People-in-Country Profile

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Vietnamese in Cambodia


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Vietnamese in Cambodia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
814,000 Vietnamese Buddhism 3.00 % 0.17 %   

Vietnamese in Cambodia

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Introduction / History
The Vietnamese come to Cambodia for many reasons. Some have lived here for generations. Vietnamese began migrating to Cambodia as early as the seventeenth century. In 1863, when Cambodia became a French colony, many Vietnamese were brought to Cambodia by the French to work on plantations and occupy civil servant positions. During the Lon Nol Regime (1970-1975) and Pol Pot regime (1975-1979), many of the Vietnamese living in Cambodia were killed. Others were either repatriated or escaped to Vietnam or Thailand. During the ten year Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia from 1979 until 1989 many of the Vietnamese who had previously lived in Cambodia returned. Along with them came friends and relatives. Also, many former South Vietnamese soldiers came to Cambodia fleeing persecution from the communist government. Today, due to the high unemployment rate in Vietnam, many Vietnamese come to Cambodia looking for work.

What are their lives like?
While many Vietnamese come to Cambodia looking for a better life, few find it. Due to Vietnam's ten year occupation of Cambodia, most Cambodians harbor a deep distrust and dislike of the Vietnamese. Most Vietnamese in Cambodia live in poverty with inadequate food and housing and no access to clean water. Many are without land, living in floating villages on the lake or rivers. They earn their living as fishermen, sellers and laborers. Diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS are spreading among the people. They have limited access to medical care and educational systems. However, there is a growing number of middle-class Vietnamese. They own restaurants, computer shops, beauty salons or other small businesses. Most Vietnamese maintain their own language, culture and traditions, with little integration into Khmer culture.

What are their beliefs?
If asked, a majority of Vietnamese would claim to be Buddhist. However, though most Vietnamese would identify themselves as Buddhist, they are unfamiliar with the teachings and practices of Buddhism. The Vietnamese follow Mahayana Buddhism, not the Theravada Buddhism of Cambodian. The more important religious practices of the Vietnamese center around ancestor worship and animism. Food and beverage are regularly offered to deceased relatives and other spirits. On special holidays, paper votives representing money and gold are burned and sent to the deceased ancestors. It is their belief that these spirits have the ability to influence the lives of the living, so they must be appeased. They live in constant fear that an unappeased spirit will bring misfortune upon them and their families.

What are their needs?
The majority of the Vietnamese of Cambodia live in extreme poverty. They lack clean water, sanitation facilities, schools, basic health care and jobs. Many Vietnamese are considered stateless, nor recognized as citizens of either Cambodia or Vietnam. But their greatest need is the joy and hope that comes in knowing Christ. Many of the Vietnamese have never heard the name of Jesus. Pray that God will send harvesters to this field and open doors to the Gospel among the Vietnamese of Cambodia.

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Country: Cambodia
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Phnom Penh; generally dispersed longstanding population; communities in urban areas, including Siemreab, Preah Sihanouk, Ta Khmau, others.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Vietnamese
People Name General: Vietnamese
Alternate People Names:
Kinh (Việt)Viet
ROP3 Code: 105018
Joshua Project People ID: 12700
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 814,000
Population all Countries: 84,659,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Vietnamese
People Name General: Vietnamese
Ethnic Code: MSY52b
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Vietnamese (814,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): vie    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Sub-division:Mahayana
Major Religions:
Buddhism66.00 % 
Christianity3.00 %(Evangelical: 0.17 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam1.00 % 
Non-Religious19.00 % 
Other / Small11.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent40.00 %
Protestant23.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian2.00 %
Roman Catholic35.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1890-1989
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1916-1994
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsGeneral Ministry Resources
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoCreation to Christ
Film / VideoFather's Love Letter
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Vietnamese
Film / VideoMagdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / VideoThe Hope Video
Film / VideoThe Story of Dong
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGod's Simple Plan
GeneralGot Questions Ministry
Text / Printed MatterBible Gateway Scripture
Text / Printed MatterBible: Revised Vietnamese Version Bible
Text / Printed MatterBible: Vietnamese Bible 1934
Text / Printed MatterBibles, Bible League
Text / Printed MatterInternational Bible Society
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path (Vietnamese)
Text / Printed MatterWorld Missionary Press Booklets
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Vietnamese in Cambodia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Vietnamese     Asia, Southeast    
      Vietnamese Cambodia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Vietnamese in Cambodia          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Vietnamese  
    All Religions                              

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