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Cambodia

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 16.0 million (July 2016 estimate). The 2013 Inter-censal Population Survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics said Buddhists make up 97.9 percent of the population, and an estimated 95 percent of the population is Theravada Buddhist, according to the Ministry of Cults and Religions (MCR). The vast majority of ethnic Khmer Cambodians are Buddhist. Ethnic Vietnamese who reside in the country traditionally practice Mahayana Buddhism although there are many who have adopted Theravada Buddhism. Other ethnic Vietnamese practice Roman Catholicism, and they make up the vast majority of Catholics in the country. Ethnic Vietnamese make up approximately 5 percent of the population. According to government estimates, approximately 2.6 percent of the population is Muslim, although some nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) estimate the Muslim population to be 4 to 5 percent. The Muslim population is predominantly ethnic Cham, although not all Cham are Muslim. The Cham typically live in towns and rural fishing villages on the banks of the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River, as well as in Kampot Province. There are four branches of Islam represented in the country: the Shafi’i branch, practiced by as many as 90 percent of Muslims in the country; the Salafi (Wahhabi) branch; the indigenous Iman-San branch; and the Kadiani branch. The remainder of the population includes Bahais, Jews, ethnic Vietnamese Cao Dai, and members of various Christian denominations.

International Religious Freedom Reports
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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future