Cambodia Population and Language
About nine out of ten Cambodians belong to the Khmer majority. In the country there are three major minority groups: Vietnamese, Chinese and the Muslim people group cham. In addition, the country houses a number of small groups of people who mainly live in the mountains of northeastern Cambodia. They are called with a collective name khmer loeu (Highland Khmer).
The Khmer people are mostly engaged in agriculture, while a large part of the business is run by descendants of Chinese who came to the country several hundred years ago. Also, the Vietnamese immigrants are often businessmen or work as craftsmen, construction workers or fishermen, preferably in the Mekong Delta. The approximately 100,000 highland Khmer people mainly use sweat.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Cambodia, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
Cham is a group of people who started immigrating from the South China Sea coast in the mid-1400s, evading advancing Vietnamese. They are mainly engaged in fishing, livestock and trade, and often live in their own villages or neighborhoods.
The minority groups were particularly hard hit by the terror of the Red Khmer regime in the 1970s (see Modern History). In recent decades, persecution has mainly affected Vietnamese. The existence of the Highland Khmer is threatened by illegal logging and the dam construction. With the help of foreign voluntary organizations, they have started to organize themselves in order to maintain their traditional land areas.
The population is young. Nearly one-third is younger than 15 years, while fewer than twenty-one Cambodians are over 65. During the years of war and terror, mainly in the 1970s, the number of residents decreased as many were murdered, underwent famine and hardship, or fled the country (see Modern History).. Even today there is an imbalance between the sexes; in the age groups over 45 years there are significantly more women than men.
Most Cambodians live in the lowlands in the central parts of the country, around Lake Tonlé Sap and the Mekong River. The mountainous regions and coastal areas are sparsely populated.
The country’s official language is Khmer which is also understood by the minority people. The language belongs to the Monkhmer family and is written with a custom form of the Indian language Hindi alphabet. The French, which previously dominated in administration and business, are increasingly being replaced by English as the first foreign language.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
chimeric about 90%; small groups of Vietnamese, Chinese, cham and others
Number of residents
16 005 373 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
23.0 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
23.3 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
6.1 per 1000 residents (2016)
1.5 percent (2017)
2.6 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
51.2 percent (2017)
69 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
71 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
67 years (2016)
Khmer is the official language; Largest minority languages are Vietnamese, Chinese and Cham
New restrictions for Internet cafes
Authorities are imposing a ban on Internet cafes located closer than 500 meters from a school. The decision is justified by helping to prevent young people’s addiction to computer games. However, critics believe that in practice this means that internet cafes are banned in Phnom Penh.
ICJ: “Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia”
The International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) again states that the disputed land areas around Preah Vihear belong to Cambodia. The Court calls on Thailand to withdraw its soldiers, police and border guards from the area.
US President visiting Cambodia
As the first US president, Barack Obama visits Cambodia, despite Sam Rainsy urging him to refrain from giving legitimacy to Hun Sen.
Long prison sentence for separatism
Twelve people are sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for separatism after participating in protests brutally defeated by the military. The regime-critical radio journalist Mam Sonando is sentenced to 20 years in prison for encouraging villagers in the province of Kratie to form their own state. However, according to human rights organizations, the villagers only objected to the seizure of their land by large companies, and Sonando reported abuse that the security forces exposed them.
King Sihanouk dies
King Sihanouk dies after a long illness. Sihanouk, who abdicated in 2004, turned 89 years old.
Environmental journalist is found murdered
Environmental journalist Hang Serei Oudom is found dead in the tailgate of his car, killed by an ax. Hang Serei Oudom has reported on the military’s involvement in the illegal logging and log smuggling.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh leaves politics
Prince Norodom Ranariddh announces that he is stepping down from politics and will instead devote himself to humanitarian activities. This is the second time Ranariddh says to leave politics. Norodom Ranariddh’s party (NRP) then announces that the party is renaming the Nationalist Party (NP), which it was also called 2008-2010.
The opposition goes together
Sam Rainsy’s Party (SRP) and the Human Rights Party (HRP) decide to join forces to form a united opposition front: Cambodia’s National Rescue Party (CNRP). Sam Rainsy becomes chairman and HRP’s Kem Sokha becomes vice chairman. CNRP is registered in October.
Teenager is killed in protest against eviction
A 14-year-old girl is shot dead by security forces in connection with a protest against evictions in the province of Kratie.
The water authority is listed on the stock exchange
The Phnom Penh Water Authority will be the first company listed on the Phnom Penh Stock Exchange (see July 2011).
Environmental activists are shot to death by soldiers
A well-known environmental activist, Chut Wutty, is shot dead by soldiers as he guides two journalists investigating the illegal logging in southwest Cambodia.
Internet surveillance is increasing
Authorities are ordering internet cafe owners to register visitors and monitor activities online.
Life sentence for Duch
Duch, the prison chief during the Red Khmer regime, has his prison sentence extended to life (see July 2010). Since he was first sentenced, Duch’s sentence was first reduced from 35 years to 30, and in addition, the eleven years he had already spent in prison were counted. Now, however, Duch is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.