Shifting roles, changes in economy, rising cost of living blamed for Thailand’s falling birth rate


The rising cost of living, economy and changing role of women in society have been identified as the reasons for the drop in Thailand’s birth rate.

Currently, less than 600,000 babies per year are born in Thailand.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank, the global total fertility rate (TFR) averages at 2.1. In Thailand, the TFR average is only 1.51.

The low birth rate will result in an ageing society and migrant workers, experts warn.

The Bureau of Reproductive Health said the low birth rate in Thailand could be put down to several factors, such as more single people in the country, fewer women wanting to have babies, worries over finances or life balance after having babies and infertility.

Chulalongkorn University’s lecturer on banking and finance, Prof Kanis Saengchote, offers the following reasons for the drop in birth rates:

Agricultural versus industrial economy

Thailand was initially an agricultural economy, in which labourers were very necessary and families wanted as many children as possible for economic gain.

However, when Thailand’s economy turned into an industrial economy, workers were replaced by machines. Hence, demand for children dropped significantly.

Changed role of women

In the past women were homemakers and mothers, but now they work outside and find it difficult to become working mothers.

Cost of Living

The rising cost of living has made it difficult for some people to survive, not to mention give their children a good quality of life.