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Thailand Poverty Brief (English)

Thailand’s progress in poverty reduction has slowed from 2015 onwards, mirroring a slowing economy and stagnating farm, business, and wage incomes. In 2019, the country witnessed the largest decline in poverty since 2015 even as average household income stagnated, thanks to expanded social assistance programs. In 2019, the poor, the economically secure and the middle class made up 6.2, 56.3, and 37.5 percent of the population, respectively. Poor households are disadvantaged by low education and low levels of asset ownership. They are trapped in low productivity employment and must rely heavily on public assistance and remittances. As COVID-19 struck an economy already suffering from several structural weaknesses, poverty rose by 0.2 percentage points to 6.4 percent in 2020. In the absence of the compensation package introduced by the government, poverty would have increased to 7.4 percent. Despite the large social assistance, problems persist. Substantial income declines have forced households to resort to negative coping strategies. Nearly half of households are unsatisfied with the Government response to the COVID-19 crisis. A fourth wave of COVID-19 in 2021 has slowed the recovery with vulnerable groups bearing a disproportionate burden. Slow vaccination rates and high levels of vaccine hesitancy could hamper the economic recovery and stall progress in poverty reduction. To ensure an inclusive recovery and bring back momentum for poverty reduction, policy priorities will need to focus on expanding social assistance benefits for vulnerable populations as well as addressing vaccine hesitancy while accelerating vaccination coverage.

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Thailand Poverty Brief (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/780771636649923876/Thailand-Poverty-Brief