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  The Thailand Fact Book

All the data you want to know about Thailand.

Map of Thailand


Thailand: 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 following the conflict.

A military coup in September 2006 ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat. The interim government held elections in December 2007 that saw the former pro-THAKSIN People's Power Party (PPP) emerge at the head of a coalition government. The anti-THAKSIN People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) 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.

The PAD ended their protests in early December 2008 following a court ruling that dissolved the ruling PPP and two other coalition parties for election violations. The Democrat Party then formed a new coalition government and ABHISIT Wetchachiwa became prime minister. In October 2008 THAKSIN went into voluntary exile to avoid imprisonment for a corruption conviction, and has since agitated his followers from abroad.

THAKSIN supporters re-organized into the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and rioted in April 2009, shutting down an ASEAN meeting in Phuket, and in early 2010 protested a court verdict confiscating most of THAKSIN's wealth. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed as separatists in Thailand's southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces increased the violence associated with their cause.

Thailand: Flag

Thai Flag

Five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red.

Source: CIA World Factbook
CIA Seal The World Fact Book Seal
Thailand:
Geography
Location:
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
Area:
total: 514,000 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km
land: 510,890 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
Coastline:
3,219 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
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
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: 27.54%
permanent crops: 6.93%
other: 65.53% (2005)
Irrigated land:
47,490 sq km (1998 est.)
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

Thailand:
People
Population:
65,998,436
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 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.8% (male 7,013,877/female 6,690,554)
15-64 years: 70.5% (male 23,000,156/female 23,519,298)
65 years and over: 8.7% (male 2,612,26/female 3,162,282) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 33.3 years
male: 32.4 years
female: 34.2 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.626% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
13.38 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate:
7.12 deaths/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Net migration rate:
N/A
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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 17.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.1 years
male: 70.77 years
female: 75.55 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.65 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.4% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
610,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
30,000 (2007 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
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified among birds in this country or surrounding region; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
Nationality:
noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai
Ethnic groups:
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Religions:
Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)
Languages:
Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 94.9%
female: 90.5% (2000 census)

Thailand:
Government
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
Capital:
Bangkok
geographic coordinates: 13 45 N, 100 31 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
76 provinces (changwat, singular and plural); Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, 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
Independence:
1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
National holiday:
Birthday of King PHUMIPHON, 5 December (1927)
Constitution:
24 August 2007
Legal system:
based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
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 ABHISIT Wetchachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva (since 17 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister SANAN Kachornprasat, also spelled SANAN Kachornparsart (since 7 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister SUTHEP Thueaksuban, also spelled SUTHEP Thaugsuban (since 22 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister TRAIRONG Suwannakhiri (since 18 January 2010)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
note: there is also a Privy Council advising the king
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; according to 2007 constitution, the prime minister elected from among members of House of Representatives; following national elections for 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 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 76 provinces, 74 appointed by judges and independent government bodies; members serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (480 seats; 400 members elected from 157 multi-seat constituencies and 80 elected on proportional party-list basis of 10 per eight zones or groupings of provinces; members serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 2 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2014); House of Representatives - last election held on 23 December 2007 (next to be held by December 2011)
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 - PPP 233, DP 164, TNP 34, Motherland 24, Middle Way 11, Unity 9, Royalist People's 5; following the PPP's dissolution in December 2008, most of the party's seats were assumed by its successor, the Phuea Thai Party
note: 74 senators were appointed on 19 February 2008 by a seven-member committee headed by the chief of the Constitutional Court; 76 senators were elected on 2 March 2008; elections to the Senate are non-partisan; registered political party members are disqualified from being senators
Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Justice, and Supreme Administrative Court; all judges are appointed by the king; the king's appointments to the Constitutional Courtare made upon the advice of the Senate; the nine Constitutional Court judges are drawn from the Supreme Court of Justice and Supreme Administrative Court as well as from among substantive experts in law and social sciences outside the judiciary
Political parties and leaders:
Chat Thai Phattana Party or CP (Thai Nation Development Party) [CHUMPON Silpa-archa]; Democrat Party or DP (Prachathipat Party) [ABHISIT Wetchachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva]; Motherland Party (Phuea Phaendin Party) [CHANCHAI Chairungrueng]; Phuea Thai Party (For Thais Party) or PTP [CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut]; Phumchai (Bhumjai) Thai Party or PCT (Thai Pride) [CHAWARAT Chanvirakun]; Royalist People's Party (Pracharaj) [SANOH Thienthong]; Ruam Jai Thai Party (Thai Unity Party) [WANNARAT Channukun]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
People's Alliance for Democracy or PAD; United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or UDD
International organization participation:
ADB, APEC, APT, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, BIS, CICA, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador DON Pramudwinai
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 Eric G. JOHN
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

Thailand:
Economy
Economy - overview:
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2008 - averaging more than 4% per year - as it recovered from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Thai exports - mostly machinery and electronic components, agricultural commodities, and jewelry - continue to drive the economy, accounting for as much as three-quarters of GDP. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 severely cut Thailand's exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted about 2.8%. The Thai government is focusing on financing domestic infrastructure projects and stimulus programs to revive the economy, as external trade is still recovering and persistent internal political tension and investment disputes threaten to damage the investment climate.
GDP:
$538.6 billion (2009 est.)
$554.1 billion (2008 est.)
$540.6 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - official exchange rate:

$269.6 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
2.8% (2009 est.)
2.5% (2008 est.)
4.9% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,100 (2009 est.)
$8,400 (2008 est.)
$8,300 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.3%
industry: 44%
services: 43.7% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
38.24 million (2009 est.)
Labor force by - by occupation:
agriculture: 42.4%
industry: 19.7%
services: 37.9% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate:
1.6% (2009 est.)
1.4% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line:
9.6% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 33.7% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
43 (2006)
42 (2002)
Investment (gross fixed):
21% of GDP (2009 est)
Budget:
revenues: $40.9 billion
expenditures: $51.5 billion (FY10 est.)
Public Debt :
45.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
37.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-0.9% (2009)
5.5% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
1.75% (31 December 2009)
3.25% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.05% (31 December 2009)
7.04% (31 December 2008)
Stock of money:
$35.35 billion (31 December 2009)
$28.76 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of quasi money:
$283.6 billion (31 December 2009)
$237.5 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of domestic credit:
$301 billion (31 December 2009)
$274.1 billion (31 December 2008)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$176.7 billion (31 December 2009)
$101.8 billion (31 December 2008)
$196 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans
Industries:
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:
-8.7% (2009 est.)
Electricity - production:
148.2 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
134.4 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - exports:
846 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - imports:
2.313 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Oil - production:
1.073 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - consumption:
690,400 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports:
269,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - imports:
1.695 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
441 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production:
28.76 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
37.31 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
8.55 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
317.1 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
Current account balance:
$20.29 billion (2009 est.)
-$113 million (2008 est.)
Exports:
$150.9 billion (2009 est.)
$175.3 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances
Exports - partners:
US 10.9%, China 10.6%, Japan 10.3%, Hong Kong 6.2%, Australia 5.6%, Malaysia 5% (2009 est.)
Imports:
$131.5 billion (2009 est.)
$157.3 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Imports - partners:
Japan 18.7%, China 12.7%, Malaysia 6.4%, US 6.3%, UAE 5%, Singapore 4.3%, South Korea 4.1% (2009 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$138.4 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$111 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$66.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$65.09 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$93.84 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$88.52 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$10.52 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$7.013 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Currency:
baht (THB)
Currency code:
THB
Exchange rates:
baht per US dollar - 34.318 (2009), 33.37 (2008), 34.52 (2007), 37.882 (2006), 40.22 (2005)

Thailand:
Communications
Telephones - main lines in use:
7.024 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
62 million (2008)
Telephone system:
general assessment: high quality system, especially in urban areas like Bangkok
domestic: fixed line system provided by both a government owned and commercial provider; wireless service expanding rapidly and outpacing fixed lines
international: country code - 66; connected to major submarine cable systems providing links throughout Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 238, FM 351, shortwave 6 (2007)
Television broadcast stations:
111 (2006)
Televisions:
15.19 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.th
Internet hosts:
1.231 million (2009)
Internet users:
16.1 million (2008)

Thailand:
Communications
Railways:
total: 4,071 km
standard gauge: 29 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 4,042 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
Roadways:
total: 180,053 km
(includes 450 km of expressways) (2006)
Waterways:
4,000 km
note: 3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m (2008)
Pipelines:
gas 1,348 km; refined products 323 km (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Prachuap Port, Si Racha
Merchant marine:

total: 398
by type: bulk carrier 53, cargo 135, chemical tanker 15, container 22, liquefied gas 28, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 100, refrigerated cargo 32, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 16 (China 1, Japan 4, Malaysia 3, Singapore 2, Taiwan 1, UK 5)
registered in other countries: 40 (Bahamas 5, Mongolia 1, Panama 10, Singapore 23, Tuvalu 1) (2008)

Airports:
105 (2009)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 64
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 6 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 27 (2009)
Heliports:
4 (2009)

Thailand:
Military
Military branches:
Royal Thai Army (Kongthap Bok Thai, RTA), Royal Thai Navy (Kongthap Ruea Thai, RTN, includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force (Kongthap Agard Thai, RTAF) (2010)
Military service age and obligation:
21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2007)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 17,553,410
females age 16-49: 17,751,268 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 13,086,106
females age 16-49: 14,126,398 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 532,977
female: 510,737 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.8% of GDP (2005 est.)

Thailand:
Transnational Issues
Disputes - international:
separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem terrorist 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, and as of 2006, over 116,000 Karen, Hmong, and other refugees and asylum seekers from Burma; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of historic boundary with missing boundary markers; Cambodia claims Thai encroachments into Cambodian territory and obstructing access to Preah Vihear temple ruins awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962; 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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 132,241 (Burma) (2007)
Illicit drugs:
a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; transit point for illicit heroin en route to the international drug market from Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; minor role in methamphetamine production for regional consumption; major consumer of methamphetamine since the 1990s despite a series of government crackdowns
This page was last updated on 10 May, 2010
Source: CIA World Factbook

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