Last Census - 2010
It may surprise some people to learn that Indonesia is in fact the fourth largest country on earth (behind just China, India, and the US). Far from being small, Indonesia is in fact a vast archipelago that comprises over 17,000 Islands, which go to form a land mass equating to 1,919,440 square kilometres (735,355 square miles). This means that Indonesia is the 19th largest country in terms of land mass and it has a high population density, too.
As the 4th most populous country on earth, Indonesia's 2014 population is estimated at 253,899,536, an increase from 2013’s estimate of 250,585,668.
Indonesia Population 2014
The last official census recording the population of Indonesia took place in 2010 and it showed that there were 237,424,363 people living on its 17,508 Islands. This equated to a population density of 123.76 people per square kilometer (323.05 per square mile). Around 58% of Indonesia’s population live on the Island of Java and the statistics involved here make it the most populous island in the whole world.
In recent years, the country has embarked on a program of family planning awareness but that has done little to slow down a considerable population growth which is expected to reach around 254 million by 2020 and a staggering 288 million by 2050. The population of Indonesia in 2014 is already estimated at 253 million with no signs of slowing, and this represents a very sizable increase from the official 2010 figures.
Within Indonesia, the final figure of 237 million citizens in 2010 comprised of a diverse range of ethnic groups. The breakdown of ethnic groups in Indonesia is as follows:
- Javanese: 41.71%
- Sundanese: 15.41%
- Matay: 3.45%
- Madurese: 3.37%
- Batak: 3.02%
- Minankabau: 2.72%
- Betawi: 2.51%
- Bantenese: 2.05%
- Banjarese: 1.74%
- Balinese: 1.51%
- Makassarese: 0.99%
- Crebonede: 0.94%
In addition to this diverse population, Indonesia is also the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, as just over 86% of Indonesians declared Muslim on the 2000 census. 8.7% are Christian, 3% are Hindu, 1.8% are Buddhist or other.
Largest Cities in Indonesia
According to the 2010 official population data, Indonesia has 11 cities with a population over 1 million, although Bogor, the 12th most populous city in the country, is quickly approaching this mark as well. The 10 largest cities in Indonesia, with populations as of 2010, are:
- Jakarta (Jakarta Province): 10.187 million in 2013
- Surabaya (East Java): 2.765 million
- Bandung (West Java): 2.394 million
- Bekasi (West Java): 2.334 million
- Medan (North Sumatra): 2.097 million
- Tangerang (Banten): 1.798 million
- Depok (West Java): 1.738 million
- Semarang (Central Java): 1.555 million
- Palembang (South Sumatra): 1.455 million
- Makassar (South Sulawesi): 1.338 million
Jakarta isn't just the most populous city in Indonesia; it's also the most populous in Southeast Asia and the 13th most populated city on earth. The official metropolitan area, known as Jabodetabek, is the second largest in the world, and the metropolis's suburbs extend even further. The entire area has a population well past 28 million, which makes it one of the largest conurbations on earth. It's also one of the fastest-growing cities on earth, growing faster than Beijing and Bangkok, with a population density in the city proper of 15,342 people per square kilometer (39,740/square mile).
Indonesia Population Growth
Another interesting statistic involves the ages of the Indonesian population and although these figures date from the previous national census of 2000, they still tell an interesting story.
Of the total 2000 population, 27.3 per cent were aged between 0 and 14 years, 66.5 per cent between 15 and 64, while just 6.1% of the population of Indonesia were aged over 65.
Birth rate was healthy compared to the death rate too and based on a 2012 estimate, it’s believed that there are 17.76 births per 1,000 people compared to just 6.28 deaths. Add in a loss of 1.08 people to net migration and you have a total annual growth rate of 1.04%.
That final figure of 1.04% may not seem like a lot but on a population of over 250 million, it leads to some significant increases. As the Jakarta Post reported in 2013, Indonesia's population has doubled within just 40 years from 119 million in 1971 to almost 240 million in 2010, based on figures from the Central Statistics Agency. In another 40 years, the country's population is expected to climb much higher.
According to the Jakarta Post author, the high Muslim population in Indonesia is leading to a very high birth rate, which cannot be sustained. The article points out that Jakarta, Indonesia's largest city, is in a naturally flood-prone area, and the depth and extend of floods only increases as the population density increases.
Unfortunately, Indonesia's attempts at family planning education and population control have not been very successful, and it's hard to say how sustainable the country's growth will be.
Predictions currently place Indonesia's population at 366 million by 2050, which will make it the fifth most populous country on earth, as Nigeria is expected to surpass both Indonesia and the United States to claim the number three position in less than 40 years.