Our views on certain things are shaped by different historical events. The truth is cross-cultural marriages in Thailand were discouraged by society because, during the Vietnam war, thousands of American soldiers were living in this country, and, of course, there were poor women who agreed to be their “rent wives.” This was a horribly long war that lasted for twenty years, and that lead to negative yet pretty obvious consequences – the society rejected transcultural marriages and stigmatized local women who married foreigners.
However, time does not stay still, and societies, as well as social attitudes, are changing. Globalization, the World Wide Web, cross-cultural connections made cross-ethnic and cross-cultural marriages popular and socially accepted. Some researchers note that this is due to faster modern communication, and they are very likely to be right. But what are Thai women for marriage like in 2022? What is their attitude to family and gender roles, child-rearing, education, social issues, etc.? We are going to analyze this on the basis of the results of various social, demographic and psychological researches.
Thai wives: marriage rate, divorce rate, and gender distribution
In fact, statistics, figures and hard facts can tell a lot about the country and people living in this country. What about the demographic situation in Thailand?
- Population and gender distribution. Currently, over 69 million people live in Thailand. The population is constantly growing – the growth in 2019 was about 255,000 people, however, there is one thing that explains Thai brides’ wish to migrate to marry. The thing is currently, the ratio of men to women is 49.1% (33,965,162) to 50.9% (35,162,080). As you can see, there, women outnumber men significantly.
- Divorce rate. The divorce rate in Thailand is very high, and the experts note that the biggest problem is that it is growing year by year. According to the Department of Mental Health, over the last decade, the percentage of divorces has reached 39%. The thing is 14 years ago only 27% of marriages ended in divorce.
- Reasons. What are the grounds for divorce in this country? Couples in Thailand breakup because one of the spouses has committed adultery, is guilty of misconduct, caused serious harm to the body or mind of their partner, has failed to provide for the family, etc.
The information above can help us understand what the reasons for the so-called marriage migration are. As we can see, there are over 35 million women and less than 34 million men in the country. Moreover, in most cases, adultery is the ground for divorce. Consequently, we can conclude that 1) women face fierce competition; 2) most women have survived a break up with a cheating boyfriend or husband; 3) finding a husband abroad seems the right decision to most of Thailand women for marriage.
Thai wives: single mothers, fertility, and education
What about the institution of the family in Thailand? What challenges does a regular Thai mail order bride or just a single woman face? How many children do these women want to have? What stops them from having more children? Are they poorly-educated women looking for a rich man’s support? Find the answers to these questions below.
The interesting fact is that women’s desired number of children is 1.93 per women but they actually have 1.67 children on average – an unmet need of 0.26. Consequently, we can conclude that the level of unmet fertility is pretty high among married and single women. The experts connect this with economic problems and lack of financial stability, but still, this shows that local women want to have and raise children, but some of them just cannot afford this.
In Thailand, it costs on average 1.9 million THB to raise a child from birth to 20 years, these costs are nearly equally covered by parents (54%) and by the Government (46%). This means that parents need to invest 4,000 THB per month on average to raise one child.
The overall number of single mothers in the country is rising, and nearly 60% of single-parent families are the result of divorce. The main ground for divorce, as we have already noted, is adultery. Mothers are the primary caregivers in over 80% of such families. Another important thing to consider is that it is pretty difficult for a divorced woman to find a romantic partner among locals, so no wonder these ladies search for them overseas.
Family is important, but education is important too
Though the family is one of the sacred things to most Thai brides, we cannot ignore the fact that the increasing educational attainment level of women has contributed to decisions to delay family formation or to remain childless temporarily. Most Thai prefer to receive higher education first and then to think about getting married. No wonder they usually make a more rational decision and choose foreigners who are likely to be 1) faithful 2) supportive 3) financially stable. Foreign men, in turn, do not consider 29-year old ladies as old maids and do not mind marrying a Thai bride in her 30s.
Thai brides & foreign husbands – is there life after marriage?
A research made in Isan has shown some really interesting results. The purpose of the research was to study the background of cross-cultural marriage in Thailand, particularly, in Isan and to study cross-cultural marriage rituals. Although the local wedding rituals are definitely worth attention, we will focus on the first part of the research. Here are the most interesting facts that may help understand Thai girls for marriage and find out what family life of Thai mail order brides and foreign men is like.
- Most women in Thai are Buddhist, graduated from high school, with bachelor degrees or high vocational certificates.
- Female respondents were housemaid, agriculturists, flight attendants, businesswomen, and some were unemployed. Consequently, it would be a mistake to think that foreigners marry only poorly educated women who do not have their own careers.
- Most foreigners used to be married, and some of them are single fathers, but all of them have a stable financial status.
- Most Thai brides faced certain problems in their relationship and/or poverty.
- All couples married after 6-24 months of online or offline dating.
- Not all couples moved to the United States or other countries of the grooms’ origin. Some couples stay in Thailand, and in some cases, a woman stays in Thailand, and a man visits her a few times a year.
- In cross-cultural families, spouses speak both English and Thai.
- Spouses continue practicing their former religions, and this does not cause any conflicts.
- All foreign husbands do their best to improve the quality of life and financial status of their wives and even their children.
- In most cases, family and friends of both husband and wife warmly accept the new family member.
How can we use the info above? In fact, the results are very interesting, especially considering the fact that they are contrary to the most widespread stereotypes. For example, it is considered that Thai women for marriage are poorly educated ladies who are looking for a rich husband instead of building a career. As we can see, the majority of female respondents are well-educated and employed.
Secondly, religion is not such a big problem for newlyweds, as well as the language barrier – a bride and a groom speak English both English and Thai. Thirdly, all husbands agree to support not only a wife herself but also her children from her first marriage. In other words, this survey has shown that though some things may seem a bit weird to more conservative people, most stereotypes about a regular Thai woman for marriage are nothing but myths.
Where do Thai girls for marriage and foreign men meet each other?
Thailand is a very popular country. Millions of tourists visit it every single year, and some of them even spend there a few months a year, especially if winter weather in their own country is really severe. No wonder some of them meet a Thailand girl for marriage and build a relationship with her. Still, the percentage of men who are lucky to meet their Thai dream girl is pretty low in comparison with the percentage of singles who meet their Thai bride on the Web.
Some may say that meeting someone on the Internet is not a popular way to get married today, but the figures suggest otherwise. In particular, according to Statista, the online dating industry is expected to show an annual growth rate of more than 5%, resulting in a market volume of 2,530m dollars in less than five years.
However, a lot of people still have doubts about such sites. In part, this may be explained by the fact that the work of dating agencies and sites is a “mystery.” In fact, most trusted companies in the industry use the same algorithm which involves several common states, which are as follows:
- An agency or a website finds a pretty Thai bride who is looking for a husband and is ready to move abroad if she marries a foreign guy.
- A company checks her documents and provides her with the possibility to create an account on a site and make it as detailed as possible.
- The services are free for women, but they are not free for men who are looking for Thai women for marriage – otherwise, a company could not afford to hire employers, pay for servers, and so on and so forth.
- Men who create accounts contact women, choose girls they like and build relationships with them. In most cases, an agency also arranges real meetings in Thailand.
- If a man and a woman are in love, they do not wait for too long to get married – just like as the respondents of the survey mentioned above, they start building a family in 6-24 months after they start dating.
Generally speaking, a good dating site can help a man find a good Thai wife without much difficulty.
Who are Thai mail order brides in 2020?
So who Thai wives that choose foreigners really are? The information above allows understanding that there are lots of social, economic, and personal reasons why these women are leaving Thailand (this is not the only possible scenario, though.) Adultery is the main ground for divorce, and the worst thing that divorced women are still stigmatized by a pretty conservative Thai society.
These women are trying to avoid being a wife of a cheating husband and being stigmatized for leaving this husband. A Thai wife who is looking for a boyfriend overseas understands that a foreign man can make her and her children much happier. She chooses mutual respect, love, and commitment instead of the love of a local guy, which, unfortunately, is often very short.