Indonesia Prepares For Demographic Changes

SINGAPORE – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said the country must begin preparing for challenges posed by the nation’s rapidly increasing population.  Indonesia’s population is poised to break the 300 million mark by 2035, which would make it the fifth most populous country in the world after India, China, the United States and Nigeria based upon current predictions.

“With 305 million citizens, what must the country do for each person? What should the people do for their country?” the President asked, as he launched the Indonesian Population Projection 2010-2035 on Wednesday in Jakarta.  The data underpinning the Projection was prepared jointly by the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN), the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the Health Ministry and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Indonesia is currently in the midst of a demographic shift, with falling fertility rates and a large proportion of its population reaching a working age.  The country is enjoying a “demographic bonus” or “demographic dividend”, which means that the proportion of its productive working age group is high and the proportion of its dependents (children and elderly) is low.  China has just come to the end of its demographic bonus cycle, and India is about to take over as the nation with the largest demographic bonus in the world.  India’s population will then start to age, to be followed in the bonus cycle by Indonesia.  According to the data, Indonesia’s productive age bonus will jump from 66.5 percent in 2010 to 68.1 per cent by the 2028-2031 period.

In light of this demographic shift, National Development Planning Minister Armida Alisjahbana emphasized that Indonesia would need to invest in its human resources and human capital.

“Education should be number one, followed by health and the workforce,” Armida said.

In the longer term, after enjoying its demographic bonus, Indonesia’s population will age and the ratio of dependents will rise again.  The Projection estimated that Indonesia’s elderly -– those over the age of 60 — would increase from 18.04 million in 2010 to 48.1 million in 2035.  The elderly would constitute around 15.8 percent of Indonesia’s total population by 2035, compared to merely 7.6 percent of its population as at 2010. Indonesia’s population will begin to age in 2020, when the number of elderly citizens will increase by 10 percent, according to Armida.

Indonesia is currently drafting regulations to implement the “2011-2035 Population Development Grand Design”.  The regulations will consist of guidelines to control the population’s quantity and quality, and structure the population’s distribution and mobility.  It will also include measures aimed at family development.

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