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. A blanket amnesty bill for individuals involved in street protests, altered at the last minute to include all political crimes – including all convictions against THAKSIN – triggered large protests in Bangkok. In late 2013 demonstrations led by former opposition deputy leader SUTHEP Thaugsuban called for the establishment of an unelected “people’s council” to replace YINGLUCK’s government and reform the Thai political system. YINGLUCK dissolved parliament in December 2013 and proposed a new election for February 2014. Thailand’s Constitutional Court invalidated the election in March 2014 on grounds that it was not completed within one day throughout the nation. Thailand has also experienced violence associated with the ethno-nationalist insurgency in Thailand’s southern Malay-Muslim majority provinces. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded in the insurgency.

Thai Flag

Thai Flag


Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

Geographic coordinates:
15 00 N, 100 00 E

Map references:
Southeast Asia

total: 513,120 sq km
country comparison to the world: 51
land: 510,890 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km

Area – comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming

Land boundaries:
total: 4,863 km
border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km

3,219 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid

central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m

Natural resources:
tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 30.71%
permanent crops: 8.77%
other: 60.52% (2011)

Irrigated land:
64,150 sq km (2007)

Total renewable water resources:
438.6 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 57.31 cu km/yr (5%/5%/90%)
per capita: 845.3 cu m/yr (2007)

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

Environment – current issues:
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography – note:
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore

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People & Society

noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai

Ethnic groups:
Thai 95.9%, Burmese 2%, other 1.3% (2010 est.)

Thai (official) 90.7%, Burmese 1.3%, other 8%
note: English is a secondary language of the elite (2010 est.)

Buddhist (official) 93.6%, Muslim 4.9%, Christian 1.2%, other 0.2%, none 0.1% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21
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 (July 2014 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.6% (male 6,117,993/female 5,827,981)
15-24 years: 15% (male 5,194,332/female 4,999,669)
25-54 years: 46.9% (male 15,685,882/female 16,097,245)
55-64 years: 9.5% (male 3,468,620/female 3,893,925)
65 years and over: 9.8% (male 2,830,418/female 3,625,336) (2014 est.)

Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 38.6 %
youth dependency ratio: 24.7 %
elderly dependency ratio: 13.9 %
potential support ratio: 7.2 (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 36.2 years
male: 35.3 years
female: 37.2 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.35% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165

Birth rate:
11.26 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175

Death rate:
7.72 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81

urban population: 34.1% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas – population:
BANGKOK (capital) 8.426 million; Samut Prakan 1.212 million (2011)

Sex ratio:
at 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: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth:
23.3 (2009 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
48 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 110

Infant mortality rate:
total: 9.86 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 142
male: 10.82 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.18 years
country comparison to the world: 115
male: 71 years
female: 77.54 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.5 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
79.6% (2009)

Health expenditures:
4.1% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 163

Physicians density:
0.3 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital bed density:
2.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:
urban: 96.7% of population
rural: 95.3% of population
total: 95.8% of population
urban: 3.3% of population
rural: 4.7% of population
total: 4.2% of population (2011 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
urban: 88.7% of population
rural: 95.9% of population
total: 93.4% of population
urban: 11.3% of population
rural: 4.1% of population
total: 6.6% of population (2011 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:
1.1% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:
443,100 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19

HIV/AIDS – deaths:
20,800 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2013)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate:
8.8% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 135

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
7% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 76

Education expenditures:
5.8% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 47

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.5%
male: 95.6%
female: 91.5% (2005 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2009)

Child labor – children ages 5-14:
total number: 818,399
percentage: 8 % (2006 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 2.8%
country comparison to the world: 144
male: 2.5%
female: 3.1% (2012)

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Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form: Thailand
local long form: Ratcha Anachak Thai
local short form: Prathet Thai
former: Siam

Government type:
constitutional monarchy

name: Bangkok
geographic coordinates: 13 45 N, 100 31 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
77 provinces (changwat, singular and plural); Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Bueng Kan, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon

1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)

National holiday:
Birthday of King PHUMIPHON (BHUMIBOL), 5 December (1927)

many previous; latest approved by referendum 19 August 2007, effective 24 August 2007 (2013)

Legal system:
civil law system with common law influences

International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet, also spelled BHUMIBOL Adulyadej (since 9 June 1946)
head of government: Prime Minister (Acting) NIWATTAMRONG Boonsongpaisan Deputy Prime Minister PHONGTHEP Thepkanchana also spelled PHONGTHEP Therkanchana (since 28 October 2012); Deputy Prime Minister YUKHON Limlaemthong (since 25 March 2013); note – 4 other Deputy Prime Ministers were removed from office 7 May 2014
note: Prime Minister YINGLAK Chinnawat also spelled YINGLUCK Shinawatra was removed from office 7 May 2014 after the Constitutional Court ruled she illegally transferred a government official; Thai army declared martial law 20 May 2014 and a coup on 22 May 2014
cabinet: Council of Ministers
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
note: there is also a Privy Council advising the king
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; according to the 2007 constitution, the prime minister is elected from among members of the House of Representatives; following national elections for the House of Representatives, the leader of the party positioned to organize a majority coalition usually becomes prime minister by appointment by the king; the prime minister is limited to two four-year terms

Legislative branch:
bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consisted of the Senate or Wuthisapha (150 seats; 76 members elected by popular vote representing 75 provinces and 1 metropolitan district (Bangkok), 74 appointed by the Senate Selection Committee; members serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (500 seats; 375 members elected from 375 single-seat constituencies and 125 elected on proportional party-list basis; members serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate – last held on 30 March 2014; House of Representatives – last held on 2 February 2014, but later declared invalid by the Constitutional Court; a new election will be held on 20 July 2014
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – NA; House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – NA
note: 73 senators were appointed on 12 April 2011 by a seven-member committee headed by the chief of the Constitutional Court; 76 senators were elected on 30 March 2014; elections to the Senate are non-partisan; registered political party members are disqualified from being senators

Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of the court president, 6 vice-presidents, and NA judges and organized into civil and criminal divisions); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president and 8 judges); Supreme Administrative Court (the number of judges determined by the Judicial Commission of the Administrative Courts)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges selected by the Judicial Commission of the Courts of Justice and approved by the monarch; judges’ terms NA; Constitutional Court justices – 3 judges drawn from the Supreme Court, 2 judges drawn from the Administrative Court, and 4 judge candidates selected by the Selective Committee for Judges of the Constitutional Court and confirmed by the Senate; judges appointed by the monarch to serve single 9-year terms; Supreme Administrative Court judges selected by the Judicial Commission of the Administrative Courts and appointed by the monarch; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: courts of first instance and appeals courts within both the judicial and administrative systems; military courts

Political parties and leaders:
Chat Pattana Party or CPN (Nation Development Party) [WANNARAT Channukul]
Chat Thai Phattana Party or CTP (Thai Nation Development Party) [THEERA Wongsamut]
Mahachon Party or Mass Party [APHIRAT Sirinawin]
Matubhum Party (Motherland Party) [ Gen. SONTHI Bunyaratkalin]
Phalang Chon Party (People Chonburi Power Party) [SONTHAYA Khunpluem]
Phumjai (Bhumjai) Thai Party or PJT (Thai Pride) [ANUTIN Charnvirakul]
Prachathipat Party or DP (Democrat Party) [ABHISIT Wechachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva]
Prachathipathai Mai Party (New Democracy Party) [SURATIN Phijarn]
Puea Thai Party (For Thais Party) or PTP [CHARUPHONG Rueangsuwan also spelled JARUPONG Ruangsuwan]
Rak Prathet Thai Party (Love Thailand Party) [CHUWIT Kamonwisit]
Rak Santi Party (Peace Conservation Party) [Pol. Lt. Gen. THAWIL Surachetphong]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Multicolor Group
People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD
People’s Democratic Reform Committee or PDRC
Student and People Network for Thailand’s Reform or STR
United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or UDD

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador WICHAWAT Isarabhakdi (since 3 December 2013)
chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600
FAX: [1] (202) 944-3611
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kristie A. KENNEY (since 10 January 2011)
embassy: 120-122 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330
mailing address: APO AP 96546
telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000
FAX: [66] (2) 254-2990, 205-4131
consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai

Flag description:
five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red; the red color symbolizes the nation and the blood of life; white represents religion and the purity of Buddhism; blue stands for the monarchy
note: similar to the flag of Costa Rica but with the blue and red colors reversed

National symbol(s):
garuda (mythical half-man, half-bird figure); elephant

National anthem:
name: “Phleng Chat Thai” (National Anthem of Thailand)
note: music adopted 1932, lyrics adopted 1939; by law, people are required to stand for the national anthem at 0800 and 1800 every day; the anthem is played in schools, offices, theaters, and on television and radio during this time; “Phleng Sansasoen Phra Barami” (A Salute to the Monarch) serves as the royal anthem and is played in the presence of the royal family and during certain state ceremonies

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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. 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 in 2013 implemented a nation-wide 300 baht ($10) per day minimum wage policy and deployed 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 recession severely cut Thailand’s exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In late 2011 Thailand’s recovery was interrupted by historic flooding in the industrial areas in Bangkok and its five surrounding provinces, crippling the manufacturing sector. The government 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 following seven years. This was expected to lead to an economic upsurge but growth has remained slow, in part due to ongoing political unrest and resulting uncertainties. Spending on infrastructure will require re-approval once a new government is seated.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$673 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$654 billion (2012 est.)
$614.2 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$400.9 billion (2013 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
2.9% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
6.5% (2012 est.)
0.1% (2011 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$9,900 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
$9,600 (2012 est.)
$9,100 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

Gross national saving:
30.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
30.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
28.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 53.5%
government consumption: 13.3%
investment in fixed capital: 28.2%
investment in inventories: 0.9%
exports of goods and services: 70.6%
imports of goods and services: -66.6%
(2013 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 12.1%
industry: 43.6%
services: 44.2% (2013 est.)

Agriculture – products:
rice, cassava (manioc), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans

tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts; world’s second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer

Industrial production growth rate:
-3.1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185

Labor force:
39.38 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17

Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 38.2%
industry: 13.6%
services: 48.2% (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate:
0.7% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
0.7% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line:
13.2% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 31.5% (2009 est.)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
39.4 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 64
42 (2002)

revenues: $80.91 billion
expenditures: $92.9 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
20.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-4% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144

Public debt:
45.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
45.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are sold at public auctions

Fiscal year:
1 October – 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.2% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
3% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
2.25% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
3.25% (31 December 2011 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.9% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
7.1% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$50.18 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
$52.18 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money:
$516.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
$488.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$511.2 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$480.5 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$348.5 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$383 billion (31 December 2012)
$268.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Current account balance:
-$3.2 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
-$1.4 billion (2012 est.)

$225.4 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$225.8 billion (2012 est.)

Exports – commodities:
electronics, computer parts, automobiles and parts, electrical appliances, machinery and equipment, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber

Exports – partners:
China 11.7%, Japan 10.2%, US 9.9%, Hong Kong 5.7%, Malaysia 5.4%, Indonesia 4.9%, Singapore 4.7%, Australia 4.3% (2012)

$219 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
$219.8 billion (2012 est.)

Imports – commodities:
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels

Imports – partners:
Japan 20%, China 14.9%, UAE 6.3%, Malaysia 5.3%, US 5.3% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$167.2 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
$181.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Debt – external:
$142.6 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
$130.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$193.7 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
$159.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$65.14 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
$52.56 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates:
baht per US dollar –
30.59 (2013 est.)
31.083 (2012 est.)
31.686 (2010 est.)
34.286 (2009)
33.37 (2008)

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