The departing Prayut Chan-o-cha government’s changes to the old-age allowance eligibility criteria caused a stir in Thailand, but the issue of low birth rates, which also significantly impacts the elderly population, has not received much discussion. Public Health Minister Dr Cho-nan Srikaew recently declared increasing the fertility rate to be on the national agenda, drawing criticism for calling the decision of numerous couples who do not want to have children “perverted”. In contrast, an opposition MP expressed a different opinion, stating that having children is a personal decision and there is nothing wrong with choosing not to have them.
The low birth rate in Thailand will impact economic development in multiple ways, including a smaller labour force to pursue growth in GDP. Without the proper policy in place, the Thai economy will see slower growth and potentially struggle in the future. Addressing the issue of low birth rates is essential for the long-term prosperity of the nation and the well-being of its elderly population.