Demographics of Indonesia - Regional Outlook & Trends in 2023

Last Updated: August 1, 2023


Population growth outlook of Indonesia

As the most populous country among the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia ranks fourth in the world, after China, India and the United States. According to statistics, the country’s population will reach 270 million in 2021, accounting for about 40% of the total population of ASEAN. After years of demographic changes, Indonesia’s population is relatively young. About half of the total population is under the age of 30, and about 70% of the working-age population, equivalent to more than 140 million people. According to OECD research in 2017 , Indonesia will become the least affected country among ASEAN countries by aging.

Indonesia’s fertility rate has gradually stabilized over the past few decades. The demographic structure at this time is in a very favorable period of demographic transition. The national dependency ratio of the elderly population is only 10%, which is the same as that of India, which also has a young population, but Indonesia’s per capita GDP is nearly twice that of India.

Since 1971, the fertility rate has fallen from 5.4 children per woman to 2.2 in 2020. The share of the population under the age of 15 has fallen sharply (from 44% to 23%), which means that the family planning policy promoted by the government has achieved achieved certain results. In Family Plan 2030 (FP2030), the Indonesian government committed to continue promoting universal access to contraceptive services, securing funding for family planning and reproductive health programs, and increasing private sector contributions to family planning and reproductive health programmes.

According to the estimates of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development, Indonesia’s population will continue to grow at an average annual rate of 0.6% in the next few decades. The workforce is projected to increase from 140.2 million in 2021 to 146.9 million by the end of 2026. As the working-age population continues to grow and become more educated, Indonesia will benefit from a demographic dividend in the short to medium term. This will have a positive impact on living standards across the country as it will push up per capita income and economic growth faster. However, in the short term, such changes may also put pressure on Indonesia’s labor market and social security system.

Declining birth rates and increasing elderly populations will pose challenges to social policy and healthcare infrastructure. Urbanization will also continue to expand, and this expansion will increase the pressure on urban infrastructure, which remains insufficient to meet the needs of the population.

In addition, population distribution and growth rates vary significantly across provinces. The population of the Kalimantan region grew the fastest between 2001-2020 and continues to grow rapidly. The relocation of the national capital to the East Kalimantan province will encourage more immigration into the region. Construction of the new capital will include offices and residences for 1.5 million civil servants, with the first arrivals due in August 2024. And the region where Jakarta is located – the population of Java is still growing, but the growth rate is slower than that of the whole country, and the proportion is declining. 56.1% of the population lived in the region in 2020, compared to 57.4% in 2010.

Table of Contents
Indonesia - Shares of Population by Age Group
Indonesia - Factors Behind Growth (Per Thousand People)


Population Structure & Trends in Indonesia


Ethnicity & Culture in Indonesia

Indonesia has a rich culture and diverse ethnic groups. More than 90% of the population is of local Indonesian descent. These populations have their own unique customs and cultural characteristics according to their place of residence. Among them, the largest Indonesian ethnic group is Javanese, accounting for 40% of the national population.

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, but as a secular country, it recognizes six major religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. In Bali, Hinduism is the dominant religion; in other areas, Christianity may outnumber Muslims. Additionally, there are hundreds of traditional belief systems in Indonesia, and many communities still cling to their ancestral religions and beliefs.

In Indonesia, family ties are very close. Regardless of age and level of independence, Indonesians maintain strong bonds with family members. Many Indonesian families even include extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and nieces, etc. These family members often live together or in adjacent communities in order to take care of each other, and it is very difficult to live with parents even after marriage. universal .

In Indonesian society, collectivism is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. Since ancient times, Indonesians have maintained collectivism. Whether it’s farmers working the land together or rural communities caring for each other, Indonesian cultural values ​​emphasize collectivism.


Javanese 40.1%, Sundanese 15.5%, Malay 3.7%, Batak 3.6%, Madurese 3%, Betawi 2.9%, Minangkabau 2.7%, Buginese 2.7%, Bantenese 2%, Banjarese 1.7%, Balinese 1.7%, Acehnese 1.4%, Dayak 1.4%, Sasak 1.3%, Chinese 1.2%, other 15% (2010 est. by CIA)


Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects (of which the most widely spoken is Javanese)


Muslim 87.2%, Protestant 7%, Roman Catholic 2.9%, Hindu 1.7%, other 0.9% (includes Buddhist and Confucian), unspecified 0.4% (2010 est. by CIA)

Indonesia - Education Overview
Indonesia - Tertiary Education %


Labor Outlook in Indonesia

The labor market in Indonesia, a key country in Southeast Asia, has undergone significant changes over the past few decades. From 1990 to 2022, Indonesia’s labor force participation rate has remained at an average of 65%, and reached a record high of 69% in 2019. Although affected by the epidemic, the labor force participation rate will drop to 66% in 2021, but it is still higher than the global average (59%).

In the post-Suharto era, sustained economic growth led to a substantial expansion of Indonesia’s middle class, which in turn drove demand for more and higher-quality consumer goods and services, such as processed food and beverages, tourism, health and education. Women tend to be more employed than men in these industries. Economic opportunities for women have gradually improved as middle-class Indonesian families have placed more emphasis on girls’ education.

These changes are reflected in the increasing number of working-age women in high-end service industries, such as senior officials, managers and professionals. According to the Indonesian National Labor Force Survey (SAKERNAS) , the percentage of women in these positions increased from 4% to 7% from 2001 to 2021, while the percentage of men remained the same.

However, Indonesia has performed poorly in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). The global trend of shifting supply chains to China and the rise of Vietnam as a foreign direct investment destination has had a negative impact on Indonesia. Between 2010 and 2015, many labor-intensive industries such as clothing, footwear and furniture companies relocated from Indonesia to Vietnam to take advantage of more competitive wages and flexible labor regulations.

In addition, Indonesia’s productivity ranks the lowest among ASEAN countries. A low-quality workforce, unable to cope with changes in the labor market, is a major reason for Indonesia’s lagging productivity and lack of competitiveness. In the 2022 IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking survey , Indonesia ranked 51st out of 64 countries in the world.

In addition, according to the research conducted by the University of Indonesia and the International Labor Organization (ILO) on the industry’s absorption of vocational training center (BLK) graduates, only 59% of the graduates obtained corresponding employment after graduation. Compared with other countries with the same income level, the quality of Indonesia’s current human resources is still lagging behind. In 2022, Indonesia’s human capital index ranks 96th out of 174 countries, lagging behind several Southeast Asian countries.

In order to improve domestic competitiveness and create more job opportunities, the Indonesian government passed the Omnibus Law in November 2020 . The bill includes four major adjustments to existing laws: 1. Job Creation Law (RUU Cipta Kerja), 2. Tax Law (Soal Perpajakan), 3. New Capital Law (Ibu Kota Baru) and 4. Medicine Law (Kefarmasian). The Job Creation Law (RUU Cipta Kerja) was introduced to ease restrictions related to labor and market mechanisms and provide a unified framework to make the cumbersome laws understandable, thereby facilitating foreign businesses and employers. Although the Omnibus Bill was ruled unconstitutional by the courts shortly after its introduction, the government reformed and re-introduced labor regulations in March 2023 in an effort to improve labor market conditions in Indonesia.

Indonesia - Labor Participation Rate
Indonesia - Labor Participation by Group
Indonesia - Participation rate by sectors


Regional Developments in Indonesia

The Indonesian population is mainly distributed in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Among them, about 60% of Indonesia’s population is concentrated on Java Island, which is the most densely populated area.

As the political, economic and cultural center of Indonesia, Java Island has received more development resources. Jakarta is located on the island and is the economic center of Indonesia. Its population accounts for 4% of the country’s total population, but it accounts for 16% of the country’s GDP. The infrastructure on Java Island is relatively complete, and transportation, medical care, education and other aspects are relatively developed.

In addition, Java Island has built a large number of industrial parks, attracting domestic and foreign investment, and promoting employment and economic development. It is worth noting that in recent years, the population growth rate of all districts in Java Island has been lower than the national average, except for West Java, which is next to Jakarta, which still maintains a growth rate similar to the national rate. The growth rates of Central Java and East Java from 2000 to 2020 are less than half of the national growth rate (30.7%), respectively 11.2% and 14.8%.

In recent years, however, Jakarta has been plagued by traffic jams, serious pollution, earthquake-prone and rapid sinking into the Java Sea. Now the government is leaving, moving Indonesia’s capital to East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. The new metropolis will be a sustainable forest city that puts the environment at the heart of its development and aims to be carbon neutral by 2045, officials said.

Population by Major States/Regions | Unit: '000
GDP Per Capita by Major States/Regions | Unit:‘000 Rupiah (Nominal)


  • Population project by age group: UN population database | Data after 2022 is estimated/forecasted | Forecasted with medium variant
  • Currency: nominal USD, unless otherwise specified. | IMF
  • Economic projection: OECD, IMF, EIU, Local Government
  • Culture, ethnicities, languages: CIA Factbook
  •  Education: World Bank
  • Labor ParticipationL ILO,
  • Data Aggregation & Calculation:
  • Analysis: Economic Team
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