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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, , , ,


6 December 2014

Dear Readers,

Indonesia is a very large country, with at least 600 ethnic groups. Utilizing the availability of statistics on ethnicity from 2010 Indonesia Population Census and the “New Classification of Indonesia’s Ethnic Groups”, Evi Nurvidya Arifin, Aris Ananta, and Dwi Retno Wilujeng Wahyu Utami attempt to uncover Indonesia’s ethnic diversity at the national, provincial, and district Levels. This is an ethno-demographic study, analysing ethnicity (in this case ethnic diversity) using statistics.

Uncovering Indonesia’s Ethnic Diversity is the powerpoint presented in an ISEAS public seminar, Singapore, 18 November 2014.

You may quote this powerpoint.

A short description of the seminar can be seen here.

Best regards,

Aris Ananta

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

Uncovering Indonesia’s Ethnic Diversity: Statistics at the National, Provincial, and District Levels

Mletiko, 14 November 2014

Dear Readers,

This is the title of a public seminar to be conducted by ISEAS on 18 November 2014, from 10.00 am – 12.00 noon, in ISEAS. This seminar presents some findings from a collaborative study between ISEAS and BPS- Statistics Indonesia on ethnicity. There will be three speakers in this presentation: Evi Nurvidya Arifin, Aris Ananta, and Dwi Retno Wilujeng Wahyu Utami.

Here is a short discription about the seminar.

The democratization process since 1998 has, among many things, broken a polical taboo on discourse about ethnicity. In the 2000 population census, the BPS – Statistics Indonesia was allowed to collect and publish data on ethnicity, the first time since Indonesia’s independence. The collection and publication of the statistics continued in the 2010 population census. At the same time the decentralization process has made ethnic identity more salient in Indonesia. Furthermore, rising population mobility has increased the likelihood that Indonesians meet with people from different backgrounds, including different ethnic groups.

However, there are only few detailed studies on Indonesia’s ethnic diversity based on demographic studies. This study adds to the literature on Indonesia’s ethnicity, by quantifying ethnic diversity at the national, provincial, and district levels.

Readers can also open Uncovering Indonesia’s Ethnic Diversity

Best regards,

Aris Ananta

Filed under: Demography, English, statistics, ,

Reviews on Indonesia’s Population Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape

Indonesia’s Population: Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape was published in 2003, by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.

Graeme Hugo, PhD.,  Professor of Geography, Director, The National Centre for Social Applications of Geographic Information Systems, The University of Adelaide, said:

  • “This is a most interesting book to all students of Indonesian society. It presents data on religion and ethnicity collected in the 2000 Indonesian census in an accessible way. The 2000 census was the first since the colonial Volkstelling of 1930 to collect information on ethnicity. Although Indonesia is one of the worlds most ethnically heterogeneous nations  both the Orde Lama of President Sukarno and Orde Baru of President Suharto eschewed recognition of ethnic groups in the interest of developing national unity. Hence the data examined in this book have been long awaited by many Indonesianists. ” His full review is here.

Sharon Siddique, a partner in a Singapore-based regional consulting firm, mentioned that  the book is “New Light on Indonesia’s Ethnic Makeup”. She further  said

“…This book lays out a feast of data for the thoughtful. It is particularly timely as businessmen, scholars and journalists grapple with the implications of Indonesia’s decentralization policies on provincial-level politics and development dynamics. Certainly ethnicity and religion are issues that require careful consideration. This book is an invaluable reference.” Her full review is here.

Filed under: English, publications, , , , , , , ,

Which Ethnic Group is Ageing Faster?

Aris Ananta,  Evi Nurvidya Arifin, and Bakhtiar

Indonesia is a multi-ethnic country. Joining many other countries, Indonesia’s population is ageing.  “Ethnicity and Ageing in Indonesia, 2000-2050” examines and projects the dynamics of ageing in the five largest ethnic groups in Indonesia.

Indonesia as a whole has been undergoing its second demographic transition since 2000-2005 and opened the demographic window of opportunity in 2005.  However, the timing of the two events is very different in each ethnic group.

The differences may necessitate different ageing policies. If not managed wisely, they could result in ethnic conflicts, especially if Indonesia follows the slower decline fertility scenario.

The paper projects the timing of the demographic window of opportunity and second demographic transition for each of the five ethnic groups. It utilizes the 2000 population census data set—the first census/survey to collect information on ethnicity since the 1930 census.

Full article is published at Asian Population Studies, Volume 1, Issue 2 July 2005 , pages 227 – 243.

Filed under: ageing, English, , , ,

This site contains the writings of Aris Ananta & Evi Nurvidya Arifin. Click here to find out more about them.

We are researchers in the field of demography, social and economic statistics, and economics, focusing on Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Click here to find out more about OUR PUBLICATION .<br

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