macrohistory & world report

Republic of Indonesia

Map of Indonesia

Indonesia (capital Jakarta) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Indonesia, a vast polyglot nation, has grown strongly since 2010. During the global financial crisis, Indonesia outperformed its regional neighbors and joined China and India as the only G20 members posting growth. The government has promoted fiscally conservative policies, resulting in a debt-to-GDP ratio of less than 25% and historically low rates of inflation. Fitch and Moody's upgraded Indonesia's credit rating to investment grade in December 2011. Indonesia still struggles with poverty and unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, a complex regulatory environment, and unequal resource distribution among regions. The government also faces the challenges of quelling labor unrest and reducing fuel subsidies in the face of high oil prices."

Economic growth rate
2013: 5.3%
2012: 6.2%
2011: 6.5%
2010: 6.1%
2009: 4.6%

Labor force in agriculture
2010: 38%

Unemployment rate
2011: 6.7%
2009: 7.9%

Public debt
2011: 24.5% of GDP

Export commodities
Oil and gas, electrical appliances, plywood, textiles, rubber

Export partners
2010: Japan 16.3%, China 10%, US 9.1%, Singapore 8.7%, South Korea 8%, India 6.3%, Malaysia 5.9%

Export/Import ratio
2011: exports $208.9 billion, imports $172.1 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 82nd among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 5.5% of GDP

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP2005: 3%


Living in an urban area:
2010: 44%

Density for 2005: 132 persons per square kilometer.

Net migration rate
2012: Net loss of 1.08 persons per 1,000 population per year

Ethnic groups
2000 census: Javanese 40.6%, Sundanese 15%, Madurese 3.3%, Minangkabau 2.7%, Betawi 2.4%, Bugis 2.4%, Banten 2%, Banjar 1.7%, other or unspecified 29.9%

2000 census: Muslim 86.1%, Protestant 5.7%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 1.8%, other or unspecified 3.4%

Hinduism is prominent on the island of Bali. Buddhism was prevalent before the arrival of Islam. It became adhered to mostly by Indonesia's Chinese. When General Suharto acquired power in 1965 everybody was required to have a religion, or they would be considered Communist, and Communists were being exterminated. So many Chinese made a show of adopting Christianity.


Six thousand inhabited islands strung along the equator in Southeast Asia, extending across land and water 5,120 kilometers east to west and 1,760 kilometers north to south. Hot and humid. Capital: Jakarta.


Republic, constitutional democracy, president and vice president elected for five-year terms. Bicameral leglislature: an upper house and a House of Representatives.

Recent History

August 17, 1945: independence declared.

December 27, 1949: independence recognized by the former rulers, the Netherlands.

Apr 2008: Chinese are feeling better about being citizens of Indonesia at the same time that they are identifying themselves more closely with mainland China and embracing Chinese culture. Chinese are starring on television, and there are Chinese in politics. It has been ten years since the last anti-Chinese riots, but fear among them has not completely dissipated.

July 19, 2011: Ray Suarez on the News Hour describes resentment between common people and those "born with silver spoons in their mouths." Suarez: "Protests against corruption are almost a daily occurrence in Jakarta. Everyone we spoke to said it's the cost of running for office that's the root of it all. Winners have to pay off the people who paid to get them elected."

August 25, 2011: A lesbian couple were married by an Islamic cleric by one of them masquerading as a man. They live in the only province that is allowed to implement Sharia law: Aceh (the northwest tip of Sumatra). The couple has been forced to have their marriage annulled and to sign an agreement to separate. A local police chief told them that Islam holds that they must be beheaded and burned for what they had done. In 2009 the provincial parliament passed Islamic laws authorizing the stoning to death of adulterers and the caning of homosexuals, but the governor has refused to sign it.

November 6, 2011: A ten-month-old girl has died in a hospital because, her parents say, they were unable to pay for treatment in advance. Indonesia's health ministry is now urging all hospitals to treat poor patients in an emergency, even if they cannot afford the treatment.

The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.