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Thailand Must Prepare Now for an Over 60 Society



Thailand Must Prepare Now for an Over 60 Society

Thailand is a major contributor to the world’s insufficient population. Thailand has been in an ageing society since 2005. Even more, 10% of the population is already 60 or older.

Thailand’s birth rate has not only been a topic of public debate on social media but has been a wake–up call for many in the country. Given that the country has an annual birth rate of less than 600,000, it will have to change its strategy if it is to adapt to the demographic shift.

Elon Musk is concerned about population collapse, tweeting, “We should be much more concerned”. Musk also urges people to have more babies.

By 2100, Thailand’s population is expected to decline by 50 percent, joining Japan and 21 other countries. If present trends continue, Thailand’s population will shrink from 71 million to 35 million in 80 years, according to research by the University of Washington.

Regardless of Musk’s tweets or news reports, the falling birth rate is alarming and needs to be addressed. With the birth rate declining and older people living longer, Thailand has been out of sync for quite some time.

Cost of living in Thailand

Throughout the world, warning signs have increased over the last few years. Despite this, the government has been woefully unprepared. Singapore and Japan faced the same situation 10 years ago or so, but since then they have been more proactive in handling it.

Taking care of the elderly does not only benefit them. It also helps the younger generation to prepare for an ageing society.

According to reports, millennials have high-pressure lives and are plagued with low-paying jobs on temporary contracts, rising housing costs and the financial burden of supporting ageing parents or grandparents.

The rising cost of living in Thailand makes life hard for young people. COVID-19 has made matters worse. They struggle to stay afloat and take care of their ageing parents on top of that.

The government has to prepare to take care of elderly people despite having much less income since fewer people are paying taxes than before. Despite the fact that the Government has set the ageing society as a National Agenda item, we need much more action, rather than just words.

Loss of taxpayers in Thailand

There is already a “Department of Older Persons” within the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to take care of this. This is unlikely to be enough because, by 2031, 30% of the population will be 60 or older, making Thailand a “super-aged” society.

The demographic shift will have an impact on the government’s fiscal burden, especially the rising welfare budget. In contrast to Japan and Singapore, the government’s facilities are inadequate to deal with an “aged” society, so more needs to be done. Thailand will also suffer from the loss of workers and taxpayers.

Government must find a way to raise revenue by revamping tax structures and enhancing the efficiency of tax revenue collection as the economy continues to struggle. Additionally, the country needs to revamp its economy and rely more on innovative technologies and value-added products and services.

When millennials and the elderly fail to earn more income, both will suffer. Prior to becoming a super-aged nation, the country must generate wealth to fund social support and healthcare.

The popular saying goes, “We must get rich before we age, not age before we get rich,” and that certainly applies here. For Thailand to feed its dependent population, it is crucial that it sustains economic growth over time.

This article was first published in Thai PBS

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