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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.

Dependency ratio

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