PUBLIC Health Minister Chonlanan Srikaew said as the shrinking birth rate has reached a critical level promotion of childbirth is now a “national agenda” with the government to be the main investor in human resource development, Amarin TV said this evening (Oct. 30).
The important issues in promoting childbearing are balancing work and taking care of the family, sharing expenses and the burden of raising children, helping people with infertility problems and amending laws that hamper access to treatment with assisted reproduction technology, he said.
Opportunity to have children should be opened to couples living together but have not registered their marriage, those belonging to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) community, single men and women by integrating relevant sectors, Dr. Chonlanan said.
This came amid alarming statistics that show that while between 1963-1983 one million children were born per year, this reduced to 485,085 births in 2021 in which year there were 550,042 deaths, which means the latter outstripped the former by 64,957.
This is consistent with the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) declining below the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman since 1993 and reaching 1.16 in 2022. This is the trend in almost every province in the country with only Yala recording a higher replacement level of 2.27 TFR.
Dr Chonlanan noted that important reasons for not having children stem from economic, social, educational and environmental problems with only 10 percent being due to health issues.
Dr. Kue Wongbunsin, a professor specialising in demography, said in 60 years’ time, that is by 2083, Thailand’s population could decrease from 66 million to only 33 million.
The Important working age population, from 15 to 64 years of age, will decrease from 46 million to only 14 million.
Alarmingly the total number of children, from newborn to 14 years of age, will decrease from 10 million to 1 million while the elderly, over 65 years of age, will increase from 8 million to 18 million, or 50 percent of the population.
The drop in the number of working age people will lead to the government not being able to collect enough taxes to support development.
Top: A mother lifting her child in the air. Photo: Thai Rath
Front Page: Newborn babies wearing dog costumes to celebrate the New Year of the Dog are pictured at the nursery room of Paolo Chokchai 4 Hospital in Bangkok, on December 28, 2017. File photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha and published by The Star