Thailand Terrain: central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere; Natural Resources: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land;

Natural Hazards: land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts;

Population: 67,448,120 (July 2013 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected


Thailand Profile: Interesting Facts and Figures

Introduction: Background

A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and later fighting alongside the United States in Vietnam. Thailand since 2005 has experienced several rounds of political turmoil including a military coup in 2006 that ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat, followed by large-scale street protests by competing political factions in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Demonstrations in 2010 culminated with clashes between security forces and pro-THAKSIN protesters, elements of which were armed, and resulted in at least 92 deaths and an estimated $1.5 billion in arson-related property losses. THAKSIN’s youngest sister, YINGLAK Chinnawat, in 2011 led the Puea Thai Party to an electoral win and assumed control of the government. YINGLAK’s leadership was almost immediately challenged by historic flooding in late 2011 that had large swathes of the country underwater and threatened to inundate Bangkok itself. Throughout 2012 the Puea Thai-led government struggled with the opposition Democrat Party to fulfill some of its main election promises, including constitutional reform and political reconciliation. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded in violence associated with the ethno-nationalist insurgency in Thailand’s southern Malay-Muslim majority provinces.

People and Society

Population 67,448,120 (July 2013 est.)
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
Languages Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Religions Buddhist (official) 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)
Median Age total: 35.1 years
male: 34.2 years
female: 36.1 years (2013 est.)
Age Structure 0-14 years: 19.2% (male 6,620,873/female 6,313,188)
15-24 years: 15.1% (male 5,181,468/female 4,975,083)
25-54 years: 45.6% (male 15,192,334/female 15,569,761)
55-64 years: 10.4% (male 3,345,493/female 3,661,867)
65 years and over: 9.8% (male 2,971,426/female 3,616,627) (2013 est.)


Government Type constitutional monarchy
Capital name: Bangkok
geographic coordinates: 13 45 N, 100 31 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Legal System civil law system with common law influences


Location Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Area – Comparative slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
Area total: 513,120 sq km
land: 510,890 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km
Climate tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
Terrain central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
Natural Hazards land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts
Natural Resources tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land


Economy – Overview

With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand achieved steady growth due largely to industrial and agriculture exports – mostly electronics, agricultural commodities, automobiles and parts, and processed foods. Thailand is trying to maintain growth by encouraging domestic consumption and public investment to offset weak exports in 2012. Unemployment, at less than 1% of the labor force, stands as one of the lowest levels in the world, which puts upward pressure on wages in some industries. Thailand also attracts nearly 2.5 million migrant workers from neighboring countries. The Thai government is implementing a nation-wide 300 baht ($10) per day minimum wage policy and deploying new tax reforms designed to lower rates on middle-income earners. The Thai economy has weathered internal and external economic shocks in recent years. The global economic crisis severely cut Thailand’s exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted 2.3%. However, in 2010, Thailand’s economy expanded 7.8%, its fastest pace since 1995, as exports rebounded. In late 2011 growth was interrupted by historic flooding in the industrial areas in Bangkok and its five surrounding provinces, crippling the manufacturing sector. Industry recovered from the second quarter of 2012 onward with GDP growth at 5.5% in 2012. The government has approved flood mitigation projects worth $11.7 billion, which were started in 2012, to prevent similar economic damage, and an additional $75 billion for infrastructure over the next seven years with a plan to start in 2013.

GDP (Official Exchange Rate) $361 billion (2012 est.)
Budget revenues: $72.08 billion
expenditures: $88.08 billion (2012 est.)
Current Account Balance $2.759 billion (2012 est.)
$5.918 billion (2011 est.)
Imports – Commodities capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Exports – Commodities electronics, computer parts, automobiles and parts, electrical appliances, machinery and equipment, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber


Broadcast Media 6 terrestrial TV stations in Bangkok broadcast nationally via relay stations – 2 of the networks are owned by the military, the other 4 are government-owned or controlled, leased to private enterprise, and all are required to broadcast government-produced news programs twice a day; multi-channel satellite and cable TV subscription services are available; radio frequencies have been allotted for more than 500 government and commercial radio stations; many small community radio stations operate with low-power transmitters (2008)
Internet Users 17.483 million (2009)
Internet Hosts 3.399 million (2012)
Telephones – Mobile Cellular 84.075 million (2012)
Telephones – Main Lines in Use 6.391 million (2012)


Airports 101 (2013)
Heliports 7 (2013)
Roadways total: 180,053 km (includes 450 km of expressways) (2006)
Waterways 4,000 km (3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m) (2011)
Ports and Terminals Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Map Ta Phut, Prachuap Port, Si Racha
Merchant Marine total: 363
by type: bulk carrier 31, cargo 99, chemical tanker 28, container 18, liquefied gas 36, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 114, refrigerated cargo 24, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 13 (China 1, Hong Kong 1, Malaysia 3, Singapore 1, Taiwan 1, UK 6)
registered in other countries: 46 (Bahamas 4, Belize 1, Honduras 2, Panama 6, Singapore 33) (2010)


Manpower Fit for Military Service males age 16-49: 13,308,372
females age 16-49: 14,182,567 (2010 est.)

Transnational Issues

Disputes – International separatist violence in Thailand’s predominantly Malay-Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem insurgent activities; Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Laos but disputes remain over several islands in the Mekong River; despite continuing border committee talks, Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary; in 2011 Thailand and Cambodia resorted to arms in the dispute over the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by Preah Vihear temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962 and part of a planned UN World Heritage site; Thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween river near the border with Burma; in 2004, international environmentalist pressure prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River that flows through China, Burma, and Thailand; 140,000 mostly Karen refugees fleeing civil strife, political upheaval and economic stagnation in Burma live in remote camps in Thailand near the border
Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons refugees (country of origin): 83,317 (Burma) (2012)
IDPs: undetermined (resurgence in ethno-nationalist violence in south of country since 2004) (2011)

stateless persons: 506,197 (2012); note – about half of Thailand’s northern hill tribe people do not have citizenship and make up the bulk of Thailand’s stateless population; most lack documentation showing they or one of their parents were born in Thailand; children born to Burmese refugees are not eligible for Burmese or Thai citizenship and are stateless; most Chao Lay, maritime nomadic peoples, who travel from island to island in the Andaman Sea west of Thailand are also stateless; stateless Rohingya refugees from Burma are considered illegal migrants by Thai authorities and are detained in inhumane conditions or expelled; stateless persons are denied access to voting, property, education, employment, healthcare, and driving
Trafficking In Persons current situation: Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; victims, who are most often from neighboring countries, especially Burma, and also China, Vietnam, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Fiji, migrate to Thailand in search of economic opportunities but are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labor or commercial sexual exploitation; forced laborers are exploited in fishing, low-end garment production, domestic service, and some are forced to beg; some men forced to work on fishing boats have reportedly been kept at sea for years; sex trafficking of Thai and migrant children and sex tourism remain significant problems; Thailand is a transit country for victims from North Korea, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Burma destined for exploitation in third countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Russia, the Republic of Korea, the US, and Western European countries

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Thailand does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the government investigated more trafficking-related cases but prosecuted and convicted fewer trafficking offender in 2012 than it did in the previous year; widespread corruption among law enforcement personnel creates an enabling environment for human trafficking; local authorities lack an awareness of the elements of trafficking and are deficient at identifying and protecting victims; weak law enforcement, inadequate human and financial resources, and fragmented coordination among regulatory agencies in the fishing industry contributes to overall impunity for exploitive labor practices in this sector; no labor recruitment companies have been punished for forced labor or trafficking allegations (2013)