After recovering from the "Asian Crisis" of 1997-1998, the Thai economy took off again. From 2002-2006, Thailand's growth averaged at 5.6%.
As such, Thailand has been one of the great development success stories, with sustained strong growth and impressive poverty reduction. In the decade that ended in 1995, the Thai economy was one of the world's fastest growing at an average rate of 8-9% per year. After recovering from the Asian Crisis of 1997-1998, the Thai economy took off again, with growth averaging about 5% per year in the period 2002-2007. Primarily due to the high rates of economic growth, poverty has been falling steadily since the late 1980s. Over the last decade, poverty has been reduced from its recent peak of 21% (a result of the 1997 crisis) to about 8% in 2009. Poverty in Thailand is primarily a rural phenomenon, with 88% of the country's 5.4 million poor living in rural areas.
However, benefits of Thailand's economic success have not been shared equally, with some regions—particularly, the North and Northeast—lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of poverty reduction. Furthermore, in 2010, Thailand's economic growth slowed because of global economic conditions and political uncertainty. However, Thailand's economic activity is gradually returning to normal, with quarterly economic growth rates now closer to the levels often seen before the global financial crisis began in 2008. For 2011 as a whole, the World Bank is predicting economic growth in Thailand of over 3.5%.
As a result of sensible economic policies, Thailand continues to make progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is likely to meet most of the MDGs on an aggregate basis. The maternal mortality and under-five mortality rates have been greatly reduced and more than 97% of the population, both in the urban and rural areas, now have access to clean water and sanitation. Nevertheless, there continue to be spatial variations with some regions and ethnic groups lagging behind, and there are some concerns about the environmental sustainability goal.
Source: World Bank