Officials Planning Population Census for 2008

Cambodia’s second population cen­sus since 1962 is planned for 2008, an endeavor that will mobilize more than 30,000 local enumerators, who will gather information on indicators such as population, fertility and literacy, National Institute of Statistics officials said Thursday.

The March 2008 census will be more extensive than the last poll conducted in 1998, when areas of the northwest were omitted due to security concerns posed by elements of the Khmer Rouge who were still armed.

Data records compiled during the 1962 census were destroyed and the 1998 census should now be considered the country’s first, said San Sy Than, director general of the Na­tional Institute of Statistics.

“We need to have quality data for planning and development,” San Sy Than said.

“This is the main aim…to contri­bute to government policy and programs and to create a population da­tabase and promote a culture of in­formed planning,” he said.

Hang Lina, deputy director of the Ministry of Planning, said the long period of time without a true census was due to instability.

“We could not do it before be­cause we have war and political prob­lems in the country so we postponed it 36 years since 1962,” Hang Lina said.

She said she expected the 2008 census to be more successful than the 1998 census, because staff are more experienced in collecting data than before, she said.

Preliminary results are expected to be released by August 2008, but the full analysis will not be completed until 2010. While the last census counted the population at 11.4 million people, Hang Lina said she ex­pected this number to increase to 14 million.

The survey will cost in the region of $5.9 million and the government has agreed to pay for salaries of the some 30,000 enumerators and electricity. The remainder will be dependent mainly on dona­tions, Hang Li­na said.

The 1998 census was primarily paid for by the UN Popu­la­­tion Fund.

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