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Demography of Indonesia’s Ethnicity

Demography of Indonesia's Ethnicity

12 July 2015

Dear friends,

A new book Demography of Indonesia’s Ethnicity was just published by Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, on 15 July 2015. Written by Aris Ananta and Evi Nurvidya Arifin, who were with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies during the writing of the book but now with the University of Indonesia, and three statisticians from Badan Pusat Statistik Indonesia (M. Sairi Hasbullah, Nur Budi Handayani, and Agus Pramono), this book provides the first detailed statistics on ethnicity in Indonesia at both national and provincial levels. The statistics were calculated from the tabulation provided by the BPS based on the 100 percent sample of the raw data set of the Indonesia 2010 population census. The use of the 100 percent sample, rather than 10 percent or smaller, raises the accuracy of the statistics.

One of the important features of the book is the construction of New Classification of ethnic groups in Indonesia. The data on ethnicity in the raw data set is still very raw. (It is supposed to be raw, to let users decide how to regroup them.) One ethnic group can have more than one name, more than one spelling. One ethnic group can also have sub or sub-sub ethnic groups. There are also names which do not exist in the existing literatures. Therefore, the five authors enjoyed the virtual travel throughout Indonesia, reading sociological and anthropological literatures and consulting with local expertise by reading the data. They then constructed the New Classification, consisting of more than 630 ethnic groups in the whole Indonesia. This New Classification is made user-friendly, along with the codes, to facilitate easy analyses for those whoever work with the data.

With the New Classification, the authors produce the statistics on ethnicity. Because of time and space constraint, most of the discussion is focused on the fifteen largest ethnic groups in Indonesia: Javanese (40.06 percent), Sundanese (15.51 percent), Malay (3.70 percent), Batak (3.58 percent), Madurese (3.03 percent), Betawi (2.87 percent), Minangkabau (2.73 percent), Buginese (2.71 percent), Bantenese (1.96 percent), Banjarese (1.74 percent), Balinese (1.66 percent), Acehnese (1.44 percent), Dayak (1.36 percent), Sasak (1.34 percent), and Chinese (1.20 percent). The New Classification can be downloaded freely from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.
However, in Chapter 4, they also discuss the ten largest ethnic groups in each province, which may not be the same as those at the national level. Because of the large number of ethnic groups in Land of Papua, Islands of Maluku, and Province of Central Sulawesi, the authors examine the fifteen largest ethnic groups in Province of Central Sulawesi, and Provinces of Maluku and North Maluku; and the 25 largest ethnic groups in the Provinces of Papua and West Papua. Table 4 also provides an extended list of ethnic groups in Indonesia, covering the ten, 15, or 25 largest groups in each province.

Population Dynamics in Ethnic Composition for Indonesia is discussed in Chapter 6. In chapter 7 the authors examine the religion and language of the fifteen largest ethnic groups. The 2010 population census is the first census collecting data on language and ethnicity at the same time.

This book is a result of a collaboration between Badan Pusat Statistik and Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Dr. Riwanto Tirtosudahmo, Senior Researcher from Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) said that “Indonesia’s famous ethnic heterogeneity is no longer a social and cultural imagination, but has been statistically proven in this carefully and brilliantly crafted book”

Prof Leo Suryadinata, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore, wrote “This is the first detailed study of Indonesia’s demography and ethnicity based on the most-recent statistical information: the 2010 population census. This book is a follow-up to the major ISEAS publication entitled Indonesia’s Population: Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape (2003), but it is more up-to-date, much larger and more complex than the 2003 publication, as it covers more aspects and more ethnic groups. This is an essential reference book for those who want to study contemporary Indonesia.”

Prof Charles Hirschman, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, described “The post-New Order (since 1998) era has opened up Indonesian society to politics, new visions, and even to a greater understanding of the national motto “Unity through Diversity” with the collection of data on ethnic identities in the 2000 and 2010 censuses. Demography of Indonesia’s Ethnicity is the pioneering study of the complexity of measuring and interpreting ethnic identities from demographic data. The authors reduce the 1,331 raw ethnic categories to a more meaningful classification based on ethnographic research and geographical variation. Then they analyse change in ethnicity from 2000 to 2010 and the relationship between ethnicity and religion and language. This excellent book will be the foundation of all future research on ethnicity in Indonesia.”

Prof. David Henly, Leiden University, the Netherland, noted “Since the end of the Suharto era, democracy and freedom of speech have given ethnicity a new and direct political significant in Indonesia. At the same time, the censuses of 2000 and 2010 have made the country’s ethnic division statistically visible for the first time since the colonial period. Aris Ananta and his colleagues have done Indonesians, Indonesia-watchers, and the historians of the future an important service by summarizing and analysing, lucidly and with attention to detail, the new ethnic census data and the patterns and trends it reveals. This book will be useful to all those interested in the great and unique multicultural project that is Indonesia.”

For content of the book, readers are referred to website of the Publication Unit of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Readers can also get some free materials, including the New Classification of ethnic groups. Please visit here.

I hope you enjoy reading the book.

Best regards,



Filed under: Demography, English, statistics, , , ,

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