Cambodia, or Kampuchea, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is located in South East Asia. It borders Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the north and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. It's capital, and largest city is Phnom Penh. Cambodia is said to be about one-third the size of France and somewhat larger than the U.S. state of Missouri.
At one time, Cambodia, specifically Phnom Penh, was referred to as "the jewel of Asia". A bustling and beautiful city and country, it was a place that was thriving in Asia. In the 15th Century, Cambodia was a under French Indochina rule. However, after a period of Japanese occupation during the Second World War, Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953. Despite Cambodia's neutrality, the Vietnam War, extended into the country in 1965 via the Ho Chi Minh and Sihanouk trails. A 1970 coup installed the US-aligned Khmer Republic, until being overthrown by the Khmer Rouge in 1975. The Khmer Rouge ruled the country and carried out the Cambodian Genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted in the Cambodian-Vietnamese War. The Vietnamese-occupied People's Republic of Kampuchea became the de facto government, with attempts to rebuild the country after the genocide mired by limited international recognition and ongoing conflict.
Following the 1991 Paris Peace Awards which formally ended the war with Vietnam, Cambodia was governed briefly by a United Nations Mission (1992–93). The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots. The 1997 coup d'état consolidated power under Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), who remain in power. Although constitutionally a multi-party state, the CPP dominates the political system and dissolved its main opposition party, in 2017, making Cambodia a de facto one-party state.
The unrest in the 1970's led more than 300,000 Cambodians to emigrate. Of these, more than half (some 179,000) went to the United States, more than 50,000 went to France and 45,000 went to Australia. The ones who emigrated were the "lucky ones". Those who remained in Cambodia suffered at the hand of the Khmer Rouge, either being force to join the brigade or fight against them. During this time, it is said that between 1.6 and 3 million civilian people were killed by the communist Khmer Rouge, nearly 21% of the country's population.
The current population in Cambodia is roughly 16.59 Million (2021). About 83% of the population lives in the rural areas of Cambodia, and 17% of the population lives in an urban setting. Children under the age of 15 constitute the largest group of individuals living in the country, at nearly one-third of the population, while about three-fifths of the population is under 30 years of age.
33.7% under 15 years of age
31.5% age 16-29 years
17% age 30-44 years
11.4 % age 45-59 years
4.9 % age 60-74 years
1.5 % over 75 years of age
Although a large number of young Cambodians attend some form of formal education at some time in their lives, schools and universities are severely hampered by shortages of funds, books, equipment and adequately trained and compensated teachers and staff.
Fewer than half of the country's students enrolled in elementary school proceed beyond the fifth grade.
And, four-fifths of males and two-thirds of females are literate.
Cambodia is a predominantly Buddhist country, with about 93% of the population identifying as practicing Theravada Buddhism. The population also consists of Muslim-Cham, with 4% of the population practicing Islam. Christianity is a fast growing religion amongst the younger population in Cambodia, with 2% of the population practicing Christianity. An the last of the religions that are practiced are those that are considered "other". These are the witch doctors, the spiritual healers, and fortune tellers.