Thailand 1997Thailand

 Thailand | | | | | |
| | | :  |



Thailand - Introduction 1997
top of page

Background: A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century; it was 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 - Geography 1997
top of page

Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 100 00 E

Map referenceSoutheast Asia

Total: 514,000 km²
Land: 511,770 km²
Water: 2,230 km²
Comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming

Land boundaries
Total: 4,863 km
Border countries: (4) 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

Extremes lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
Extremes highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m

Natural resources: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 34%
Permanent crops: 6%
Permanent pastures: 2%
Forests and woodland: 26%
Other: 32% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 44,000 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

Note: controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore

Thailand - People 1997
top of page

Population: 59,450,818 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1% (1997 est.)

Noun: Thai (singular and plural)
Adjective: Thai

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

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

Religions: Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 25% (male 7,531,192; female 7,257,574)
15-64 years: 69% (male 20,308,061; female 20,902,406)
65 years and over: 6% (male 1,530,905; female 1,920,680) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 17.03 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 7.05 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
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: 0.8 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 32.1 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 68.8 years
Male: 65.12 years
Female: 72.66 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.86 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 93.8%
Male: 96%
Female: 91.6% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Thailand - Government 1997
top of page

Country name
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
Conventional short form: Thailand

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

Dependent areas

Independence: 1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)

National holiday: Birthday of His Majesty the King, 5 December (1927)

Constitution: new constitution approved 7 December 1991; amended 10 June 1992; new constitution currently being drafted with completion expected by the end of 1997

Legal system: based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since 9 June 1946); Heir Apparent Crown Prince WACHIRALONGKON (born 28 July 1952)
Head of government: Prime Minister CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut (since 25 November 1996)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers
Note: there is also a Privy Council
Elections: none; the king is a constitutional monarch; prime minister designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following elections in the House of Representatives, the leader of the party that wins a plurality of seats usually becomes prime minister

Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consists of the Senate or Wuthisapha (a 270-member appointed body; members serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (393 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: House of Representatives - last held 17 November 1996 (next scheduled to be held by 17 November 2000, but may be held earlier as Prime Minister CHAWALIT has promised to hold elections after the draft of the new constitution is complete and that is scheduled for the end of 1997)
Election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NAP 125, DP 123, NDP 52, TNP 39, SAP 20, TCP 18, SP 8, LDP 4, MP 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Sandika), judges appointed by the king

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: APEC, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, Mekong Group, NAM, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador NIT Phibunsongkhram
In the us chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,007
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 944-3,600
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 944-3,611
In the us consulates general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador William H. ITOH
From the us embassy: 120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok
From the us mailing address: APO AP 96,546
From the us telephone: [66] (2) 205-4,000
From the us FAX: [66] (2) 254-2,990
From the us consulates general: Chiang Mai

Flag descriptionflag of Thailand: five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Thailand - Economy 1997
top of page

Economy overview: One of the more advanced developing countries in Asia, Thailand depends on exports of manufactures - including high-technology goods - and the development of the service sector to fuel the country's rapid growth, averaging 9% since 1989. Most of Thailand's recent imports have been for capital equipment and raw materials, although imports of consumer goods are beginning to rise. Thailand's 35% domestic savings rate is a key source of capital for the economy, and the country is also benefiting from rising investment from abroad. Prime Minister CHAWALIT's government - Thailand's seventh government in six years - will continue Bangkok's probusiness policies and reemphasize Bangkok's traditional fiscal austerity. CHAWALIT is beginning to address Thailand's serious infrastructure bottlenecks, especially in the transport and telecommunications sectors. Over the longer term, Bangkok must produce more college graduates with technical training and upgrade workers' skills to continue its rapid economic development.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 6.7% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 10.5%
Industry: 30.5%
Services: 59% (1996 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, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer

Industrial production growth rate: 13.3% (1995 est.)

Labor force
Total: 34.03 million (1996 est.)
By occupation agriculture: 57%
By occupation industry: 17%
By occupation commerce: 11%
By occupation services(includinggovernment): 15% (1993est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 2.6% (1996 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $28.4 billion
Expenditures: $28.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $6.1 billion (FY94/95)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $57.3 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: manufactures 73%, agricultural products and fisheries 21%, raw materials 5%, fuels 1%
Partners: US 21.0%, Japan 17.1%, Singapore 13.6%, Hong Kong 5.3%, Germany 3.5%, UK 3.0%, Netherlands 2.8%, Malaysia 2.4%

Total value: $72.4 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
Commodities: manufactures 80%, fuels 6.9%, raw materials 6.6%, foodstuffs 4.3%
Partners: Japan 30.4%, US 11.9%, Singapore 6.3%, Germany 5.8%, Taiwan 5.1%, Malaysia 4.9%, South Korea 3.7%, China 2.6%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $61.6 billion (1995)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: baht (B) per US$1 - 25.708 (January 1997), 15.343 (1996), 24.915 (1995), 25.150 (1994), 25.319 (1993), 25.400 (1992)

Thailand - Energy 1997
top of page

Electricity access

Electricity production: 70.21 billion kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 1,205 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Thailand - Communication 1997
top of page

Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: service to general public inadequate; 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)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Thailand - Military 1997
top of page

Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $4 billion (FY94/95)
Percent of gdp: 2.5% (FY94/95)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Thailand - Transportation 1997
top of page

National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 100 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 86
With paved runways over 3047 m: 6
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 9
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 13
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 22
With paved runways under 914 m: 36 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 14
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 13 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 86
Over 3047 m: 6
2438 to 3047 m: 9
15-24 to 2437 m: 13
914 to 1523 m: 22
Under 914 m: 36 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 14
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 13 (1996 est.)

Heliports: 2 (1996 est.)

Pipelines: petroleum products 67 km; natural gas 350 km

Total: 4,623 km
Narrow gauge: 4,623 km 1.000-m gauge (99 km double track)


Waterways: 3,999 km principal waterways; 3,701 km with navigable depths of 0.9 m or more throughout the year; numerous minor waterways navigable by shallow-draft native craft

Merchant marine
Total: 283 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,859,021 GRT/3,060,277 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 38, cargo 144, chemical tanker 5, combination bulk 1, container 12, liquefied gas tanker 15, multi-function large load carrier 3, oil tanker 49, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 10, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 2 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Thailand - Transnational issues 1997
top of page

Disputes international: boundary dispute with Laos; unresolved maritime boundary with Vietnam; parts of border with Cambodia in dispute; maritime boundary with Cambodia not clearly defined

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; major 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; rapidly growing role in amphetamine production for regional consumption; increasing indigenous abuse of methamphetamines and heroin

You found a piece of the puzzle

Please click here to complete it