SATURDAY, February 24, 2024

Thailand will become 'super aged' society by 2036, predicts Dept of Health

Thailand will become 'super aged' society by 2036, predicts Dept of Health

Up to 30% of Thailand’s population is expected to cross the “elderly” barrier by 2036, placing it on the list of “super-aged societies”, the Department of Health said.

Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, the department’s director general, made the announcement to mark World Population Day on Tuesday.

The United Nations chose July 11 to celebrate World Population Day every year in a bid to draw attention to the urgency and significance of population concerns.

Suwannachai said Thailand transitioned into an “aged society” two years ago, and is expected to become a “super-aged” one by 2036.

The UN defines persons aged 60 or over as aged. It classifies a country as an “ageing society” if more than 7% of its population is over 65 and an “aged society” if the number of 65-year-olds doubles to 14%.

Thailand’s birthrate, which stood at more than a million per year between 1963 and 1983, dropped to around 502,000 last year and is expected to be less than 500,000 this year, Suwannachai said.

He added that 2023 is also the first time ever that the number of retirees (60-64) is larger than those entering the working field (20–24).

To tackle the drop in birthrates, the department has decided to start expanding nurseries and child development centres for toddlers, increasing paid maternity leave, raising the retirement age and promoting retirement savings.

Bunyarit Sukrat, the Bureau of Reproductive Health director, said several factors need to be taken into account while trying to boost the rate of births.

He said the government needs to tackle this issue in a comprehensive manner, and the first step will be changing the attitudes of young people when it comes to having children.

Suwannachai said Thailand is not alone when it comes to an ageing population, more than 120 other nations are also in the same boat.