Many young Thai couples are too disheartened to have children due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other crises that have led to inflation and high prices.

Thailand already is facing a demographic time bomb due to a plummeting birth rate and rapidly aging society. Last year, Thailand registered a record low birth rate of just below 545,000 newborns, a figure lower than the number of deaths that year, which was 563,650, according to data by the National Statistical Office.

By comparison, until the mid-1990s, there were between 900,000 and 1 million births, but then the rate began to decline.

Couples are anxious over the future. Baz, a political analyst, said that even though the cost of living has increased, wages remain unchanged and so couples have to work extra hard to support themselves.

In the past starting a family came easy because concerns were less serious and people had better living conditions than now, he said.

“I think it’s about the generation gap. Our children and grandchildren’s generation will have a society, culture and understanding of each other that is different from ours, and this would have been made possible by new ways of connecting and communicating,” Baz said.

“It is now possible for people to find out information and connect with others in ways that were not possible for previous generations. People today look for information on the internet. It makes us feel that we have access to more knowledge.”

Even though having children comes with many responsibilities, many young couples find it burdensome considering that society today makes it difficult to attain and sustain a well-paying job.

Many want to postpone having children because the pandemic hit the economy hard and created a stagnant state, which caused uncertainty toward the future for many preventing them from being financially stable enough to support a family.

“Reasons for not wanting to have children are mainly the state of the economy and the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Knot, a retail worker at Bangkok’s Siam Paragon mall. “The uncertain economic conditions have led many couples to decide to postpone having a family.

“The poor economic conditions have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. Many couples have put off starting families because economic recovery and future growth are uncertain and the cost of living is so high compared to the average income.”