Facts About Thailand

Background: A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century; and was known as Siam until 1939. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never colonized by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. Allied with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the conflict.


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

total: 514,000 sq km
land: 511,770 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of the State of Wyoming, USA.

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

Natural hazards: land subsidence in the 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: Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea


Population: 63,514,000 (2004 est.)
The population of Thailand reached 62.5 million in 2002, of which approximately 25 percent are under the age of 15. With a growth rate of 1.2 to 1.4 percent per year the population is projected to exceed 70 million by 2010. 

Age structure:
0-14 years: 24.2% (male 7,955,597; female 7,604,652)
15-64 years: 68.8% (male 21,819,445; female 22,362,085)
65 years and over: 7% (male 2,081,768; female 2,441,729) (2003 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.8 % (2004 est.)
Birth Rate/1000: 16.37 births/1,000 population
Death Rate/1000 : 6.86 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 20.0 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
male: 67.9 years
female: 75.0 years (2004 est.)



Total fertility rate: 1.7 children born/woman (2004 est.)

noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai

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

Religions: Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6%

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

The literacy rate in Thailand is quite high and in recent years there has been an increased emphasis on education. This emphasis is sure to continue, as the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2002) focuses on development of the Kingdom's human resources as its highest priority.

Male: 97.5%
Female: 94.6% (2003 est.)

Population by gender
Male: 31,477,000
Female: 32,037,000 (2004 est.)