1. Introduction

Thailand’s human geography reflects the fact that it was never colonized by the west. The kingdom has origins dating back to the 1200’s. Today, the country is relatively homogeneous. Thailand is also one of the more developed nations in Southeast Asia.

Photo: Buddhism has shaped Thailand’s human geography (Creative Commons: Melenama).

2. Ethnic Groups and Language

Thai 96%
Burmese 2%
Other 2%

Chart: Ethnic Groups of Thailand

Ethnic Groups: Thailand has a homogeneous population. The Thai people represent a solid majority of the population (96%). They are followed by a small Burmese population (2%) and other minority groups (2%).

Language: The official language of the country is Thai (91%). This is followed by Burmese (1%) and other languages (8%). English is also spoken by the upper class.

3. Religions

Buddhism 93%
Islam 5%
Christianity 1%
Other 1%

Chart: Religions of Thailand

Religion: The majority religion of Burma is Buddhism (93%). That is followed by Islam (4%), Christianity (1%) and other localized religious groups (1%).

4. Demographics

Burma 29%
World 100%
USA 74%

Chart: Population Growth Rate Index (World = 100%)

The population of Thailand is about 68 million people. It is the 21st most populated country in the world. About half of the population (50%) live in urban areas. Bangkok is the capital city with a population of about 9.2 million people.

The population growth rate is about 0.3% a year. This is just much lower than the United States (0.9%) and the world (1.1%). Thailand has a very low population growth rate. Life expectancy is about 75 years of age. This lies in the middle of the scale in comparison to other countries.

5. Economy

Chart: Economic Sectors

About a third of the labor force works in the agricultural sector (32%). The service sector accounts for half (51%) of the workforce. The manufacturing sector employs about 17% of the work force. About 13% of the population lives in poverty.

Major agricultural products are tobacco, rubber, sugar, rice, and cassava. Important minerals are aluminum, granite, marble, and tungsten. Major industries are tourism, textiles, light manufacturing, petrochemicals, petroleum refining, and pharmaceuticals

6. Economic Development

Thailand 16100 $US
World 13100 $US
USA 52800 $US

Chart: per capita GDP

Thailand’s per capita gross domestic product is $16,100. The per capita GDP is moderate when compared to the rest of the world. It is higher than the world’s average ($13,100) but lower than the USA ($52,800). Thailand is one of the more advanced developing countries.

7. Political

The official name of Thailand is the Kingdom of Thailand. The country is also known as Siam.

The capital of Thailand is Bangkok. Thailand has a consitutional monarchy. The country has never been colonized and was founded in 1238.

8. Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills

Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.


How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.

9. Bibliography

Geography, Hello Siam.


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