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Indonesia Overview

Monas - marking the center of Indonesia

  • 2014 Election Guide
  • The Archipelago
  • A Brief History
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • Indonesian Cultures
  • Religion & Mysticism
  • Indonesia's Economy
  • The Military
  • Governmental Structure
  • The Indonesian Bureaucracy
  • Indonesian Law
  • Indonesian Media
  • Sex & Gender Issues
  • Acronyms & Abbreviations
  • Books & Readings

  • Indonesia at a Glance

    The Republic of Indonesia is the world's fourth-most populous country, and has the largest Muslim population of any nation in the world, nominally accounting for almost 87 percent of the population.

    Indonesia's main source of wealth is as supplier of gas, oil and other natural resources to Japan, the U.S., Singapore and the rest of Asia.

    Population: 246,864,191 (2012 est.).

    Capital City: Jakarta

    Key Cities: Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Medan, Yogyakarta

    Median age:
         Total: 27.2 years
         Male: 26.7 years
         Female: 27.7 years (2008 est.)

    Sex ratio:
         At birth: 1.05 males/female
         Under 15 years: 1.04 males/female
         15-64 years: 1.01 males/female
         65 years and over: 0.8 males/female

    Ethnic groups: 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)

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

    Languages: Bahasa Indonesia (official language, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects (the most widely spoken of which is Javanese). The Javanese, who live mainly in central and eastern Java, are the largest ethnic group. Sawah (Rice Fields)On the western end of Java are the Sundanese, who are the second largest group. Other significant ethnic groups include the Madurese, off the northeast coast of Java, and the ethnic Malay, who are dispersed throughout several areas.

    Several million Indonesians of Chinese descent are concentrated in urban areas and play an important role in the country's economic life. They make up the largest group of the non-indigenous population.

    Although 300 languages and dialects are spoken, Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the official and most widely spoken. English is growing in use as a language of business.

    Contributor: M. Hayden