Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Census shows nearly 12 million Khmers

Census shows nearly 12 million Khmers

Census shows nearly 12 million Khmers

The final results of Cambodia's first official census in more than three decades

were released on Sep 14 by the Ministry of Planning, showing that on March 3, 1998,

the Kingdom's population stood at 11,437,656.

The last time heads were counted - back in 1962 - the population was pegged at 5.7

million.

Population growth was estimated at 2.49%, giving Cambodia one of the highest rates

in the region with only neighboring Laos having a higher estimated population growth

rate.

With 19 months having elapsed since the count was taken, the Kingdom's total population

is already nearing - and should surpass by year-end - the 12,000,000 mark.

The weighty 300-page report entitled "General Population Census of Cambodia

1988" and produced by the Ministry with support from the United Nations Population

Fund, UNDP and UNESCO, should prove to be a valuable tool for government planners

and development specialists, according to senior government officials.

Speaking at the Census Report release ceremony, Acting Prime Minister Sar Kheng said

that with the Government's main agenda being "poverty alleviation and sustainable

economic progress ... the precise size of the population, its characteristics and

the future trends in population growth are necessary."

Referring to the well-known, 30-year legacy of war and civil unrest, Kheng said that

policy planners had been hampered by a lack of reliable statistical data.

"Now we have the actual population data even at the commune and village level,

thanks to the 1998 census," Kheng said.

He also noted that Cambodia had no official population policy.

"It is high time we had one," he said, adding that the UNFPA would be assisting

the government in developing a population policy for Cambodia.

While the latest report indicates that population density is low at 64 persons per

sq km compared to neighboring Thailand (117 per sq km) and Vietnam (225 per sq km),

development planners are concerned that Cambodia's high population growth rate will

strip away any benefits accrued from enhanced GDP growth, currently running at 4%

per year.

The report details much of what is generally well-known about the Kingdom, especially

in light of so many years of conflict.

Women outnumber men by 414,840 nationwide. Back in 1962 the sex ratio was almost

equal. Not surprisingly, it is in the age groups above 40 where sex ratios of as

low as 67 men per 100 women are found.

Interestingly, one of the areas of the country where men outnumber women is the three

districts Sampou Lun, Phnum Proek and Kamrieng - the area which comprises the former

Khmer Rouge "Front 250" Zone south of Malai.

With 22,529 men and 19,559 women in the three districts, it would take a Steve Hederesque

penchant for detail to determine whether or not some of the gals in Front 250 decided

long before Ieng Sary did to quit "the Movement", pack up and leave town.

While the report is listed as "Final" some of the more interesting statistics

collected - at least in the minds of Khmers - have yet to be released.

The initial questionaire asked respondents to list their native tongue and place

of birth.

Assuming people answered honestly - a subject which will be hotly debated once the

figures are out - Cambodians of all stripes will be eager to find out how many people

answered "Vietnamese" or "Born in Vietnam".

The proverbial political hot potato of "Who is a Cambodian?" and its attendant

implications for determining citizenship have yet to be dealt with head-on by the

Government.

The Census Report's findings in this vein will loom large in the overall debate.

UNFPA's N Rama Rao, possibly as an indication of the statistics' import, said they

didn't want to release the data in its "raw form".

He said the Ministry of Planning with UN support would hold a number of workshops

and that the information would be released in a series of publications over the next

few months.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the