The People

More than 85 per cent of the people are Khmers (Cambodians), a Mongoloid people. Other peoples include Vietnamese, Chinese, Thais, Laotians, and Cham-Malays.

In 1994 Cambodia had a population of about 9,568,000. Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city, had some 900,000 residents in 1991. The overall population density is about 137 persons per square mile (53 per km2).

Khmer, the national language, belongs to the Mon-Khmer language family. Minority groups retain their own languages. Nearly 90 per cent of the people adhere to Theravada Buddhism. Most Cambodians are also animists. Other faiths are Christianity (predominantly Roman Catholicism), Mahayana Buddhism, and Islam.

Public education is free. Primary education lasts six years; secondary education, seven years. There are vocational and technical schools. The leading institution of higher learning is Phnom Penh University. About half the people are literate.