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Kingdom’s numbers rise as census puts population at over 15 million

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Minister of Interior Sar Kheng (left) and Minister of Planning Chhay Than present the census results in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. Hean Rangsey

Kingdom’s numbers rise as census puts population at over 15 million

Provisional census figures released on Wednesday show that as of March 3, Cambodia’s population stood at 15,288,489 people – 7,869,912 women and 7,418,577 men – a 14.1 per cent increase since the previous census 11 years ago.

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, who is also chairman of the Census Committee, said while announcing the results on Wednesday that the population had slowly increased because of the rising birth rate, but the rate of growth was declining.

He said the figures were in line with expectations. “The annual population growth rate decreased from 1.5 per cent between 1998 and 2008 to 1.2 per cent between 2008 and 2019.

“However, Cambodia’s annual growth rate during the last decade was higher than the average growth rate in Asia, which was only 1.0 per cent,” Sar Kheng said.

He urged people to contribute to a further increase because the population density was still low – about 86 people per square metre.

According to this year’s census, the ratio of men to women was unchanged compared to 2008 – approximately 94 men for every 100 women.

Phnom Penh, with 2,129,371 people, had the highest population, followed by Kandal province with 1,195,547. Kep, which recorded 41,798 people was the lowest populated province.

Minister of Planning Chhay Than said the census results were based on thorough scrutiny of provisional figures but the data was still in the process of being processed.

When the process is complete, he said, the new data will be presented in detail on 14 key topics related to socio-demographic indicators and their implications for development.

“The nationwide census covered 3.7 million households nationwide. All families were interviewed over 11 days, apart from households living in a permanent residence.

“Families living in institutions such as hotels, guesthouses, pagodas, hospitals and prisons were also included in the census.

“Other special areas were also included, such as the homeless, migrant workers and people living on boats. The armed forces stationed at bases were interviewed by special task forces,” Than said.

However, the figures exclude more than 1.2 million people working overseas.

This is the fourth census since the first was conducted in 1962. The second took place in 1998 and the third in 2008. The final results of the census will be released in the second quarter of next year.

NGO Forum of Cambodia executive director Tek Vannara said he could not yet provide an accurate assessment of the census, but felt the results should include migrants living abroad.

He had also received information from some residents that they were not visited by a census official.

“We can see that the census was well-researched and conducted systematically in accordance with suggestions from all stakeholders, but we do not dare to make conclusions just yet.

“I would like to see the results include real people living overseas, and diplomatic families abroad,” Vannara said.

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