Cambodia is a small Southeast Asian country in the region known as Indochina. The indigenous people of Cambodia are known as the Khmer and it is believed that they have inhabited the land since 380 BCE.
Cambodia is located on mainland Southeast Asia between Thailand to the west and north and Vietnam to the east. It shares a land border with Laos in the northeast. Cambodia has a sea coast on the Gulf of Thailand. The Dangrek Mountain range in the north and Cardamom Mountains in the southwest form natural boundaries. Principal physical features include the Tonle Sap lake and the Mekong and Bassac Rivers. Cambodia remains one of the most heavily forested countries in the region, although deforestation continues at an alarming rate.
Ninety percent of Cambodia's population is ethnically Cambodian. Other ethnic groups include Chinese, Vietnamese, hill tribes, Chams, and Laotian. Theravada Buddhism is the religion of 95% of the population; Islam, Animism, and Christianity also are practiced. Khmer is the official language and is spoken by more than 95% of the population. Some French is still spoken in urban areas, and English is increasingly popular as a second language.
- Population (2007 est.): 13,995,904.
- Avg. annual growth rate (2007 est.): 1.72%.
- Health: Infant mortality rate--58/1,000. Life expectancy--59 years male; 63 years female.
- Ethnic groups: Cambodian 90%; Vietnamese 5%; Chinese 1%; small numbers of hill tribes, Chams, and Laotian.
- Religions: Theravada Buddhism 95%; Islam; animism; Christianity.
- Languages: Khmer (official) spoken by more than 95% of the population; some French still spoken in urban areas; English increasingly popular as a second language.
- Education: Years compulsory--none. Enrollment--primary school, 91.9%; grades 7 to 9, 26.1%; grades 10 to 12, 9.3%; and post-secondary, 1.4%. Completion rates--primary school, 46.8%; lower secondary school, 20.57%; upper secondary school, 8.92%; university, 6%. Literacy (total population over 15 that can read and write, 2006)--73.6% (male 84.7%; female 64.1%).
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