Indonesia's Population: Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape

Indonesia's Population: Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape

Indonesia's Population: Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape

Indonesia's Population: Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape

Excerpt

This book is an outgrowth of a seminar on “Ethnic and Religious Composition of Indonesia in the 21st Century: Findings frorn the Recently Published 2000 Population Census Data” by the authors, conducted on 27 September 2002 at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. The great interest expressed by the seminar participants inspired the authors to do further work on the material and present the results in this current format.

The last comprehensive population census that included data on ethnic background was in 1930 during the colonial period. From the time of Indonesia’s independence in 1945 up to 1999, the Indonesian Government conducted four population censuses, namely in 1961, 1971, 1980 and 1990. However, these censuses never included any direct information on ethnicity. Demographers had been attempting to find statistical data on ethnicity, but they could only use some indirect ways to measure ethnic groups, such as deducing ethnicity through the religion and language spoken.

Therefore, before the several volumes in the set of publications on the results of the 2000 Indonesian populatiori census were released to the public in mid-2002, all quantitative discussions on ethnicity in Indonesia had to depend on the information from the 1930 census, as if the Indonesian population had not changed much during the intervening 70 years. If changes were believed to have occurred, the quantitative information was derived as an extrapolation from the 1930 data with some expert judgment.

What were the reasons for not including ethnic information in the censuses? During the New Order under President Soeharto when Indonesia was at the stage of nation building, the concept of SARA

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