Monday, April 9, 2012

How Many Cambodians in the U. S. ?

With the issue of repatriated Cambodians from the U. S. once again in one of the recent Phnom Penh Post headlines, I wondered how many Cambodian Americans are there really in the U. S. Sometimes one is led to believe that there are vast numbers. So I once again checked those numbers.

The 2010 U. S. census counted 244,000 Cambodians in the U. S., of which about 15,000 live in Long Beach and 13,000 in Lowell. One Cambodian civic leader said in a Voice of America interview that there are 300,000 Cambodians in the U. S. but only 100,000 show up in the census. This is, of course, belied by the census. The census figure matches another survey done in 2005, which counted roughly 241,000 Cambodians ( ). The 300,000 probably applies to the Cambodian population outside Cambodia.

The latter survey also points out an interesting factor - the median age is 25.3. Now that’s pretty young. Unfortunately, the median age doesn’t give you the proportion of age groups. Nevertheless, it’s lower than the number for the entire U. S. population. The younger people grew up in the U. S. and identify as Americans. All the more surprising is that 44.2% speak English less than well. This figure speaks directly to the average level of education.

So altogether, I believe Cambodian-Americans, not the least that relatively paltry number in Long Beach, are vastly overrated in their significance on homeland Cambodian life. I now also seem to notice a more critical view in native Cambodians of life in the U. S. as a more realistic view sets in.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog! If you ever needed an idea of what to write about- I'd value you opinion on gender roles in marriages between young couples in Cambodia. Do you notice big cultural differences between Cambodian and American couples? Would be interested in your perspective since my husband (who is Khmer) and I are noticing some distinct cultural differences that we need to work through such as communication and conflict resolution. We are waiting for his visa now- a long process. Feeling increasingly silly for posting this so I think I'll come to a close before I change my mind! Take good care and thank you!

KJE said...

Thanks for your interest and your kind words. I would gladly pick up your subject; however, I am not a sociologist nor a psychologist so my views might not have the background that is usually required for such an article. I take it your husband is still in Cambodia while you are in the U. S. Look out for a post in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great! Don't worry, not expecting any psychoanalysis- just your views! Thanks for the response and take care.

Anonymous said...

Bo say:

214,000 are more than I thought. I think they are around 100,000 or less. One thing I'm sure they extremely love to party. Most of them don’t care much about Cambodia and those who do care about Cambodia are often antigovernment. You should notice by now, if you say any thing good about Cambodia, they personally get offended. Perhaps the oldest or the first generation, in their 50s or 60s, who are traveling more to Cambodia that not well educated. The second generation often well educated or at least got a B. A. or B. S. The second generation is always doing Face book or Tweeter. They don’t appear in your blog or any Cambodian blog such as Ki-Media or Khmerization and Cambodia would be a boring topic for them. The second generation speaks Khmer with a very strong accent and most of them cannot read nor write the language.