The rapid economic development has meant that the
majority of Thais have better living conditions and that the
proportion of poor people has decreased significantly; In
2010, less than 2 per cent lived below the poverty line (US
$ 1.25 per day). Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of THA and acronym for Thailand. However, as growth is concentrated in the
Bangkok region and its immediate surroundings, the
differences in wealth between different parts of the country
have increased. The social benefits have improved, but these
apply only to Thai citizens. Nearly half a million belonging
to minority people in the north lack citizenship
certificates, as do millions of guest workers, illegal
immigrants and refugees from neighboring countries.
Health care is well developed in the country's central
parts and hospitals, specialist care and doctors are located
in the larger cities. Instead, in more remote parts of the
country, there are hospital cabins with less trained
healthcare professionals. Thai citizens have free basic
A broad vaccination program reaches all toddlers. The
proportion of HIV-infected persons aged 15-49 was 1.3 per
cent in 2009, which is higher than in neighboring countries.
Fewer people nowadays suffer from communicable diseases such
as malaria and pulmonary tuberculosis, while lifestyle
diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
have become more common.
Especially for Thailand is that since the 1970s in every
village there is at least some volunteer health worker, a
village that plays an important role for mainly preventive
health care. It is also important for the state of health
that virtually all households have access to clean water.
Social insurance covers only a small part of the
population. The pension system has changed, but there are
still (2011) major differences between different categories
of residents. State and municipal employees are part of
compulsory pension schemes and take out pensions at the age
of 60. Private employees in the formal sector have had a
similar pension system since 1999, but without a defined
retirement age. In the spring of 2011, a decision was made
on a new national pension fund, which will gradually be
expanded to include a majority of those working in the
informal sector. For everyone in need there are disability
benefits and maternity allowance, and the very poorest old
people receive a very small annual contribution.
The right to belong to trade unions is statutory, but the
right to strike is conditional. In important service
professions there is no right to strike. In private
business, just under 1.5 percent of employees are unionized,
in state-owned industrial enterprises, about 50 percent.
Foreign labor is discriminated against in the labor market
and has eg. not entitled to unemployment benefit. Women make
up about half the workforce, but generally receive lower
wages than men who do the same work. They are also
under-represented on higher items; in 2010, 4 out of 36
ministers in the Thai government were women. Child labor is
illegal except in the informal sector and in agriculture,
ie. within most of the business community.
Violence against women within the family is illegal but
not uncommon. Prostitution is illegal but widespread. Human
trafficking is prohibited, but Thailand is still the center
of such operations in Southeast Asia. The authorities are
actively working to reduce both prostitution and human
trafficking. Particularly vulnerable are non-Thai citizens,
and they may also fall into unpaid slave labor. The UN
agency UNICEF estimated in 2009 that 1.4 million children
were orphaned, disabled or street children in Thailand.