Thailand’s shifting demographics are caused by several problems:
Birth rates drop since people get married later in life. Many couples do not actively plan to have children, while many prefer to stay single.
Unwanted fertility rates among adolescents still remain high, adversely affecting the newborn’s health. Teen parents also face difficulties in parenting, education, and other social opportunities.
People tend to live longer due to advances in health science and modern medicines.
However, premature mortality rates caused by accidents, non-communicable diseases, and mental health are higher than usual.
In 2020, there were 1.28 million Thai people living abroad.
Migration for better job opportunities and quality of life
More migrant workers move to work in Thailand.
The demographic changes that have occurred are not far-fetched. It can affect you in many different ways. Let’s see what risks you may encounter.
Society is at risk
The pace of population aging has become much faster than the social system can keep up. Younger generations do not want to have children. Many of them have to take care of their aging parents. The uncertainty generates the younger generations’ concerns about whether they will be able to take care of themselves or have enough savings when they retire.
Fact: Thailand will be the first country among developing countries to become an aging society. It is predicted that the country in 2033 will become a “super-aging society,” with 28% of the population aged 60 years and over.
Economy is at risk
You will likely get a pad kaprao (Thai basil fried rice) for 90 baht per dish since Thailand lacks the “working age” population, which is the main driver of the country’s economy. The lack of this population group has resulted in a drop in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Shortage of labor may affect Thailand’s economic growth prospects. When the working-age populations decrease, opportunities for economic growth may slow down accordingly. Goods become more expensive, but wages stay the same. Moreover, the old-age allowance might be insufficient, and the government needs more budget to support them financially.
You will likely spend your savings on medical expenses in your retirement because of the insufficient old-age allowance and lack of government budget.
Fact: In the past 10 years, the inflation rate in Thailand was about 4%. If a dish of rice is currently 40 baht, in the next 20 years it may reach 90 baht.
Environment is at risk
There are fish in the water, but their flesh contains microplastics. A field has rice, but it also has fertilizer and pesticides. The working-age populations flock to the city to compete for jobs. Food in the city will be of lower quality. You will likely encounter a climate crisis: strong sunshine in the rainy season, rain downpours during the winter, and PM 2.5 air pollution persisting every season. Many millennials begin to hesitate to have children of Generation Alpha (the generation of children born between 2011 and 2025).
Education is at risk
Be careful not to fall into a trap because educational inequality makes it more difficult to access other opportunities in life. Many families with children need help accessing quality education. Since the education system cannot benefit children equally, many people decide not to have children. They fear they won’t be able to provide for and support their children. Moreover, the curriculum needs to be developed and evolve with the contemporary world.
Public health is at risk
Medicine will advance. People can access quality healthcare and treatments, but the medical fee may be more expensive than you can afford. The healthcare workers will not be enough to help care for an increasing number of senior citizens. You become concerned about your savings that you may need to use on medical expenses in your retirement. Then, there are also people’s mental health problems that are deteriorating due to the fast-paced society.