Also See: Major Cities in Thailand
The last official national census was carried out in Thailand back in 2010 and the country’s official population was declared at 65,479,453. Current estimates show a 2013 population in Thailand of 67,108,507, which makes it the 20th most populous country on earth (a downgrade from its position as number 19 just a year ago).
Thailand Population 2013
Despite the official figures, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggests that with unregistered individuals added to the final total, the Thailand population in 2013 is actually nearer 70 million. It's estimated there are 2.2 million illegal and legal migrants in Thailand, including many expatriates from developed countries like the United States.
Until very recently, the numbers were growing at a far greater rate, but it’s claimed that the government-funded family planning program has raised awareness and led to a dramatic fall in birth figures. In 1960, the population growth was at its height with figures of around 3.1% but this has fallen to around 0.4% today.
Thailand Life Expectancy
The life expectancy for an average Thai citizen is also growing but there are many threats to the population. It’s widely accepted that AIDS has reached epidemic proportions in this country and in the present day, 700,000 Thais are HIV positive or have AIDS. This represents 2 per cent of the male population and 1.5% of the female population.
Death rates in relation to AIDS seem to attract wildly different claims and the figures vary greatly between 30,000 and 50,000 AIDS related fatalities every year.
Overall however, education in public health is believed to have led to a rise in life expectancy and 2011 estimates suggest that this currently stands at 73.6 years for the total population which can be divided into 71.24 years for males and 76.08 years for females.
There is a diverse range of ethnic groups within the country but for the purposes of the overall Thailand population, these have only really been separated into three main groups.
2011 estimates therefore claim that of the total population, 75 per cent were Ethnic Thai, 14 per cent Thai Chinese and 3% were ethnically Malay. The remainder of the population falls into small minority groups including hill tribes, Khmers and Mons.
Thailand Population Density
Thailand is the 51st largest country on earth in terms of total area, but 20th in terms of population. Thailand is 88th in terms of population density, with 132.1 people per square kilometer (342/square mile), based on the 2011 population figures.
While the country's population is spread fairly well, a substantial amount of people live in Bangkok and the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Bangkok, located in Central Thailand, has a population of more than 8 million, or close to 13% of the country's population. More than 14 million (or 22.2% of the total population) live in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. This means Bangkok is much larger than any other urban areas in Thailand.
Thailand Population Projections
As countries become more developed, it's natural to see a decline in fertility rates and an increase in its aging population over time. Thailand has gone through this transition faster than most countries, with the average number of children born to the typical woman dropping from 6 to 2 in less than twenty years between 1970 and 1990.
Fertility rates in Thailand are now 30% below replacement level, although this doesn't mean that Thailand isn't growing. Something known as population momentum, which results from a fairly high concentration of people of childbearing age, should result in slow natural increases for the next decade.
Thailand is currently facing two population problems: a quickly aging population and urbanization. Urbanization is mostly concentrated around Bangkok and its surrounding areas, and many educated Thais are moving abroad while less educated migrants from neighboring countries like Myanmar and Cambodia move into the country.
Thailand has worked to reduce its fertility rates for nearly 3 years, but it now faces an issue with a fertility rate that is too low.
Some estimates show that Thailand will add just 1-5 million more people before growth stops, while others place Thailand's population at 74.5 million (a 7 million increase) by 2050. Only time will tell where Thailand heads in the next few decades, and how successful family planning and fertility programs will be.