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In more recent years the Isan people began mixing with the rest of the nation as urbanization and mobility increase.
Myanmar's numerous ethnic wars between the army and tribes who speak more than 40 languages and control large fiefdoms or states, has led to waves of immigrants seeking refuge or work in Thailand.
The nation's ethnic makeup is obscured by the pressures of Thaification, Thai nationalism, and social pressure, which is intertwined with a caste-like mentality assigning some groups higher social status than others.
In its report to the United Nations for the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Thai government officially recognized 62 ethnic communities.
The Fiscal Policy Office projects that the number of Thais aged 60-plus will increase from 14 percent in 2016 to 17.5 percent in 2020, 21.2 percent in 2025, and 25.2 percent in 2030.
Thailand's ethnic origins are diverse and continue to evolve.
It includes such measures as population density and distribution, ethnicity, educational levels, public health metrics, fertility, economic status, religious affiliation, and other national characteristics. It is concentrated in the rice growing areas of the central, northeastern, and northern regions.
At the time of the 2010 census, the figure was down to 3.2.
Even though Thailand has one of the better social security systems in Asia, the increasing population of elderly people is a challenge for the country.
Several other small Tai (not Thai) groups include the Shan, Lue, and Phu Thai.
Malay- and Yawi-speaking Muslims of the south are another significant minority group (2.3 percent), yet there are a substantial number of ethnic Malays who speak only Thai.