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By Details > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Thailand
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Map of Thailand
IntroductionTop
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 ally following the conflict. Thailand is currently facing armed violence in its three Muslim-majority southernmost provinces.
GeographyTop
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
land: 511,770 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

Coastline: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

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: 29.36%
permanent crops: 6.46%
other: 64.18% (2001)

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
PeopleTop
Population:65,444,371
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:0-14 years: 23.9% (male 7,988,529/female 7,633,405)
15-64 years: 68.6% (male 22,195,625/female 22,731,767)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 2,251,112/female 2,643,933) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 30.88 years
male: 30.11 years
female: 31.66 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:0.87% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:15.7 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:7.02 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
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: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 20.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 71.57 years
male: 69.39 years
female: 73.88 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.88 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:1.5% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:570,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:58,000 (2003 est.)
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% (2002)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form: Thailand
former: Siam

Government type:constitutional monarchy
Capital:Bangkok
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:new constitution signed by King PHUMIPHON on 11 October 1997
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 (since 9 June 1946)
head of government: Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat (since 9 February 2001) and Deputy Prime Ministers CHATURON Chaisaeng (since 3 October 2002), CHITCHAI Wannasathi (since 11 March 2005), PHINIT Charusombat (since 6 October 2004), SOMKIT Chatusiphithak (since 11 March 2005), SURAKIAT Sathianthai (since 11 March 2005); VISHANU Krua-ngam (since 8 November 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
note: there is also a Privy Council
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister is designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following national elections for the House of Representatives, the leader of the party that can organize a majority coalition usually is appointed prime minister by the king

Legislative branch:bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consists of the Senate or Wuthisapha (200 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (500 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 4 March, 29 April, 4 June, 9 July, and 22 July 2000 (next to be held by March 2006); House of Representatives - last held 6 February 2005 (next to be held in February 2009)
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 - TRT 376, DP 97, TNP 25, PP 2

Judicial branch:Supreme Court or Sandika (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:Democrat Party or DP (Prachathipat Party) [ABHISIT Wetchachiwa]; People's Party or PP (Mahachon Party) [ANEK Laothamatas]; Thai Nation Party or TNP (Chat Thai Party) [BARNHARN SILPA-ARCHA]; Thai Rak Thai Party or TRT [THAKSIN Chinnawat]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:APEC, APT, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, BIS, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Flag description:five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:Thailand has a well developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and welcomes foreign investment. Thailand has fully recovered from the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis and was one of East Asia's best performers in 2002-04. Increased consumption and investment spending and strong export growth pushed GDP growth up to 6.9% in 2003 and 6.1% in 2004 despite a sluggish global economy. The highly popular government's expansionist policy, including major support of village economic development, has raised concerns about fiscal discipline and the health of financial institutions. Bangkok has pursued preferential trade agreements with a variety of partners in an effort to boost exports and maintain high growth, and in 2004 began negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with the US. In late December 2004, a major tsunami took 8,500 lives in Thailand and caused massive destruction of property in the southern provinces of Krabi, Phangnga, and Phuket.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $524.8 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:6.1% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $8,100 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 9%
industry: 44.3%
services: 46.7% (2004 est.)

Labor force:36.43 million (November 2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 49%, industry 14%, services 37% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:1.5% (November 2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:10% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:51.1 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.8% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):22.5% of GDP (Jan - Sep 2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $30.86 billion
expenditures: $31.94 billion, including capital expenditures of $5 billion (2004 est.)

Public debt:47.6% of GDP (November 2004 est.)
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, electric appliances and components, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, world's second-largest tungsten producer, and third-largest tin producer
Industrial production growth rate:8.5% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:118.9 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 91.3%
hydro: 6.4%
nuclear: 0%
other: 2.4% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:106.1 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:188 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:600 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:225,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:785,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:600 million bbl (1 January 2003)
Natural gas - production:18.73 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:23.93 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:5.2 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:368.2 billion cu m (1 January 2003)
Current account balance:$6.736 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$87.91 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances
Exports - partners:US 15.9%, Japan 13.9%, China 7.3%, Singapore 7.2%, Malaysia 5.4%, Hong Kong 5.1% (2004)
Imports:$80.84 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Imports - partners:Japan 23.6%, China 8.6%, US 7.6%, Malaysia 5.8%, Singapore 4.4%, Taiwan 4.1% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$48.3 billion (2004)
Debt - external:$50.59 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):baht (THB)
Currency code:THB
Exchange rates:baht per US dollar - 40.222 (2004), 41.485 (2003), 42.96 (2002), 44.432 (2001), 40.112 (2000)
Fiscal year:1 October - 30 September
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:6,617,400 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:26.5 million (2005)
Telephone system:general assessment: high quality system, especially in urban areas like Bangkok; WTO requirement for privatization of telecom sector is planned to be complete by 2006
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; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean); landing country for APCN submarine cable

Radio broadcast stations:AM 204, FM 334, shortwave 6 (1999)
Radios:13.96 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:5 (all in Bangkok; plus 131 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions:15.19 million (1997)
Internet country code:.th
Internet hosts:103,700 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):15 (2000)
Internet users:6,971,500 (2003)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 4,071 km
narrow gauge: 4,071 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)

Highways:total: 57,403 km
paved: 56,542 km
unpaved: 861 km (2000 est.)

Waterways:4,000 km
note: 3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m (2003)

Pipelines:gas 3,112 km; refined products 265 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Pattani, Phuket, Sattahip, Si Racha, Songkhla
Merchant marine:total: 386 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,038,597 GRT/3,104,712 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 57, cargo 142, chemical tanker 12, combination ore/oil 1, container 21, liquefied gas 25, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 89, refrigerated cargo 30, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 55 (Indonesia 1, Japan 3, Norway 45, Singapore 6)
registered in other countries: 35 (2005)

Airports:109 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 65
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 6 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 44
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 28 (2004 est.)

Heliports:3 (2004 est.)
MilitaryTop
Military branches:Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy (includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force
Military manpower - military age and obligation:21 years of age for compulsory military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; conscript service obliation - 2 years; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2004)
Military manpower - availability:males age 21-49: 14.984 million (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 21-49: 10,342,337 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 530,493 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$1.775 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.8% (2003)
Transnational IssuesTop
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; Laos and Thailand pledge to complete demarcation of their boundary in 2005; despite continuing border committee talks, significant differences remain with Burma over boundary alignment and the handling of ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of 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; ethnic Karens from Burma flee into Thailand to escape fighting between Karen rebels and Burmese troops resulting in Thailand sheltering about 118,000 Burmese refugees in 2004; Karens also protest Thai support for a Burmese hydroelectric dam construction on the Salween River near the border; environmentalists in Burma and Thailand remain concerned about China's construction of hydroelectric dams upstream on the Nujiang/Salween River in Yunnan Province
Refugees and internally displaced persons::refugees (country of origin): 118,407 (Burma) (2004)
Illicit drugs:a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; illicit transit point for 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 amphetamine production for regional consumption; increasing indigenous abuse of methamphetamine



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