China, France and the United States. The script is still used by the Tai people in Vietnam, and there is a desire to introduce it into formal education there (Cầm Trọng 2005). On the other hand, it is not known whether it is in current use in Laos, Thailand, or China.
Several different spellings have been employed for the name of the language and the script. Some users prefer the spelling “Tay”, firstly because it more closely reflects their own pronunciation for the name of their language, secondly because the spelling “Tai” resembles their word for “death”, and thirdly because of some negative connotations associated with the spelling “Tai” in Vietnamese. But these feelings are by no means universal. At least one major group in the Tai community in Des Moines, Iowa, has indicated that they prefer to use the spelling “Tai”.
After some debate and experimenting with other names, the name which was accepted into the Unicode Standard was “Tai Viet”. The spelling “Tai” appears to be less confusing to the IT community which must implement the script. “Viet” distinguishes this script from other Tai scripts, while recognizing the fact that 90% of the user community is in Vietnam. The format is also parallel to names like “Tai Le”, making it easy to find when searching for “Tai”.
Jim Brase, 'Proposal to encode the Tai Viet script in the UCS', 2007, p. 1