Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

Cambodia’s population increases, presenting job creation challenge

Cambodia's increasing middle age population would require more job creation, especially labor-intensive jobs in garment factories, as well as high-skilled work. Panha Chhorpoan
Cambodia's increasing middle age population would require more job creation, especially labor-intensive jobs in garment factories, as well as high-skilled work. Panha Chhorpoan

Cambodia saw an increase in its working age population according to the 2019 census, leading observers to suggest the demographic dividend would benefit the country’s development.

The government released the final results of the 2019 census data on Tuesday released, which showed the country’s population increase from 13.4 million in 2008 to 15.5 million in 2019. The data showed that the “middle age population,” which include people aged between 15 and 59 years, increased from 60 percent of the population to 61.7 percent.

And, there was a reduction in young population and a small increase in the elderly population.

Hang Lina, director general at the National Institute of Statistics, said the new census results were encouraging for the country’s labor force.

“The increase in ‘middle age’ people has potential for the country’s development, as it is a labor resource to boost economic development,” Lina said

Lina said the decline in the young population, aged between 0 and 14 years, was due to a due to a drop in the total fertility rate. Additionally, there was a drop in the maternal mortality rate as well.

Hiroshi Suzuki, CEO and chief economist at the Business Research Institute for Cambodia (BRIC), the increase in working-age population would help Cambodia achieve good development and high growth of GDP.

“It has been experienced in many developing countries to grow highly with the increase of middle age population. Usually it is called ‘demographic dividend’ or ‘population bonus’,” he said.

He said, however, in order to continue high growth, those entering the workforce need high-quality education and vocational.

The census interviewed 3.5 million households across the country. Phnom Penh remained the most populated area with 2.3million, followed by Kandal and Prey Veng.

Hong Vannak, a business researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that increasing in working population would help the private sector, public sector and other organizations.

“This is an important capital recourse to boost and promote economic development. They actively join in economic development,” he said.

Chan Sophal, director of the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) said that Cambodia’s young population presents both potential and challenges.

“It is an attractive labor force for labour-intensive industries. At the same time, it requires enough job creation and adequate technical and vocational training to ensure higher income to keep up with the rising demand for a better life,” he said.

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