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This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.

Despite decades of rapid development, many groups in Thailand have been left behind, particularly ethnic minorities, migrants, refugees and the very poor. Their children are often severely disadvantaged and denied their rights to survival, protection, development and participation.

Issues facing children in Thailand

  • More than 1 million children are thought to be in need of special protection, including orphaned children, children affected by HIV/AIDS, street children, children with disabilities, children in conflict with the law, child labourers and children without birth registration.
  • The trafficking of children continues, both within Thailand and internationally.
  • An estimated 1 million children of primary school age either do not go to primary school or enrol years late.
  • Nearly 1 million children lack birth registration documents.
  • Despite increased HIV awareness, infection rates are rising among the young and among populations in parts of the South. An estimated 290,000 children have been orphaned by the HIV epidemic and around 2,000 children are thought to be born with HIV each year.
  • Other concerns include the continuing threat of avian influenza, one of the lowest levels of exclusive breastfeeding in the world and very poor iodized salt coverage.
Activities and results for children

Major achievements over the past 15 years have included a 50 per cent per cent fall in infant mortality, a rise in immunization coverage to above 90 per cent, massive reductions in the use of child labour and improved legislation to protect the rights of children. UNICEF’s current activities cover:
  • Strengthening families, communities and institutions to protect the most vulnerable children from violence, abuse and exploitation. Projects include advocacy with the government to improve legislation; training for local service providers on how to look after vulnerable children; and healthcare and other support for refugees, stateless children, minorities, migrants and victims of violence.
  • Getting children into school and improving the quality of education. Major activities include advocacy with the government to improve quality and access, making schools ‘child-friendly’ and promoting early childhood care.
  • Preventing new infections and caring for children affected by HIV/AIDS. UNICEF works on preventing HIV transmission among young people and from mother to child, expanding care and support services and reducing stigma and discrimination.
  • Raising awareness of rights and giving children a voice. UNICEF trains journalists on ethical reporting, provides children with media skills, ensures children participate in decision making and runs advocacy and social mobilization campaigns.
  • Tsunami response: In line with the UN’s aim to ‘build back better’, UNICEF operates long-term projects covering education, HIV/AIDS, child and maternal health and access to basic services for orphaned children and the children of migrants and minorities.
  • Studying the situation of children and advocating for change. Projects include a survey of needs in 60,000 households, analysis of government budgets and policy and monitoring progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and other targets for children.
  • Strengthening government, community and family capacity to help children through training for local government officials, advocacy for spending on children’s issues at the local level and empowerment of families and communities.



Basic Indicators

Under-5 mortality rank


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 1990


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 2012


U5MR by sex 2012, male


U5MR by sex 2012, female


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 1990


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 2012


Neonatal mortality rate 2012


Total population (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of births (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of under-5 deaths (thousands) 2012


GNI per capita (US$) 2012


Life expectancy at birth (years) 2012


Total adult literacy rate (%) 2008-2012*


Primary school net enrolment ratio (%) 2008-2011*


Definitions and data sources [popup]

Source: The State of the World's Children

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