Cambodia still has quite a bit of poverty today. In the capital of Phnom Penh, 1 in 5 people even live in slums, without access to basic needs and hygiene. (source)
Visiting or moving to a country like this as a foreigner, you may feel rich in comparison to most locals. But how much is needed to truly be “rich” in Cambodia, when you look at the stats?
A monthly income of ~$1,620 USD or more would arguably make you “rich” in Cambodia. That amount puts you in the top 5% of earners, along with lawyers, CEOs, and doctors. And being a USD millionaire would definitely make you wealthy, as less than 1 in 3,000 people in Cambodia have that much.
I’ll expand on those numbers and more below, to help you understand what is actually “rich” in Cambodia. We’ll look at income and net worth statistics, cost of living comparisons, and more!
What is Wealthy in Cambodia?
To discuss what is “rich” in Cambodia, we should look at both wealth and income. For Cambodia, there’s more information available on income. But let’s quickly cover wealth first.
In 2021, there were an estimated 3,160 dollar millionaires in Cambodia. With a population of ~10 million adults, that means less than 1 in 3,000 Cambodian adults were millionaires as of 2021. (source)
So, if you have 1 million dollars USD or more, you would definitely be considered wealthy in Cambodia. That would put you in the top ~0.03% of wealth in the country.
For many countries, you can also find statistics on how much wealth it takes to be in the top 1% wealthiest. But unfortunately, I was unable to find this specific information for Cambodia. So, let’s move onto income.
What Is a Good Salary in Cambodia?
Now let’s talk about monthly income. First, let’s look at the lower end of things—minimum wage and lower-income jobs.
As of 2023, the minimum wage in Cambodia is $200 USD or 8,18,800 KHR per month (source). That said, many lower-income jobs in Cambodia are reported to have monthly incomes that are a fair amount higher than that:
- Mechanic: 1,220,000 KHR (~$300 USD)
- Cashier: 1,290,000 KHR (~$310 USD)
- Secretary: 1,550,000 KHR (~$380 USD)
So, the lower end of Cambodia earners are making around ~$200 to 400 USD per month. But what about higher-income jobs? How much do richer Cambodians make?
“High Income” Earners in Cambodia
Here are reported monthly incomes for some better-paying jobs in Cambodia:
- Attorney: 6,620,000 KHR (~$1,600 USD)
- CEO: 7,310,000 KHR (~$1,770 USD)
- Dentist: 8,030,000 KHR (~$1,940 USD)
Aside from these specific careers, we can also look at broader salary distributions. What do the top 50% of earners make? What about the top 5%? As of 2023, Salary Explorer reports the following:
- The top 50% earn 3,070,000 KHR or more per month (~$740 USD).
- The top 25% earn 4,650,000 KHR or more per month (~$1,130 USD).
- The top 15% earn 5,220,000 KHR or more per month (~$1,260 USD).
- The top 5% earn 6,680,000 KHR or more per month (~$1,620 USD).
- “Almost everyone” earns 14,800,000 KHR or less per month (~$3,580 USD).
Recap: When it comes to monthly income, the low end in Cambodia is around ~$200 to $400 per month, while the median is ~$740 USD, and many of the top earners are in the range of ~$1,500 to $4,000 USD per month.
Cost of Living in Cambodia
Along with relatively low incomes, Cambodia also has a pretty low cost of living. And of course, for many expats, this is one of the appeals of living in Cambodia.
For a quick overview, here are the estimated costs of living in various Cambodian cities, according to Nomad List:
|City||Expat Cost of Living||Nomad Cost of Living|
|Phnom Penh||$838 USD||$1,075 USD|
|Siem Reap||$809 USD||$1,162 USD|
|Sihanoukville||$697 USD||$1,052 USD|
Obviously, your own costs will vary, depending on your city, neighborhood, building type, room type, lifestyle habits, and more.
But we can also compare the average cost of living in Cambodia to other countries, using Numbeo. This should give us an overall sense of the scale of prices.
The following table shows the “cost of living with rent” in Cambodia compared to other countries:
|Country||How Cambodia Compares|
|United States||Cambodia is ~122% cheaper.|
|Australia||Cambodia is ~111% cheaper.|
|Canada||Cambodia is ~88% cheaper.|
|United Kingdom||Cambodia is ~75% cheaper.|
|South Korea||Cambodia is ~62% cheaper.|
|Japan||Cambodia is ~34% cheaper.|
|China||Cambodia is ~3% more expensive.|
|Thailand||Cambodia is ~5% more expensive.|
|Vietnam||Cambodia is ~16% more expensive.|
|Philippines||Cambodia is ~16% more expensive.|
|Malaysia||Cambodia is ~23% more expensive.|
|Indonesia||Cambodia is ~25% more expensive.|
|Colombia||Cambodia is ~33% more expensive.|
|India||Cambodia is ~47% more expensive.|
Again, remember that the specific city will impact your costs a lot. Rent costs can be as much as 64% cheaper in Siem Reap than Phnom Penh, for example. (source)
Personally, I think it’s interesting Cambodia is more expensive than most other SE Asian countries, including Thailand and Malaysia. This is despite the fact that those countries have higher average incomes than Cambodia.
Expat Budget for Cambodia
Assuming you’re accustomed to life in America or another highly developed country, you’d probably want at least $1,500 per month to “live well” in Cambodia, with $2,000+ still giving you still much more options.
How much to “live like a king” in Cambodia? Well, again, location will affect this. But $3,000+ USD per month would put you well into the top income percentiles, making ~double what an attorney makes. So, that seems “kingly” to me.
What It Takes to Be “Rich” in Different Asian Countries
Read my other guides to what counts as “rich” in Asia—complete with salary data, net worth statistics and more: