Population Figures Show Continued Growth

The Ministry of Planning’s National Institute of Statistics on Thursday released the results of its second mid-census national population survey, which showed continued rapid population growth and urbanization in the country.

The results—released mid-way between the 2008 and 2018 population censuses—were compiled from surveys of 28,650 households completed between March 3 and 7, and detail population growth, distribution and density across the country’s 24 provinces.

“To get population data, we need a census, which is very expensive,” said Akihiko Ito, who led the survey as a representative of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which also worked with the Ministry of Planning and the U.N. Population Fund. He added that in developing countries, the time between censuses can be problematic for policymakers who rely on such data.

“Normally, it is conducted every 10 years. But we need some surveys in between to get rough estimates.”

Mr. Ito added that the survey results were raw figures and had yet to be properly analyzed, but said there were a few findings in the survey that stand out.

“The household size is decreasing and the population growth rate is now decreasing, which is a natural phenomenon for any country which is developing,” Mr. Ito said.

The survey revealed that Cam­bodia’s population grew 9.5 percent to 14,676,591 from the 13,395,682 estimated in the 2008 census—a 48.7 percent increase on the population of 9,870,000 estimated in the 1993 to 1994 Socio-Economic Survey of Cambodia, which was released shortly after the withdrawal of Untac forces.

The population growth from 2008 to 2013 came at a slower pace, with the survey estimating annual population growth of 1.46 percent over the five-year period, compared to 1.54 percent between the 1998 and 2008 censuses.

It also revealed a drop in fertility. In 1998, 43 percent of the population was aged between zero and 14, which has now dropped to 34 percent, and the working age population in the country—those 15 to 64 years old, increased from 54 to 62 percent over the same 15-year period.

Cambodia’s population in urban areas grew from 2,614,027 in 2008 to hit 3,146,212, an increase from 19.5 percent to 21.4 percent of the total population.

Amid the urbanization, Kompong Cham province managed to cling to its long-held position as the country’s most populous province with 11.97 percent of the total population, and Phnom Penh came second with 11.5 percent.

In Phnom Penh, the population grew by 12.4 percent between 2008 and 2013 from 1,501,725 to 1,688,044 people.

Preah Vihear province, which had a population of 171,139 in 2008, grew 37.5 percent to hit 235,370 this year. The population in Prey Veng grew 22.1 percent from 947,372 to 1,156,739.

All provinces experienced some level of growth except for Pailin, which saw a 6.7 percent decrease in its population from 70,486 in 2008 to 65,795.

Mr. Ito said that the training provided to Cambodians who helped collect data should help the government carry out such a survey on its own in future.

“At the moment, the Cam­bo­dian government can’t do such activities,” Mr. Ito said. “I hope in the future…the Cambodian government should do [this] for themselves.”

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