Population Hits 15M; Phnom Penh Grows 60 Percent

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A crowd gathers by the Mekong River in Phnom Penh in 2018. (VOD)

Cambodia’s population has hit 15.2 million and Phnom Penh has grown 60 percent since the last census to reach a population of 2.1 million, according to preliminary census results released today.

As of March 3, there were 15,288,489 people living in Cambodia — 7.4 million male and 7.8 million female, according to the results.

The figures do not include Cambodians living abroad, a population estimated at 1.23 million.

The census also found that population growth was low and slowing: The annual growth rate dropped from 1.5 percent between 1998 and 2008 to 1.2 percent from 2008 to 2019.

Planning Minister Chhay Thorn said the results were preliminary but still fit for use, adding that final results would be released mid next year.

About 9,200 officers were employed to interview 3.7 million households over 11 days earlier this year.

The census also showed Cambodia’s population density to be 86 per square meter, lower than the Asean average of 126.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said Cambodia still had plenty of space and encouraged families to have more children.

According to the preliminary figures, Phnom Penh is the most populous administrative region with 2,129,371 people, up from 1,327,615 in the 2008 census, an increase of 60 percent over the 11-year span.

Kep province had the lowest population at 41,798.

San Chey, director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said he hoped to see more detailed questioning in future censuses, and said some census officers appeared too passive during the interviewing period.

In response, Hang Lina, director of the National Institute of Statistics, said some errors and passiveness could not be avoided, but they were within acceptable limits. Next time the institute would expand its questionnaires to capture the needs and hardships of the people, Lina added.

Past censuses have recorded a population growth from 5.7 million in 1962 to 6.6 million in 1979, 11.4 million in 1998, and 13.4 million in 2008.

(Translated by Kang Sothear and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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