May 2010 saw the completion of a census in Indonesia. The results show cause for concern because they indicate a marked jump in the population. Based on the census data Indonesia’s population was 237.6 million. This is 3.5 million more than previously forecast and represents a significant demographic spike. At this rate there are about 4.5 million births per year in Indonesia, equivalent to the population of Sydney, Timor Leste or Singapore, each year.
In 1930 Indonesia’s population was 60.7 million, by 1971 it had increased to 119.2 million, and at current rates it will more than double by 2057, reaching about 475 million people.
Population growth rates
Population growth rates have certainly slowed since 1980 but the census reveals what could be an upward trend.
The distribution of Indonesia’s population remains uneven. The aridity of the east and the challenges of the equatorial climates of the north are major constraints of settlement of the more outlying parts of the archipelago.
The latest figures from the 2010 census show population being distributed accordingly:
In raw figures this reveals the following populations by region
Java and Madura 136,596,240
Bali and Nusa Tenggara 13,068,000
Maluku and Papua 6,177,600
The area of Java and Madura accounting for less than 7 percent of Indonesia’s total land area. The consequence is that Javanese cities are very densely settled and have immense traffic problems. This translates into poor air quality, high noise levels, time consuming journeys to and from work and cramped living conditions. All of this results in time pressure and high stres levels presenting profound challenges to the quality of life.
The Indonesian daily newspaper Kompas, on Monday 10 January, quotes the Chairman of the Demographic Institute, Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia, Sonny Harry B Harmadi as saying that the population increase is a consequence of the neglect of family planning program, particularly since the beginning of last decade. Family Planning is no longer so central to government priorities. Political commitment and support for the government budget on family planning (Keluarga Berencana or KB) has dropped.
There will be more to follow on this topic.