Cambodia formally known as the Kingdom of Cambodia is an Asian country situated in the Southeast Asian Peninsula. Cambodia is bordered by Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Gulf of Thailand with a total population of more 15 million people. The main religion in Thailand is Theravada Buddhism that is practiced by more than 90% the population. The largest ethnic group in Cambodia is the Khmers. Of the minority groups, the largest is Vietnamese. The other minority groups in Cambodia include the Chams, Chinese, and 30 other tribes from the hills.
The Khmers are one of the oldest ethnic groups in the area, having filtered into Southeast Asia shortly after the Mon. They were the builders of the Khmer Empire, and now form the mainstream of political, cultural, and economic Cambodia.
The Khmers see themselves as being one race but divided into three subgroups based on national origin and language. The Khmer of Cambodia speaks the Khmer language. Khmer Surin is ethnic Khmers whose lands once belonged to the Khmer Empire but have since become part of Thailand. They have their own dialect but also speak fluent Isan Thai. Similarly, the Khmer Krom are Khmers living in the regions of the former Khmer Empire that are now part of Vietnam. The Khmer account for 91% of the Cambodian population.
The Vietnamese is the largest ethnic minority in Cambodia, with an estimated 740,000 living in many areas. They were the most populous among the ethnic minority groups in Cambodia before the Cambodian Civil War mostly found in Southeast of Cambodia alongside the Mekong Delta. There are very few cultural connections between the two peoples because the early Khmers were influenced by the Indian cultural sphere while the Vietnamese are part of the Chinese cultural sphere.
The Chinese, approximately 1% of the population are one of the largest and most visible ethnic minorities in Cambodia with about 695,852 living in Cambodia. Most Chinese are descended from 18th–19th-century settlers who came in search of trade and commerce opportunities. Most are urban dwellers, engaged primarily in commerce. Intermarriage between the Chinese and Khmers has been common, in which case they would often assimilate into mainstream Khmer society, retaining few Chinese customs.
The Tai, Lao, Cham, and other group’s population in Cambodia significantly decreased during the Cambodian civil war.
The Lao people live in the distant northeast part of Cambodia along the Mekong and its tributaries. Most Lao born in Cambodia are acknowledged as Khmer according to a policy set by the Cambodian government. Most of the remaining population of the ‘other’ Cambodian people has been assimilated into the Khmer culture. The Tai, Cham, Lao and others account for 5% of Cambodia's population.