Most workers aren’t yet feeling the effects of our ageing society – but they soon will be.
Thailand is set to become a fully-fledged ageing society in fewer than 20 years, when elderly citizens (age 65 and over) will account for almost a quarter (24.1 per cent) of the Thai population. One in four of us will be elderly, an ageing trend that will continue since only one in child will be produced for every 10 people. High life expectancy and the very low birth rate means our population will shrink.
After retirement, about 40 per cent of Thais still work, while about 10 per cent live alone (there are no figures for the other 50 per cent).
It is worrying to note that a large proportion of the elderly, 61.7 per cent, are in the agriculture sector, with average monthly income of Bt4,842 (equivalent to daily income of Bt160). Meanwhile 11.1 per cent of seniors are in the production sector and 27.2 per cent in the trade and service sector, with average monthly income of Bt9,968 (Bt330 daily) and Bt16,205 (Bt540), respectively.
Some in the agriculture will also receive subsistence allowance and other state welfare, but many will find this inadequate to sustain them in their old age. And a declining birth rate means a shrinking working-age population, which likely leads to less money in the national pensions pot. It’s obvious that Thailand must urgently start drawing up serious plans. The “silver tsunami” is rising on the horizon and no one in government can say they haven’t been warned.