The standard of living and general health of
the Indonesians has improved significantly since the
1960s. The economic crisis of 1997–1998 marked a setback
as the proportion of poor people in the population
increased from one tenth in 1996 to almost one third
three years later. Today, 10 in Indonesia are again
living below the official poverty line.
The poor are mainly found in the countryside and in
the eastern parts of the country. Many poor families
have been hit hard when the government sharply reduced
subsidies on fuel during the 2000s and 2010s, while the
price of rice has risen.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Indonesia, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Health care has been improved by new health centers
being built in the countryside. Between the mid-1960s
and the mid-1990s, the number of health centers
increased from 1,200 to over 7,000. Access to clean
water improved and vaccination programs were
implemented. Since 1967, life expectancy has risen by
more than 20 years.
Remaining health problems are high maternal and
infant mortality and malnutrition among children.
Diseases such as malaria, gonorrhea and tuberculosis are
General government social insurance has been
gradually introduced during the 2000s and 2010s. The
insurance must cover, among other things, free health
care, life and accident insurance, pensions and
compensation for illness and unemployment. But so far,
not all Indonesians are covered by the general insurance
systems, which are underfunded. Residents who can afford
to take out private insurance.
A plethora of ethnic groups, languages, religions and
cultures are within Indonesia's borders. This makes
society look different in different parts of the
country. Life around the tradition-heavy Sultanates in
Yogyakarta and Solo in central Java is essentially
different from that of hunter and gatherer people in
Papua, in the modern mega-city of Jakarta or in the
Orthodox Muslim Aceh.
At the same time, there are a number of similarities
between the people who together make up the nation of
Indonesia. Most people nowadays can understand each
other across the language boundaries through the Bahasa
Indonesia national language. Indonesian children are
taught in school to accept the cultural diversity, while
the school wants to give them a national, Indonesian
identity. One motto is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika
(Unity in diversity).
The children learn to love their own and others'
behavior (about traditions and customs). It can,
for example, control who is allowed to own or use the
land, how religion should be practiced, how marriage is
arranged or how a funeral is conducted. Adat
defines which Indonesian group a person belongs to.
Indonesians emphasize their socio-cultural background
to varying degrees depending on the situation.
Secularized, highly educated Indonesians can, for
example, participate in a local ritual in honor of the
god of rice. Most Indonesians still have a strong
connection to rural life, where the tropical agriculture
cycle characterizes life. Many have grown up in the
country themselves or their parents have done so.
Traditionally, researchers have talked about three
basic Indonesian cultures: the rice cultivator culture
(mainly Java, Bali and southern Sumatra), the coastal
cities' Muslim merchant culture (Sumatra, Kalimantan and
Sulawesi) and the sweden farming culture inland
throughout the island world. Nowadays, the urban
middle-class lifestyle should be added to the three. In
it, people are more identified as Indonesians than as
members of any particular ethnic group.
Indonesia is a socially stratified society, although
the different classes can be diffuse. The old upper
class in the many small sultanates that once dominated
the island world has today been replaced by an upper
class consisting of generals (often Javanese) and
wealthy businessmen (often Chinese). The peasants are a
kind of underclass, although many peasants who own their
land today should soon be regarded as middle class. The
growing group of well-educated urban residents
constitutes a given middle class. There is also a
working class in the cities. However, the large subclass
consists of the low-skilled in the service sector and
the informal sector.
But social status is a complex thing. For example,
pribumi (roughly indigenous Indonesians who are
usually peasants) are highly esteemed even though they
are often poor. Similarly, within the Chinese minority
there are some well-off, influential and highly educated
people who still have a low social status.
Family life and woman's situation
In Indonesia, everything from big-family culture in
the long houses along the rivers of Borneo to the
nuclear family or single life in the big cities can be
accommodated. But no matter how you live your life,
cooperation and loyalty between relatives is still
Traditionally, Indonesian families have had many
children, but during the 1980s and 1990s, child
restraint campaigns were conducted, including under the
slogan dua anak cukup (two children are
enough). Today the children are smaller than before.
The woman's position varies between different groups.
In the minangkabau people of western Sumatra, the land
is owned by women and only the daughters can inherit.
The men live all their lives with their mother and make
occasional visits to their wife in her house.
In general, however, it is the man who is the head of
the family. But women often have a great influence on
the children and the household. Indonesian women are
generally more equal than women in most other Muslim
countries. For example, they have the right to own land,
initiate divorce and have the same inheritance rights as
men. Indonesian women are, on average, better educated
than before and they get married later in life. They
have full voting rights and the same civil liberties and
rights as men. They can hold any political office. There
is no compulsion to wear a veil or live in privacy.
Women greet by taking care, just as men do.
More and more women are working outside the home. At
least 40 percent of the workforce is women. But in
Parliament, the government and the senior officials'
corps they are clearly under-represented, even though
Indonesia has had a female president (Megawati
However, it remains far to full equality. Arranged
marriages are still common, especially in rural areas.
Polygamy occurs, although it is unusual. A man can have
up to four wives if he can support them all and if the
wife / wives accept new co-wives.
In regions where a stricter variant of Islam is
practiced, mainly Aceh and western Java, the woman is
subject to much greater restrictions on clothing
choices, lifestyle and freedom of movement. For example,
in the regions where Sharia (Muslim law) is applied in
civil law, a greater burden of proof is imposed on the
woman than the man in divorce. In their places, there
are morality police who harass women who are lonely
after dark or who dress "inappropriately".
Women are discriminated against in the labor market.
Women have lower wages than men and unemployment is
higher among women. It happens that women lose their
jobs during pregnancy or during the statutory
three-month maternity leave. Some women must enter into
an agreement with the employer not to become pregnant.
And despite the fact that women are equal to the men
in the law, a woman must have the spouse's or father's
permission to obtain a passport, work at night, perform
an abortion or sterilize herself. It can also be more
difficult for a woman to get a loan or credit.
In 1998, a Commission Against Violence Against Women
was established. This has led to more reports but still
only a small part of the crimes are reported. Rape in
marriage is not punishable. There are close to 200,000
prostitutes, of whom three are children (under 18).
Prostitution is prohibited by law but is accepted in
practice. At least 100,000 people (mainly women and
children) fall victim to human trafficking every year,
despite the fact that there is a national action plan
against the problem. Public servants and maids in
private households often work under slave-like
Indonesia has ratified the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child, which provides that a person is a
child up to the age of 18. Despite this, the marriage
age for women is set at 16 (for men up to 19). At the
age of 13, an Indonesian is allowed to take up
employment. Child labor occurs, not least in private
households. Other child workers work black with, for
example, shoe polish or newspaper sales on the streets.
There are also children working in industry, mining and
plantation agriculture. A total of three million
children are estimated to work. There are also many
An Indonesian is a criminal offender at the age of
16. From the age of eight, a child can be sentenced for
a crime by a juvenile court.
In the event of divorce, the child has no statutory
right to meet both parents.
Genital mutilation of girls occurs in certain areas.
Child soldiers are said to have been used by, among
other things, the guerrilla movement GAM in Aceh.
The rights of LGBT people
Being gay is not illegal and the tolerance of
homosexuals is generally relatively high. But more
recently, fundamentalist Islamist groups have
increasingly openly attacked homosexuals who they
perceive as "non-Muslim." It can also be difficult to
live as openly gay because of the social pressure of
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FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
21 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.4 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.2 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
89.5 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
73.1 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
3.3 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 112 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
20 percent (2018)
Mutiny causes the president's popularity to decline
Shortly after the re-election in July, President Yudhoyono's popularity
begins to decline. The triggering factor is an alleged attempt to discredit the
State Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK), which Yudhoyono himself initiated to set
up. Two KPK officials are charged with bribery, but are released by court. A
scandal arises when KPK can play tape recordings proving how police officers and
officials at the Justice Department conspire to sabotage KPK, which has dropped
a number of high-ranking government officials for corruption crimes. One of the
officials at the Justice Department is sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.
Yudhoyono is criticized for not intervening in the scandal and the president's
reputation as anti-corruption fighters.
New coalition government takes office
President Yudhoyono's new government takes office. It is again a broad
coalition government, now consisting of his own party DP, the secular Golkar and
the four Muslim parties PAN, PKS, PKB and PPP. Ten of the old ministers are
allowed to remain. PDI-P thus becomes the largest opposition party.
Known terrorist is shot dead by police
The wanted terrorist leader and militant Islamist Noordin Mohammad Top is
shot dead by police. Top is suspected of having been behind several major
terrorist attacks with fatalities around Indonesia in recent years.
Suicide bombings against two luxury hotels in Jakarta
Nine people are killed and many injured when two suicide bombers strike at
the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.
Yudhoyono wins the presidential election by a wide margin
Yudhoyono wins the presidential election with over 60 percent of the vote.
The closest competitor, Megawati Sukarnoputri from PDI-P, gets 27 percent while
Josef Kalla from Golkar receives 12 percent of the vote. The turnout is
relatively high, 82.5 percent.
Relatives of Yudhoyono are suspected of embezzlement
President Yudhoyono suffers a setback when his son-in-law is arrested on
suspicion of embezzlement.
Josef Kalla and Megawati are running for president
By joining together in a ten-party alliance, Golkar and PDI-P can launch
their presidential candidates: Josef Kalla and Megawati Sukarnoputri.
Yudhoyono's party wins the election
Ahead of the parliamentary elections, the number of seats in the legislative
lower house DPR is increased, from 550 to 560. The most important election issue
is the country's economy, which has shown signs of weakness. Yudhoyono's
Democratic Party (DP) will be the largest with 21 percent of the vote (128
seats). This is almost three times as many votes as in the 2004 election. Golkar
will be the second largest party with 14 percent of the vote (108 seats). This
is 128 seats lower than in 2004. PDI-P backs 14 percent (93 seats), compared
with 109 seats in 2004. Another six parties are allowed in parliament: PKS, PAN,
PPP, Gerindra, PKB and Hanura (for party descriptions see Political system). The
turnout is 71 percent.
MPs are jailed for bribery
One MP is sentenced to eight years in prison for bribery.