has been claimed that the steep reduction
in mortality since 1900 occurred over
only four generations from an overall of
8.000 human generations who had ever
seeing the sun on this world (3). The
sharp increase in life expectancy,
especially in high income countries,
seems to be due to environmental
technology, better medical care for the
elderly, vast decreases in child mortality
and improved nutrition (3).
Increased life expectancy is sometimes discussed in a negative sense and thought to
further increase the risks of overpopulation. What might have happened is that mother-and-
child health care as well as improvements in public health and general health care have
outpaced advancements in the political, social and economic circumstances of many
countries, especially low income countries in Africa. Overall child survival has increased, but
the felt need to have a large number of children has not changed. Couples might have had
more children than they wished because of the lack of family
planning. In socially and economically stable societies birth rates
usually drop substantially or don’t increase dramatically.
Thailand, in working its way up to be a middle income
country, should be proud to have achieved a demographic pattern
similar to high income countries by considerably reducing the
mortality of the Thai people. Every age category within society
should be valued, and this should also hold true for the elderly. It seems that Thailand can still
cope well with her proportion of elderly people. Those age groups dependent on the total
population are not only the elderly but also the young ones. The overall dependency rate for
Thailand is about 39% which is lower than for Germany with over 50% (see graph above).
The important difference is that for Thailand 25% of the population is dependent because of
children and young people while this figure for Germany stands at 20%. In Germany,
however, over 30% of the population is dependent because they are the elderly while the
dependency rate for the elderly in Thailand stands at 14%.
Taxes and other revenues are not solely used for supporting
the young and the elderly, but a significant proportion of tax money
and revenue is spent on these purposes. However, taxes and
revenues are comparably low in Thailand compared with Germany.
Almost 50% of the gross domestic product in Germany is from taxes
and fees while this is the case only for 20% in Thailand (see graph
Dependency ratio (%) Thailand
Dependency ratio (%) Germany