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An estimate from 1993 gives the population to 188 million people. There was 94 persons/km2, but with a great diversion, since the figure for Java, Madura and Bali was 500, and for Irian Jaya only 4! Almost 2/3 of the population occupy 1/13 of the total land area. The nativity rate was 3,2% in 1991 and the mortality rate was 1,2% the same year. The growth rate therefore adds up to 2%.

Dua Anak Cukup
The growth rate has lessened the last years, much because the government campaign Dua Anak Cukup, Two Children Enough. Another factor is the growing amount of women that continues there studies on a secondary level and therefore delay the time for having babies. All factors works much better in the cities than in the wast country-side, and the urbanization rate has risen to; in 1971 there was 17% living in the cities, and the figure for 1990 was 31%. That is a fact that have some negative sides, like high unemployment rate and a growing urban slum area.

The official language in Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia; Bahasa meaning language. Bahasa Indonesia has close relations to the language spoken in Malaysia, and both belongs to the Austronesian language group. But Bahasa Indonesia is for most people the second language. On every island people speak their own specific language or dialect, though almost everybody has a good understanding of the Indonesian language. About 250 languages is spoken in Indonesia, though some sources estimates 669 different languages and dialects.
      Bahasa Indonesia is a relatively new language and gained in popularity during the first nationalistic aspirations back in the 1920th. It is well suited to fit in a country that must find tools to unify a diversified and complex society. Bahasa Indonesia also lack the many ways to show deference to the addressed party which all other languages and dialects has in abundance, and the official Indonesian language is therefore said to be a main force behind the democratization of the Indonesian society.

A pretty girl - an example of the Indonesian ethnic diversityAll the different languages has of course their accompanying ethnic groups. The biggest is the Javanese that make up 45% of the total population. The Sundanese on west Java has 14%, Madurese 7,5%, and the other 33,5% that live outside Java. There are also 4-5 million Chinese spread out on most of the island. The Chinese has had a hard time since the days of the Dutch arrival up until today. Still, they have prospered economically for many reasons, and anti-Chinese sentiments has always been present to a higher or lesser extent. The sentiments is manifested in many ways; violence, discrimination, etc. It is of course the poorer Chinese that take the heat - some of the richer Chinese are extremely rich and they have found ways to deal with the situation, mainly through the Cukong system.
      Other ethnic groups include the Balinese with their special cultural attributes and religious views. The legend has it that it was a declining Hindu royal house on Java that fled to Bali, taking their religion with them. Their lifestyle has therefore much more in common with ancient Java than the modern Java itself.
      The inhabitants on Irian Jaya share more features with the so called Aboriginal people in Australia than they do with the rest of the Indonesians. Some of the people there lived just up until recently on a stone-age level, but that seems to be more and more a thing of the past. With good communications, a strong bureaucracy and television, they will soon be like the rest of us...

The literate level continue to grow and in 1991 77% of the population could read and write. The six years of elementary school is still what most people get in education, but secondary level and university studies increases slowly from a low level. Most schools, 85%, is run by the government, but there are private schools for the rich, as well as Islamic schools were the children learn Arabic and read from the Koran. The Islamic schools is the responsibility of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. In the government run schools there is a strong emphasis on the state ideology, Panca Sila, or Five Principles: Belief in one God, Internationalism, National Unity, Democrazy, and Social Justice.

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