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People and Society






Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire, ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863 and it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953. In April 1975, after a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried or are awaiting trial for crimes against humanity by a hybrid UN-Cambodian tribunal supported by international assistance. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Norodom SIHANOUK abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local elections were held in Cambodia in April 2007, with little of the pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections in July 2008 were relatively peaceful.


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People And Society

Noun Cambodian(s)
Adjective Cambodian

Ethnic groups
Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%

Khmer (official) 95%, French, English

Buddhist (official) 96.4%, Muslim 2.1%, other 1.3%, unspecified 0.2% (1998 census)

Population World Ranking: 68
14,952,665 (July 2012 est.)
Estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age structure
0-14 years
32.2% (male 2,375,155/female 2,356,305)
15-64 years
64.1% (male 4,523,030/female 4,893,761)
65 years and over
3.8% (male 208,473/female 344,993) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 23.3 years
Male 22.6 years
Female 24 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 69
1.687% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 57
25.17 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 104
7.97 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 130
-0.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 20% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
3.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
PHNOM PENH (capital) 1.519 million (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.04 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.6 male(s)/female
Total population
0.94 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 44
250 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 38
Total 54.08 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 61.02 deaths/1,000 live births
46.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 177
Total population 63.04 years
Male 60.66 years
Female 65.53 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 71
2.78 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 114
5.8% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.227 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density
0.1 beds/1,000 population (2004)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 69
0.5% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 52
63,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 45
3,100 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk Very high
Food or waterborne diseases
Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases
Dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 20
28.8% (2008)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 153
2.1% of GDP (2009)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 73.6%
Male 84.7%
Female 64.1% (2004 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 10 years
Male 10 years
Female 9 years (2007)


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Cambodia (Phnom Penh):
Country Flag
Country Locator

GPS points from Cambodia (Phnom Penh)

square Phumi Prey Pra Svay Rieng

square Phumi L'ak St Ng Treng

square Phumi Pu Ham Mondol Kiri

square Phumi Svay Ta Yean Svay Rieng

square Phumi Pak Kab (cb15)

square Prek Chhker Kaun Khett Kampong Cham

square Phumi Beng Kampong Thum

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