Changes in Thai society are changing the lives and numbers of monks and single women in Thailand. It’s a new ballgame..

Monks in Thailand

The Thailand Sangha Supreme Council Office says there were just 251,997 monks and 69,907 novices in Thailand last year – a slight decrease since the previous survey in 2007. The Supreme Council Office suggests that the decrease probably stems from the Thai Government’s educational services. Until recently, boys from poor families studied at temple schools. Now they receive 15 years of free education from the government. “The basic and higher education being offered is of good quality, so most boys and men prefer completing their studies at normal schools,” the council’s secretary-general Amnart Buasiri said yesterday. In some provinces the number of monks has increased. Bangkok now has 15,369 monks – up from 14,405 last year. The number of monks in also rose from 2,607 in 2007 to 3,978 in 2008. “An increase in numbers has also been reported in Chachoengsao, Yasothon, Samut Songkhram and Phetchabun,” the secretary-general said. All temple (wat) schools offer a general level academic scripture education, “But for higher levels, classes will only be available at regional centres”.

Single Women in Thailand

Just as we suspected: The last census has now been decoded and Mahidol University’s Institute for Population and Social Research  found that here were 782,716 more females than males here between the ages of 15 and 49. At the same time, Thailand’s birth rate plunged to 1.6 per woman in 2013 from 6 in 1970. Rising education, living standards and expectations, women’s growing confidence in their self-reliance and their independence, higher education, and career advancement opportunities. The average marriage age for men rose from 24.7 in 1970 to 28.7 in 2010 and for women from 22 to 24.9.  Sutthida Chuanwan, who works for the institute, said sexual preferences, lifestyle patterns and women’s higher confidence in their social roles and status were also key factors. “There has been a change where men are partnering with men and women are partnering with women. This results in an unequal distribution between men and women.” Thai society is more accepting of varied sexual preferences, she said. Men who like men accounted for 10 – 17 per cent of the population in 2010. Lesbianism is widespread in Thailand, too, and has two large subcultures devoted to it. I’ll write more about that in a future post. So there you have it: monks slightly down, single women up!

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