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Thailand is a country at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.

With a total area of approximately 513,000 km2 (198,000 sq mi), Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country. It is the 21st-most-populous country in the world, with around 65 million people. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, which is Thailand's political, commercial, industrial, and cultural hub. About 75–95% of the population is ethnically Tai, which includes four major regional groups: Central Thai (Khon Pak Klang): 30%; Northeastern Thai: 22%, Northern Thai (Khon Lanna): 9%; and Southern Thai (Khon Tai): 7%. Thai Chinese, those of significant Chinese heritage, are 14% of the population, while Thais with partial Chinese ancestry comprise up to 40% of the population. Thai Malays represent 3% of the population, with the remainder consisting of Mons, Khmers and various "hill tribes". The country's official language is Thai and the primary religion is Buddhism, which is practised by around 95% of the population.

Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1996, becoming a newly industrialized country and a major exporter. Manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy. Among the ten ASEAN countries, Thailand ranked second in the best quality of life in ASEAN. Its large population and growing economic influence have made it a middle power in the region and around the world.

Geography
Thailand is home to several distinct geographic regions, partly corresponding to the provincial groups. The north of the country is the mountainous area of the Thai highlands, with the highest point being Doi Inthanon in the Thanon Thong Chai Range at 2,565 metres (8,415 ft) above sea level. The northeast, Isan, consists of the Khorat Plateau, bordered to the east by the Mekong River. The centre of the country is dominated by the predominantly flat Chao Phraya river valley, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand.

Southern Thailand consists of the narrow Kra Isthmus that widens into the Malay Peninsula. Politically, there are six geographical regions which differ from the others in population, basic resources, natural features, and level of social and economic development. The diversity of the regions is the most pronounced attribute of Thailand's physical setting.

The Chao Phraya and the Mekong River are the sustainable resource of rural Thailand. Industrial scale production of crops use both rivers and their tributaries. The Gulf of Thailand covers 320,000 square kilometres (124,000 sq mi) and is fed by the Chao Phraya, Mae Klong, Bang Pakong and Tapi Rivers. It contributes to the tourism sector owing to its clear shallow waters along the coasts in the Southern Region and the Kra Isthmus. The Gulf of Thailand is also an industrial centre of Thailand with the kingdom's main port in Sattahip along with being the entry gates for Bangkok's Inland Seaport.

The Andaman Sea is regarded as Thailand's most precious natural resource as it hosts the most popular and luxurious resorts in Asia. Phuket, Krabi, Ranong, Phang Nga and Trang and their lush islands all lay along the coasts of the Andaman Sea and despite the 2004 Tsunami, they continue to be and ever more so, the playground of the rich and elite of Asia and the world.

The ports would improve economic conditions in the south of Thailand, which relies heavily on tourism income, and it would also change the structure of the Thai economy moving it closer to a services centre of Asia. The canal would be a major engineering project and has expected costs of 20–30 billion dollars.

The local climate is tropical and characterized by monsoons. There is a rainy, warm, and cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September, as well as a dry, cool northeast monsoon from November to mid-March. The southern isthmus is always hot and humid. This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.

Demographics
Thais make up the majority of Thailand's population, 95.9% in 2010. This number includes Thai Chinese, a historically and economically important minority. The remaining 4.1% of the population are Burmese (2.0%), others 1.3%, and unspecified 0.9%.

Thailand is home to a large expatriate community of around 200,000 foreigners, mostly from Europe and North America. Increasing numbers of migrants from neighboring Burma, Laos, and Cambodia, as well as from Nepal and India, have pushed the total number of non-national residents to around 3.5 million as of 2009, up from an estimated 2 million in 2008, and about 1.3 million in the year 2000. The growing number of both legal and undocumented migrants has raised awareness regarding the treatment of minorities.

Thailand's population is largely rural, concentrated in the rice-growing areas of the central, northeastern, and northern regions. Its urban population is only around 45.7% as of 2010, concentrated mostly in and around the Bangkok Metropolitan Area.

The country's successful government-sponsored family planning program has resulted in a dramatic decline in population growth from 3.1% in 1960 to around 0.4% today. In 1970, an average of 5.7 persons lived in a Thai household. At the time of the 2010 census, the figure was down to 3.2 persons.

 


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