Thailand has seen a great deal of economic boom since the 1980s and this has made it a country which is now considered to be at least middle class if not approaching upper class. The only problem is that the wealth is not at all evenly distributed in the country. There is a huge income gap between the classes; those who are very rich and those who are very poor.
There has been significant economic growth between 1988 and 2015. Actually, the poverty rate in the 1960s was at around 57% and that dropped to 22% by 1988. Since then, the poverty rate has dropped to 11% overall but this varies depending on the region.
In fact, in the northern area of Thailand, the poverty rate is actually 20%. In Bangkok, the largest city in Thailand, the poverty rate is one percent in the metropolitan area. The poverty is actually found in the rural areas and slums surrounding the cities.
It looks to tourists as though Thailand is not so poor, as though it is doing well. In fact, only certain areas are and those happen to be the tourist attractions. The reality is that 7.3 million Thais live in poverty and 80% of them live in rural areas and slums.
Bangkok Not So Rich and Beautiful
The slums of Bangkok are made up of refugees from Cambodia, those who had to flee rural homes that have been flooded, and drug addicts. Many of these people live in homes they have made themselves or they live in abandoned buildings.
If you walk through the areas, you will see a great deal of trash with filthy streams of water. Stray dogs are walking all about. In spite of this, there are many people who do manage to keep very clean but humble homes with a sacred atmosphere. Th
People here manage to get by through helping each other. If people are in need of food, others help them to eat and the same is true with housing. The crime rates are actually low due to the fact that most people here accept their place in the society.
The Rich are Very Rich
As it turns out, the richest people in Thailand control most of the income that the country has. These are the people who have managed to seed all of the wealth since the boom started in the 1980s. The wealthiest 20% make about 60% of the income that Thailand sees. This is actually the highest in Asia.
The four wealthiest families control 12% or the country’s GDP.
The Poor are Very Poor
Since the majority of the wealth is controlled by the richest people in Thailand, incomes are rather low in the rest of the country. Many people are poor, especially in the northeastern region of the country. This is expected to change in the next few years as that region is developed more and there will be more jobs available.