World Population

Thailand Population

Thailand is located in the centre of mainland Southeast Asia, borders Myanmar and Laos to the north, Cambodia and Laos to the east, Malaysia to the south, and southern extremity of Myanmar, Andaman Sea to the west. Thailand population in 2021 is estimated to be 70 million, covering an area of 513,115 sq km (198,120 sq miles), Thailand is the 50th largest country by total area. Its popular for tropical beaches, royal palaces, ancient ruins and Buddhist temples, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, which is Suvaṇṇabhumi,may have originated from Pali meaning land of gold in Sanskrit language. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and other major cities are Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen, Nakorn Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathanee, Hat Yai and Udon Thani. Much of the nation consists of a flat alluvial plain, most of which is farmed in rice. Forested and mountainous areas exist, particularly in the north along the western border and in parts of the south. Because its latitude is from 6 to 20 degrees north of the equator and attitude is very close to sea level in many areas, high temperatures and high humidity are prevalent. National Day is celebrated on Birthday of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej which is 5th December. Thailand is an emerging economy which is heavily export-dependent, with exports accounting for more than two thirds of GDP. Buddhism has played a significant role in Thai culture and society. The Buddhist architecture of Thailand is similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries, particularly Cambodia and Laos, with which Thailand shares cultural and historical heritage.

Income Distribution

Major Exports are automobile parts and accessories, precious stones and jewellery, Rice, rubber, electronic ICs; refined fuels, iron and steel products, chemical products, polymers of ethylene, propylene, machinery etc. Major Imports are crude oil, machinery & parts, chemicals, electrical machinery, iron and steel products, jewellery including silver bars & gold, computers and parts, other metal ores, natural gas, fertilizer & pesticides etc. The industrial (39%) and the service sectors serve as the two main sectors in the Thai GDP. Agricultural sector shares only 8.6 % of the GDP lower than trading sector (13.5%) and the logistics & communication sector (9.6%). The construction & mining sector 4.3% to the country’s GDP. Other service sectors which include the financial, the educational, the hotel sectors etc. account for 25 % GDP.

Religions in Thailand

Thailand population by religion is Buddhist 95%, Muslims 3.8%, Christians 0.5%, others 1.7%. Buddhism in Thailand is largely of the Theravada school. With approximately 95 million Buddhists, Thailand has the second largest Buddhist population in the world, after China. Buddhism is believed to have come to what is now Thailand as early as 250 BCE, in the time of Indian Emperor Ashoka. Since then, Buddhism and the Thai monarchy has often interlinked, with Thai kings historically seen as the main patrons of Buddhism in Thailand. Religious wise India and Thailand have over a millennia old religious, cultural and trade links.

Racial Groups in Thailand

Thais are the main Ethnic groups in Thailand, other ethnic groups include Chinese, Malays, the Burmese, Lao and Khmers .

Languages in Thailand

Official Language of Thailand is Thai/Tai. English is also widely spoken.

The Thailand provinces and Administrative Areas as below table:

NameName in ThaiPopulation (2019)Area
Bangkok(special administrative area)กรุงเทพมหานคร5,666,2641,565
Amnat Charoenอำนาจเจริญ378,4383,161
Ang Thongอ่างทอง279,654968
Bueng Kanบึงกาฬ424,0914,306
Chai Natชัยนาท326,6112,470
Chiang Maiเชียงใหม่1,779,25420,107
Chiang Raiเชียงราย1,298,30411,678
Kamphaeng Phetกำแพงเพชร727,8078,607
Khon Kaenขอนแก่น1,802,87210,886
Mae Hong Sonแม่ฮ่องสอน284,13812,681
Maha Sarakhamมหาสารคาม962,6655,292
Nakhon Nayokนครนายก260,7512,122
Nakhon Pathomนครปฐม920,0302,168
Nakhon Phanomนครพนม719,1365,513
Nakhon Ratchasimaนครราชสีมา2,648,92720,494
Nakhon Sawanนครสวรรค์1,059,8879,598
Nakhon Si Thammaratนครศรีธรรมราช1,561,9279,943
Nong Bua Lamphuหนองบัวลำภู512,7803,859
Nong Khaiหนองคาย522,3113,027
Pathum Thaniปทุมธานี1,163,6041,526
Phang Ngaพังงา268,7884,171
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthayaพระนครศรีอยุธยา820,1882,557
Prachuap Khiri Khanประจวบคีรีขันธ์554,1166,368
Roi Etร้อยเอ็ด1,305,2118,299
Sa Kaeoสระแก้ว566,3037,195
Sakon Nakhonสกลนคร1,153,3909,606
Samut Prakanสมุทรปราการ1,344,8751,004
Samut Sakhonสมุทรสาคร584,703872
Samut Songkhramสมุทรสงคราม193,305417
Sing Buriสิงห์บุรี208,446822
Suphan Buriสุพรรณบุรี846,3345,358
Surat Thaniสุราษฎร์ธานี1,068,01012,891
Ubon Ratchathaniอุบลราชธานี1,878,14615,745
Udon Thaniอุดรธานี1,586,64611,730
Uthai Thaniอุทัยธานี328,6186,730

History of Thailand

Population history from 1911 to 1970.

Census YearPopulation
1 April,19118,266,408
1 April,19199,207,355
15 July, 192911,506,207
23 May, 193714,464,105
23 May, 194717,442,689
25 April, 196026,257,916
1 April, 197034,397,374
Thailand is a tropical country in Southeast Asia, extending over an area approximately 400 miles, plus a 500 mile extension down the narrow Malay Peninsula. In addition to Malaysia, its neighbours are Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 7th century. The majority of the inhabitants of Thailand are descendants of speakers of Tai languages, non-Tai speakers are mixed in the population of various migrants into this region. Some of the indigenous speak Malay, Mon, Khmer languages. The Ayutthaya Kingdom (also spelled Ayudhya or Ayodhya) was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767 ruled from the city of Ayutthaya. Most of the Mon are descendants of migrants from Burma in the 17th to the 19th century. Thailand has attracted large numbers of immigrants from neighbouring countries since the mid-19th century, owing to the expansion of the Thai economy and political upheavals elsewhere in Asia. The largest number of immigrants by far have come from China, and they constitute a significant minority in Thailand.

Population Projection

YearPopulation (Millions)
Source:UN Population Stats Thailand is facing an era of the demographic transition in which the falling of fertility and mortality rates occur simultaneously. The country's birth rates are now below replacement, causing the labor force to shrink gradually, while population aging rates grow faster.

Prospects and Contexts of Demographic Transitions in Thailand, According to Journal of Population and Social Studies, Volume 27 Number 1, January 2019, Authors (Suchada Thaweesit, Pramote Prasartkul1, Suchada Thaweesit1 and Sutthida Chuanwan1). Thailand's population rose sharply from 1782 to present, the population size between the 1850s and 1960s changed extensively. It also increased approximately 17 times, from about 4 million in the early years of the Rattanakosin Era to almost 70 million at present. From 1960 to 1990, the population almost doubled. It was around 26.3 million in the 1960 census before becoming more than 54 million as shown in the 1990 census. However, fertility among Thai women began declining in the 1970s and dropped significantly from the 1980s onward. Evidence of fertility decline in Thailand was clearly seen by the downward trend in the yearly number of births, from over one million births per year from 1963 to 1983 to under 900 thousand in 1997, under 800 thousand in 2008, and an estimate of 700 thousand in 2017.

In 1782 to 1910 when the first national census was conducted. Prior to the Rattanakosin Era, the estimated number of people residing in the Kingdom may have been around 4 million, and by 1900 the Thailand population reached around 6 or 7 million.

People in the pre-modern period would have had lifespans that were significantly shorter with an average longevity that was less than 40 years. Based on the demographic transition estimation the population between 1782 and 1910 is believed to have had a low growth rate due to a high birth rate and a high death rate. It is also assumed that the high birth rate was caused by natural fertility, the result of the population not using birth control methods. It can be inferred that a high mortality rate also prevailed in this stage. Historical evidence shows that people in the pre-modern kingdom of Thailand relied exclusively on traditional medicine, which was less effective in saving people’s lives. This condition contributed to low life expectancy.

The primary causes of death were infectious diseases such as cholera and smallpox. The outbreaks of these diseases resulted in sporadic massive deaths in the Kingdom. The number of deaths among infants less than one year old may have been higher than 200 out of 1,000 babies. The number of deaths among mothers may have been higher than 200-300 per 100,000 individuals annually due to complications of pregnancy and birth delivery.

The population growth in the Kingdom was likely affected by the decline of mortality. It was observed that after World War II, the death rates of Thai people fell sharply from about 30 deaths per 1,000 individuals to less than 15 per 1,000 in the mid-1960s. Declines in death rates were an outcome of the adoption of modern medicine and the improvements of sanitation in the country which began around the late 19th century. At that time, when death rates began to drop, birth rates were still high. This situation created a wider gap between these two vital events and it constituted a high rate of population growth in Thailand.

Thailand's population growth rate continued to be observed in the 1960s which was as high as 3.2% per year, and the wider gap between birth and death rates was obvious. At that time, the World Bank (WB) was the first organization that warned Thailand about the unfavourable impact of high population growth resulting from high fertility. In an attempt at addressing the country's need for further development in the mid-1950s, the WB recommended that Thailand reduce fertility so that the country's economic development would be unaffected.

By 1970, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of Thai women was almost 5 children per woman. As per UNFPA, it took 20 years for the TFR 5 to 2.2 which is from year 1970 to 1990. This rate further declined to only 2 children per woman in 1996. In 2016, the TFR in Thailand was about 1.5, much below the replacement. Although infertility may play a role in the reduced population rate, it would not have been the major cause. Statistics about infertility in Thailand revealed that about 15% of Thai couples in reproductive years experienced fertility problems. Declines in fertility were also furthered by the popularity and pervasive use of contraception, the result of the National Family Planning Policy announced in 1970. Marital fertility among Thai people began to decline during the 1970s and dropped dramatically in the 1980s, marking Thailand's reproductive revolution. A declining birth rate and longer life expectancy create a population that is aging. Population aging is conventionally measured by the proportion of older persons aged 60 and over in contrast to other segments of the population.

Since the 1980s, fast declines of fertility and increasing life expectancy have resulted in changes in the percentages of children and of the elderly. The proportion of older persons in 2005 is estimated to grow from 7% to 14% in the space of 16 years, and will increase to 20% or one-fifth of the total population by 2031. In 2010, the proportion of the population aged 65+ was estimated at 8%, but the proportion of aging population is projected to be over 15% in 2030. Population projections for Thailand conducted by the NESDB-2013 predicted that the total fertility rate of Thai people will be declining further from 1.6 in 2015 to 1.3 in the next 20 years. Life expectancy will in all likelihood be in an upward trend from 74 years at present to 80 years in the next twenty years, and the country will rank the 24th in the highest old-age dependency ratios in the world.

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