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 percent 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 health care.
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.