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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Thailand

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Thailand
Definition Field Listing
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.
   Geography    Thailand
Definition Field Listing
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
15 00 N, 100 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Southeast Asia
Definition Field Listing
total: 514,000 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km
land: 511,770 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,863 km
border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km
Definition Field Listing
3,219 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Definition Field Listing
tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
Definition Field Listing
central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 32.88%
permanent crops: 7%
other: 60.12% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
47,490 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Climate Change, Desertification, 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
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore
   People    Thailand
Definition Field Listing
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 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 23.3% (male 7,404,227; female 7,121,083)
15-64 years: 69.9% (male 21,469,186; female 22,090,520)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 1,868,632; female 2,400,754) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.88% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
16.39 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
7.55 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
29.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 69.18 years
female: 72.51 years (2002 est.)
male: 66 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.86 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.15% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
755,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
66,000 (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Definition Field Listing
Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991)
Definition Field Listing
Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.8%
male: 96%
female: 91.6% (1995 est.)
   Government    Thailand
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form: Thailand
former: Siam
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
constitutional monarchy
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Birthday of King PHUMIPHON, 5 December (1927)
Definition Field Listing
new constitution signed by King PHUMIPHON on 11 October 1997
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since 9 June 1946)
note: there is also a Privy Council
head of government: Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat (since 9 February 2001) and Deputy Prime Ministers Gen. (Ret.) CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut, KON Thappharansi, SUWIT Khunkitti, CHATURON Chaisaeng, VISHANU Krua-ngam, and PROMMIN Lertsuridej (since 18 February 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
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:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consists of the Senate or Wuthisapha (200 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-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 NA March 2004); House of Representatives - last held 6 January 2001 (next to be held NA January 2005)
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 248, DP 128, TNP 41, NAP 36, NDP 29, other 18
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court or Sandika (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Democratic Party or DP (Prachathipat Party) [CHUAN Likphai]; Mass Party or MP [CHALERM Yoobamrung, SOPHON Petchsavang]; National Development Party or NDP (Chat Phattana) [KORN Dabbaransi]; Phalang Dharma Party or PDP (Phalang Tham) [CHAIWAT Sinsuwong]; Solidarity Party or SP (Ekkaphap Party) [CHAIYOT Sasomsap]; Thai Citizen's Party or TCP (Prachakon Thai) [SAMAK Sunthonwet]; Thai Nation Party or TNP (Chat Thai Party) [BANHAN Sinlapa-acha]; Thai Rak Thai Party or TRT [THAKSIN Chinnawat]
note: the Liberal Democratic Party or LDP (Seri Tham) and the New Aspiration Party or NAP (Khwamwang Mai) no longer exist as separate parties; elements of the two parties joined the Thai Rak Thai Party or TRT
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador SAKTHIP Krairiksh
chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
FAX: [1] (202) 944-3611
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Darryl N. JOHNSON
embassy: 120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok
mailing address: APO AP 96546
telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000
FAX: [66] (2) 254-1171
consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red
   Economy    Thailand
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
After enjoying the world's highest growth rate from 1985 to 1995 - averaging almost 9% annually - increased speculative pressure on Thailand's currency in 1997 led to a crisis that uncovered financial sector weaknesses and forced the government to float the baht. Long pegged at 25 to the dollar, the baht reached its lowest point of 56 to the dollar in January 1998 and the economy contracted by 10.2% that same year. Thailand entered a recovery stage in 1999, expanding 4.2% and grew 4.4% in 2000, largely due to strong exports - which increased about 20% in 2000. An ailing financial sector and the slow pace of corporate debt restructuring, combined with a softening of global demand, however, slowed growth in 2001 to 1.4%.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $410 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $6,600 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 11%
industry: 40%
services: 49% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
13% (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 32% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
41 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
1.6% (2001)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
33.4 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 54%, industry 15%, services 31% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
3.9% (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $19 billion
expenditures: $21 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
3% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
94.314 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 92%
hydro: 6%
other: 1% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
90.261 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
151 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
2.7 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans
Definition Field Listing
$65.3 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
computers, transistors, seafood, clothing, rice
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 23%, Japan 14%, Singapore 8%, China 6%, Hong Kong 5%, Malaysia 4% (2000)
Definition Field Listing
$62.3 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Japan 24%, US 11%, Singapore 10%, Malaysia 6%, China 4%, Taiwan 4% (2000)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$69.4 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$131.5 million (1998 est.)
Definition Field Listing
baht (THB)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
baht per US dollar - 43.982 (January 2002), 43.432 (2001), 40.112 (2000), 37.814 (1999), 41.359 (1998), 31.364 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 October - 30 September
   Communications    Thailand
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
5.6 million (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
3.1 million (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: service to general public adequate, but investment in technological upgrades reduced by recession; bulk of service to government activities provided by multichannel cable and microwave radio relay network
domestic: microwave radio relay and multichannel cable; domestic satellite system being developed
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 204, FM 334, shortwave 6 (1999)
Definition Field Listing
13.96 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
5 (all in Bangkok; plus 131 repeaters) (1997)
Definition Field Listing
15.19 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
15 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
1.2 million (2001)
   Transportation    Thailand
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,071 km
narrow gauge: 4,071 km 1.000-m gauge (`2001)
Definition Field Listing
total: 64,600 km
paved: 62,985 km
unpaved: 1,615 km (1996)
Definition Field Listing
4,000 km
note: 3,701 km are navigable throughout the year by boats with drafts up to 0.9 meters; numerous minor waterways serve shallow-draft native craft
Definition Field Listing
petroleum products 67 km; natural gas 350 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Pattani, Phuket, Sattahip, Si Racha, Songkhla
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 297 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,661,314 GRT/2,564,820 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1, Greece 1, Indonesia 1, Japan 1, Norway 24, Panama 1, Singapore 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 34, cargo 133, chemical tanker 3, combination bulk 1, container 14, liquefied gas 20, multi-functional large-load carrier 2, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 65, refrigerated cargo 16, roll on/roll off 2, short-sea passenger 2, specialized tanker 4
Definition Field Listing
110 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 62
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 5 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 49
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 31 (2002)
Definition Field Listing
2 (2002)
   Military    Thailand
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy (includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force, paramilitary forces (includes the Border Patrol Police [including Police Aerial Reinforcement Unit], Thahan Phran, Special Action Forces, Police Aviation Division, Thai Marine Police, and the Volunteer Defense Corps)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 17,766,501 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 10,660,530 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 567,659 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$1.775 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1.4% (FY00)
   Transnational Issues    Thailand
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
a one km stretch of Malaysia-Thailand territory at the mouth of the Kolok river remains in dispute, despite overall success in boundary redemarcation; Cambodia accuses Thailand of moving or destroying boundary markers and encroachment, of not respecting its claims, and of sealing off access to the Preah Vihear temple ruin awarded to Cambodia by the ICJ in 1962; demarcation of boundary with Laos is nearing completion, but Mekong River islets remain in dispute; Laos also protests Thai squatters; despite renewed border committee talks, significant differences remain with Burma over boundary alignment and the handling of ethnic guerrilla rebels, refugees, smuggling, and drug trafficking in cross-border region
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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