Ethnic Minorities in Cambodia

According to the Kingdom of Cambodia’s 2019 general population census, the total Cambodian population is 15,552,211 (51.31% of females). By 2021, the population increased to 16,589,023. Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and other minorities also live in the country. Indigenous ethnic groups known as “Khmer Loeu” live in Cambodia, and they are granted some lands from the government, including communal land titles, as stated in Sub-Decree No. 83 on the procedures for registering indigenous communities’ land.

There are 22 different indigenous people living in Cambodia

Policy on the development of indigenous people provides the definition, “Indigenous peoples are the peoples living in the Kingdom of Cambodia, and they express their ethnic, social, cultural, and economic unity, practice their traditional way of life, and cultivate the land they occupy according to the traditional rules of collective land use.”

The 1998 Cambodian population census identified 17 different indigenous peoples spread across 15 provinces. They are estimated to number around 200,000 or around 1.2% of the population. Groups are often identified by their language. There are at least 21 indigenous languages in Cambodia.

The 2008 Cambodian population census identified 22 different indigenous people, consisting of 179,193 people. The indigenous population increased to 183,831 people in 2013. In 2014, the commune database identified 252,337 indigenous people in Cambodia, and the socioeconomic observation data illustrated 243,357 indigenous people in 2015. However, according to Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Organization (CIPO), the total indigenous population of 276,878, with classified by each group, Kouy indigenous group has the majority of the population consisting of 20.12% living in 135 villages across Cambodia. The 22 indigenous group includes Bunong, Kouy, Stieng, Mil, Kroal, Thmorn, Khaonh, Tompuonn, Charay, Kroeung, Kavet, Saouch, Lun, Kachak, Praov, Raadear, Chorng, Por, Souy, Chaong, Lmoun, and Mon.



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