Population – As the 11th most populous country in Asia, The Kingdom of Thailand is home to nearly 70 million people. However, projections regarding the country’s population growth remain bleak given its consistently declining growth rate, which stood at 0.22% in the year 2020. Thailand’s population alone does not afford it much of a demographic advantage, but when it is considered in combination with a high literacy rate, and a labor force participation rate of 68%, it throws light on the very high potential that Thailand possesses. Hence, investment decisions must consider the geographic distribution of Thailand’s population, as showcased in the two images below.
Religious and ethnic diversity – Thailand is also a melting pot of several different ethnicities and religions, thus, lending it a diverse cultural mix. Although most of the inhabitants of Thailand are descendants of Tai speakers, the population also includes other ethnic communities such as Malays, Burmese, Khmer and Chinese. As the chart below indicates, these communities form a very small proportion of the Thai population, yet add to the country’s cultural diversity.
To read more about Thailand’s ethnic diversity, follow the link below:
Religion, too, is an important component of Thai society. As of 2015, the country’s three primary religions were Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity, with an overwhelming majority of the population practicing Theravada Buddhism. The chart below depicts the population share of each religious community. Almost 95% of the country’s population practices Buddhism, while about 4% adheres to Islam, and another 1% practices Christianity. The remaining 0.1% is constituted by smaller religious groups such as Hindus, Confucians, and Animists.
Islam is the dominant religion in four of the five southernmost provinces (Narathiwat, Yala, Satun, and Pattani) near the Malaysian border, commonly referred to as the Deep South. The majority of Muslims in those provinces are ethnic Malay, but the Muslim population nationwide also includes descendants of immigrants from South Asia, China, Cambodia, and Indonesia, as well as ethnic Thai.
Age – Thailand doesn’t have a particularly young population given that 46% of its people fall in the ’25-54 years’ age bracket. In light of the country’s low population growth rate, this fact could mean that Thailand’s future holds an ageing population problem, much like the one Japan is facing right now. The chart below provides a segmentation of the Thai population by age group, and in doing so reveals that over half of the country’s population is currently of working age. This offers a labor force that companies can use as a launchpad for growth but also acts as a cautionary sign of possible labor shortages in the long term due to an ageing population.
Literacy Rate (% of people ages 15 and above) – 94%
Quality of Infrastructure Ranking –Thailand has historically been ahead of its regional peers in developing infrastructure that would elevate it on to the global economic platform. This could have been due to its early foray into international trade and its heavy dependence on it, or because of the absence of colonization which left it with sufficient resources to focus on inward development, unlike many of its neighbors. While Thailand’s ranking in the Quality of Infrastructure index has dropped by four spots since the year before, it still boasts a more sophisticated standard of infrastructure than some other emerging markets in South East Asia. The bubble chart below portrays Thailand’s rank relative to other ASEAN developing nations with the size of each bubble varying in proportion to the size of the country’s economy:
Further, the Government of Thailand recognizes the importance of infrastructure in remaining relevant in today’s global competitive atmosphere, and as such, the Thai government has generated a long-term infrastructure plan to accelerate economic growth. This plan prioritizes the improvement of existing infrastructure as well as the construction of numerous new projects in many areas including expansion of airports, seaports, roads, rail systems and ICT infrastructure. The government is looking to boost Thailand’s port capacity by building or upgrading several ports along the country’s borders. The map below displays the geographic spread of the government’s efforts in this regard. Enhanced port infrastructure would allow Thailand to further leverage its proximity to Asia’s emerging markets, thus providing businesses based in the country with channels of trade to the surrounding high-growth economies.
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