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People and Society






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 fighting alongside the US in Vietnam. A military coup in September 2006 ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat. December 2007 elections saw the pro-THAKSIN People's Power Party (PPP) emerge at the head of a coalition government that took office in February 2008. The anti-THAKSIN People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD, aka yellow-shirts) in May 2008 began street demonstrations against the new government, eventually occupying the prime minister's office in August and Bangkok's two international airports in November. After an early December 2008 court ruling that dissolved the ruling PPP and two other coalition parties for election violations, the Democrat Party formed a new coalition government and ABHISIT Wetchachiwa became prime minister. In October 2008 THAKSIN fled abroad in advance of an abuse of power conviction and has agitated his followers from abroad since then. THAKSIN supporters under the banner of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD, aka red-shirts) rioted in April 2009, shutting down an ASEAN meeting in Pattaya. Following a February 2010 court verdict confiscating half of THAKSIN's frozen assets, the UDD staged large protests between March and May 2010, and occupied several blocks of downtown Bangkok. Clashes between security forces and protesters, elements of which were armed, resulted in at least 92 deaths and an estimated $1.5 billion in arson-related property losses. These protests exposed major cleavages in the Thai body politic that hampered the government and led to a general election in July 2011. THAKSIN's youngest sister, YINGLAK, led the Puea Thai party to an electoral win and assumed control of the government in August. 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. At the beginning of 2012 the Puea Thai-led government began fulfilling one of its main election promises, the pursuit of constitutional reform, which could lead to the nation's 19th Constitution since 1932. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded as separatists in Thailand's southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces continued the campaign of violence associated with their cause.


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People And Society

Noun Thai (singular and plural)
Adjective Thai

Ethnic groups
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects

Buddhist (official) 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)

Population World Ranking: 20
67,091,089 (July 2012 est.)
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

Age structure
0-14 years
19.9% (male 6,779,723/female 6,466,625)
15-64 years
70.9% (male 23,410,091/female 23,913,499)
65 years and over
9.2% (male 2,778,012/female 3,372,203) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 34.7 years
Male 33.7 years
Female 35.6 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 147
0.543% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 153
12.81 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 119
7.38 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 106
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 34% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
1.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
BANGKOK (capital) 6.902 million (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.82 male(s)/female
Total population
0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 110
48 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 108
Total 15.9 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 16.88 deaths/1,000 live births
14.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 113
Total population 73.83 years
Male 71.45 years
Female 76.33 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 173
1.66 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 155
4.3% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.298 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital bed density
2.2 beds/1,000 population (2002)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 39
1.3% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 15
530,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 13
28,000 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk High
Food or waterborne diseases Bacterial diarrhea
Vectorborne diseases
Dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
Animal contact disease Rabies
Water contact disease Leptospirosis
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 (2009)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 60
7.8% (2003)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 73
7% (2006)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 99
4.1% of GDP (2009)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 92.6%
Male 94.9%
Female 90.5% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 12 years
Male 12 years
Female 13 years (2010)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 125
Total 4.3%
Male 3.7%
Female 5.1% (2009)


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  Thailand (Bangkok):

  GPS points from Thailand (Bangkok)

Ban Thung Phala Changwat Pattani

Ban Mon Mai Changwat Uttaradit

Ban Muang Phen Changwat Udon Thani

Ban Rap Phraek Changwat Songkhla

Ban Tha Khanon Surat Thani

Ban Na Noi Thailand (general)

Ban Yang Mae Hin Luang Changwat Mae Hong Son

Laem Pak Chong Changwat Surat Thani
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