Cambodia's housing traditionally compared favorably with that of other countries in Southeast Asia. The most common type of dwelling consists of one or more rooms raised on mangrove piles some three m (10 ft) above the ground; it is generally crowded. Many houses in the cities are larger and of better quality.
Mass emigration from the cities during 1975–76 resulted in many dwellings being left vacant, in contrast to the dire overcrowding that occurred in the last years of the war. In the countryside, meanwhile, the waves of new migrants placed inordinate pressures on existing facilities, with much of the transplanted population forced to reside in improvised shelters. By the early 1980s, this pattern had been reversed somewhat and Phnom Penh was once again experiencing population growth.
In 1998, there were about 2,188,663 households with an average of 5.2 people per household. Only 12.% of all dwellings were linked to public electrical lines; 80% of dwellings used kerosene for lighting and 90% burned wood for cooking fuel. About 40% of dwellings receive water from dug wells. Nearly 29% go to local rivers and streams for their water supply.