The total hill tribe population is about 500,000, with the Karen being the largest group (about 350,000).There are several settlements of Palaung (about 5,000 people) near the Burmese border and several communities of Khmu, Phai, Mal, and Mlabri (about 75,000 in total) near the border with Laos.The Malay-speaking Muslims live near to the border with Malaysia. There are communities of Korean- and Urdu-speaking peoples in Bangkok, and there is a small population of Mon in central Thailand.Various peoples, commonly designated as hill tribes, inhabit the northern mountain areas.The Lanna Thai account for about 8 percent of the national population.The Pak Thai constitute about 8 percent of the population.
The majority of the Chinese live in central Thailand, especially in urban areas.With a population of almost 10 million, Bangkok is the most important city politically and economically.About twenty smaller regional cities have populations of two hundred to three hundred thousand. The population estimate for 2000 is approximately 62 million.As part of a trend toward devolution of authority, the democratic governments of the 1990s adopted more liberal policies with regard to ethnic minorities.However, members of ethnic minorities continue to face many problems in regard to political rights and economic security. The Kingdom of Thailand has an area of 198,114 square miles (513,115 square kilometers).Most of the Chinese in the country speak dialects of Min Nan Chinese.