Census Agency Estimates Population at 237 Million

By webadmin on 11:48 pm Jul 01, 2010
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Indonesia’s population is around the 237 million mark, with the ratio of men to women slightly skewed in favor of the former, the Central Statistics Agency announced on Thursday at the end of its ambitious census.

“There are still some data trickling in, but I figure it won’t go beyond 238 million,” said Rusman Heriawan, chairman of the agency known as the BPS.

The census, conducted every 10 years, officially ended on Wednesday, but the agency still has to process the data. It claims to have accounted for “100 percent” of Indonesian and foreign nationals living within the country’s borders.

“We’re trying to speed up the number-crunching so that we can submit the final report to the president in time for him to present it to the House of Representatives,” Rusman said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to announce the official results in his Independence Day speech on Aug. 17.

Rusman said the monthlong census had been the most ambitious yet, employing 600,000 people canvassing the 65 million households countrywide and asking a wider range of questions than last time, including about members of extended families and home-ownership status.

The census is also aimed at evaluating the country’s progress toward achieving the United Nations-mandated Millennium Development Goals.

However, the procedure was plagued by multiple reports of residents refusing to meet with census takers, particularly among apartment dwellers in major urban areas such as Jakarta, Rusman said.

To overcome this, census takers had to extrapolate their data from information provided by building managers.

The final data revealed a marginally higher number of men than women.

“The difference is quite slim, but it’s tangible,” Rusman said, adding that gender distribution varied by province.

East Kalimantan has more males than females, Rusman said, while the reverse was found in West Sumatra. He attributed the latter to the high rate of transmigration by men in search of work elsewhere in the country.

This year’s population census is the sixth held by Indonesia since independence. Previous censuses were conducted in 1961, 1971, 1980, 1990 and 2000.

According to the results of the 2000 census, the country’s population was 205.1 million, making Indonesia the fourth-most-populous country after China, India and the United States.

Java, with an estimated 124 million people, is the most populous island in the country and also the world.

Much of Indonesia’s population is concentrated in the two main western islands of Java and Sumatra, while resource-rich islands further east such as Papua, Maluku and Sulawesi are more sparsely populated and, by extension, less developed.

The transmigration program, under the late president Suharto, was conceived to even out population density.