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Census survey finds gender literacy gap

Census survey finds gender literacy gap

C AMBODIA has 10.7 million people and a big literacy gap between men and women, according

to a survey taken in March in preparation for the country's first census since 1962.

The Ministry of Planning released results in a press conference Dec 23 attended by

representatives of all ministries.

Among the results of the survey of 20,000 Cambodian households in all provinces were

findings that 68.7 percent of the people over 15 years old can read - but far more

men than women.

Literacy among men over 15 is 81.8 percent, the survey showed, but only 58 percent

among women. Most previous estimates put literacy rates at around 50 percent.

Other findings of the survey include:

The estimated population of Cambodia is 10.7 million people: 5.6 million females,

or 52.2 percent, and 5.1 million males, or 47.8 percent. The overwhelming number

of people, 85.6 percent, live in rural areas while only 14.4 percent live in urban

settings.

There are approximately 2 million households in the country with an average size

of 5.3 people. Population density is 59.1 per sq km. Population growth is 26 per

hundred people while the death rate is 12 percent.

One quarter of the households, 25.8 percent, are headed by females.

"This first large-scale survey in recent times brings extremely valuable information

to all the ministries, institutions, and NGOs in Cambodia who can use it to design

programs more effectively" said Dr. Vincent Fauveau, representative of the UN

Population Fund, which has been helping Cambodia prepare for its census.

"As the country is embarking on economic and social development, the conduct

of a national population census is considered very essential," said HE Chea

Chanto, Minister of Planning. He added, "The information from this preliminary

exercise is important to the general population census of Cambodia. Thanks to the

United Nations Population Fund for their technical and financial assistance."

There has been no population census in Cambodia since 1962. Consequently there is

hardly any population database for formulating population policies and programs in

the country. The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to hold the census in February-

March 1998. The Ministry of Planning will be in overall charge of the census.

Both prime ministers expressed approval of the preliminary survey results, according

to Hou Taing Eng, director of the Department of Statistics. He said the results have

been edited and stored in computers for future use.

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