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Thailand Demographics Profile

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Population69,480,520 (July 2021 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Thai (singular and plural)

adjective: Thai
Ethnic groupsThai 97.5%, Burmese 1.3%, other 1.1%, unspecified <.1% (2015 est.)

note: data represent population by nationality
LanguagesThai (official) only 90.7%, Thai and other languages 6.4%, only other languages 2.9% (includes Malay, Burmese); note - data represent population by language(s) spoken at home; English is a secondary language of the elite (2010 est.)

major-language sample(s):
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The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
ReligionsBuddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.3%, Christian 1%, other <0.1%, none <0.1% (2015 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 16.45% (male 5,812,803/female 5,533,772)

15-24 years: 13.02% (male 4,581,622/female 4,400,997)

25-54 years: 45.69% (male 15,643,583/female 15,875,353)

55-64 years: 13.01% (male 4,200,077/female 4,774,801)

65 years and over: 11.82% (male 3,553,273/female 4,601,119) (2020 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 41.9

youth dependency ratio: 23.5

elderly dependency ratio: 18.4

potential support ratio: 5.4 (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 39 years

male: 37.8 years

female: 40.1 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate0.26% (2021 est.)
Birth rate10.25 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate7.66 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate-0.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Population distributionhighest population density is found in and around Bangkok; significant population clusters found througout large parts of the country, particularly north and northeast of Bangkok and in the extreme southern region of the country
Urbanizationurban population: 52.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Major cities - population10.723 million BANGKOK (capital), 1.417 Chon Buri, 1.324 million Samut Prakan, 1.182 million Chiang Mai, 979,000 Songkla, 975,000 Nothaburi (2021)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth23.3 years (2009 est.)
Maternal mortality rate37 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 6.58 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 7.2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 5.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 77.41 years

male: 74.39 years

female: 80.6 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate1.54 children born/woman (2021 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate73% (2019)
Drinking water sourceimproved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Health expenditures3.8% (2018)
Physicians density0.81 physicians/1,000 population (2018)
Hospital bed density2.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1% (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS500,000 (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths12,000 (2020 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
Obesity - adult prevalence rate10% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight7.7% (2019)
Education expenditures4.1% of GDP (2013)
Demographic profile

Thailand has experienced a substantial fertility decline since the 1960s largely due to the nationwide success of its voluntary family planning program.  In just one generation, the total fertility rate (TFR) shrank from 6.5 children per woman in 1960s to below the replacement level of 2.1 in the late 1980s.  Reduced fertility occurred among all segments of the Thai population, despite disparities between urban and rural areas in terms of income, education, and access to public services.  The country’s “reproductive revolution” gained momentum in the 1970s as a result of the government’s launch of an official population policy to reduce population growth, the introduction of new forms of birth control, and the assistance of foreign non-government organizations.  Contraceptive use rapidly increased as new ways were developed to deliver family planning services to Thailand’s then overwhelmingly rural population.  The contraceptive prevalence rate increased from just 14% in 1970 to 58% in 1981 and has remained about 80% since 2000. 

Thailand’s receptiveness to family planning reflects the predominant faith, Theravada Buddhism, which emphasizes individualism, personal responsibility, and independent decision-making.  Thai women have more independence and a higher status than women in many other developing countries and are not usually pressured by their husbands or other family members about family planning decisions.  Thailand’s relatively egalitarian society also does not have the son preference found in a number of other Asian countries; most Thai ideally want one child of each sex.

Because of its low fertility rate, increasing life expectancy, and growing elderly population, Thailand has become an aging society that will face growing labor shortages.  The proportion of the population under 15 years of age has shrunk dramatically, the proportion of working-age individuals has peaked and is starting to decrease, and the proportion of elderly is growing rapidly.  In the short-term, Thailand will have to improve educational quality to increase the productivity of its workforce and to compete globally in skills-based industries.  An increasing reliance on migrant workers will be necessary to mitigate labor shortfalls.

Thailand is a destination, transit, and source country for migrants. It has 3-4 million migrant workers as of 2017, mainly providing low-skilled labor in the construction, agriculture, manufacturing, services, and fishing and seafood processing sectors.  Migrant workers from other Southeast Asian countries with lower wages – primarily Burma and, to a lesser extent, Laos and Cambodia – have been coming to Thailand for decades to work in labor-intensive industries.  Many are undocumented and are vulnerable to human trafficking for forced labor, especially in the fisheries industry, or sexual exploitation.  A July 2017 migrant worker law stiffening fines on undocumented workers and their employers, prompted tens of thousands of migrants to go home.  Fearing a labor shortage, the Thai Government has postponed implementation of the law until January 2018 and is rapidly registering workers.  Thailand has also hosted ethnic minority refugees from Burma for more than 30 years; as of 2016, approximately 105,000 mainly Karen refugees from Burma were living in nine camps along the Thailand-Burma border.

Thailand has a significant amount of internal migration, most often from rural areas to urban centers, where there are more job opportunities.  Low- and semi-skilled Thais also go abroad to work, mainly in Asia and a smaller number in the Middle East and Africa, primarily to more economically developed countries where they can earn higher wages.

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92.9%

male: 94.7%

female: 91.2% (2015)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 15 years

male: 15 years

female: 16 years (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on September 18, 2021

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