Thailand attempts to avert population crisis as the country’s birth rate falls to 60-year low | #socialmedia

Thailand is scrambling to encourage its people to have more babies to arrest a slumping birth rate, offering parents child care and fertility centres, while also tapping social media influencers to showcase the joys of family life.

The campaign comes as the number of births has dropped by nearly a third since 2013.

Last year saw 544,000 births, the lowest in at least six decades and below the 563,000 deaths, which were also swollen by coronavirus-related fatalities.

As an emerging market relying on cheap labour and a growing middle class, the implications for South-East Asia’s second-biggest economy are far more profound.

“The data reflects a population crisis … where the mindset towards having children has changed,” said Teera Sindecharak, an expert on demography at Thammasat University.

High costs of living and changing attitudes are partly why Thailand’s birth rate has fallen significantly in recent years.(AP: Sakchai Lalit)

Senior health official Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai said the government recognised a need to intervene.

“We are trying to slow down the decline in births and reverse the trend by getting families that are ready to have children faster,” he said, describing plans to introduce policies so that newborns get the full support of the state.

The plans include opening fertility centres, currently limited to Bangkok and other major cities, in 76 provinces and also using social media influencers to back up the message, officials said.

A country becoming a ‘super-aged society’

A child stands in a shopping trolley in a supermarket being pushed by her mother wearing a facemask.
Experts say rising household debt is another reason why people are choosing not to have children in Thailand.(Reuters: Soe Zeya Tun)

Experts said it was hard to reverse a situation where social conditions have changed and attitudes towards having children are now coloured by concerns over rising debt and elderly care.

Thailand is heading towards becoming a “super-aged society” where the number of people over 60 will account for more than a fifth of the population, academic Teera Sindecharak said. About 18 per cent of Thailand’s population is aged over 60.

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