Population: Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest population after China, India, and the United States, totaling an estimated 238,452,952 individuals in July 2004, with a 1.5 percent annual population growth rate. Sixty-nine percent of the population lives in rural areas. Java is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with more than 120 million people, or some 945 persons per square kilometer. By contrast, the most densely populated Outer Islands have 90 persons or fewer per square kilometer. Jakarta, on the western end of Java, is the largest city, with an estimated population of 11.4 million in mid-2001.
Demography: According to estimates of Indonesia’s age structure, 29.4 percent of Indonesians are under 14 years of age; 65.6 percent are between 15 and 64; and only 5.1 percent are 65 and older. Estimates made in 2004 indicate a birthrate of 21.1 births per 1,000 and a death rate of 6.26 deaths per 1,000. In 2004 life expectancy was estimated at 71.8 years for women and 68.8 for men, or 69.3 years total. Estimates for infant mortality ranged from 37 to 63 per 1,000 live births. The total fertility rate estimated for 2004 was 2.47 children per woman.
Ethnic Groups: Indonesia is a culturally very diverse nation. Ethnic identities are not always clear, stable (even for individuals), or agreed upon; ethnic groups may appear or profess to be more distinct socially or culturally than they actually are. But there are about 350 recognized ethnolinguistic groups in Indonesia, 180 of them located in Papua; 13 languages have more than 1 million speakers (see below). Javanese make up 45 percent of the population, Sundanese 14 percent, Madurese 7.5 percent, coastal Malays 7.5 percent, and others 26 percent.
Languages: The official national language is Bahasa Indonesia (or Indonesian), a modified form of Malay, with an estimated 17 million to 30 million mother-tongue speakers and more than 140 million second-language speakers or readers. Additionally, as many as 725 other languages and dialects are spoken. Some have large numbers of speakers: Javanese (75 million), Sundanese (27 million), Madurese (nearly 14 million), and Malay (10 million). Other languages with more than 1 million speakers each, in descending order, are Minangkabau, Balinese, Buginese, Acehnese, Batawi, Banjarese, Sasak, Toba Batak, Chinese of various dialects, Makasarese, Lampung, Dairi Batak, and Rejang. Since independence, and particularly since 1965, English has replaced Dutch as the main Western language spoken and is widely used in government and business circles.
Religion: Indonesia has the largest Islamic population of any nation. Most Indonesians (88 percent) count themselves as Muslims and observe Islamic practices to varying degrees; another 5 percent of Indonesians are Protestant, 3 percent are Roman Catholic, 2 percent are Hindu, 1 percent are Buddhist, and 1 percent observe other religions. In some remote areas, animism is practiced. The constitution guarantees religious freedom for the five religions (the first five mentioned) recognized by the state. In 2002 the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat—MPR) rejected a proposal to introduce Islamic law as a constitutional requirement.
Education and Literacy: Indonesia has a twelve-year public and private education system (primary—grades one through six; junior high school—grades seven through nine; and senior high school—grades ten through twelve). An estimated 3.7 percent of government expenditures go toward education. Schooling is compulsory at the primary and, since 1993, junior high levels; senior high school education is optional. The system is supervised by the Ministry of National Education (which is responsible for nonreligious, public schools—about 92 percent of total enrollment at the primary level and 44 percent at the secondary level) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs (which is responsible for religious, private, and semiprivate schools—about 15 percent of total enrollment). Pesantren (Islamic religious boarding schools) doubled in number between 1980 and 1996 and enrolled more than twice the number of students, which in 1996 amounted to 1.9 million. Nearly 98 percent of students complete primary school according to United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates in 2001. The adult literacy rate ranges between 88.5 percent, according to a U.S. Government estimate for 2003, and 90.2 percent, according to a 2001 UNESCO estimate. In public schools, emphasis on moral and civil studies under the rubric of a state philosophy known as Pancasila (Five Principles: monotheism, humanitarianism, nationalism, democracy, and social justice), was altered after the end of the New Order. Since 2000, for example, courses in “Pancasila Morality” have been known as “Civic Education” and their intensity and propagandistic qualities much reduced. Most religious schools emphasize Islamic values and thought. There are some 1,634 institutions of higher education, including the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, founded by the Dutch in the 1930s, and Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, founded by Indonesians in 1946.
Health: Indonesia had a three-tiered system of community health centers in the late 1990s, with 0.66 hospital beds per 1,000 population, the lowest rate among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In the mid-1990s, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 16 physicians per 100,000 population in Indonesia, 50 nurses per 100,000, and 26 midwives per 100,000. Both traditional and modern health practices are employed. Government health expenditures are about 3.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). There is about a 75:25 percent ratio of public to private health-care expenditures. Human immuno-deficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) has posed a major public health threat since the early 1990s. In 2003 Indonesia ranked third among ASEAN nations in Southeast Asia—after Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand—with a 0.1 percent adult prevalence rate, 130,000 HIV/AIDS cases, and 2,400 deaths. In Jakarta it is estimated that 17 percent of prostitutes have contracted HIV/AIDS; in some parts of Papua, it is thought that the rate of inflection among village women who are not prostitutes may be as high as 26 percent. Two other health hazards facing Indonesia in 2004 were dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and avian influenza. All 30 provincial-level units were affected by dengue fever and DHF, according to WHO. The outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (A/H5N1) in chickens and ducks in Indonesia was said to pose a significant threat to human health.
Welfare: Of the government budget for FY2002, 8.8 percent was devoted to the category of “social welfare, health, and the empowerment of women.”