Getting old can be hard under any circumstances, and harder still when you’re poor. That’s the predicament for Thailand, the developing country first in line to face the consequences of a first-world-style baby bust.
Data published last month by the United Nations show births in Thailand have dropped to a level on par with Switzerland and Finland, two ultra-wealthy countries with which it has almost nothing else in common.
Those numbers mean that more than a quarter of Thailand’s people will be over 60 by 2030—and most will be poor. The International Monetary Fund says a shrinking labor force will hold back economic growth by as much as a full percentage point every year for the next two decades.
Margo Towie, Jason Clenfield and Hannah Dormido