Indonesians (Indonesian: orang Indonesia) are citizens or people originally from Indonesia,[43] regardless of their ethnic or religious background.[44][45] There are more than 1,300 ethnicities in Indonesia,[46] making it a multicultural archipelagic country with a diversity of languages, culture and religious beliefs. The population of Indonesia according to the 2020 national census was 270.2 million.[47] 56% live on the island of Java,[48] the world's most populous island.[49] Around 95% of Indonesians are Native Indonesians (formerly grouped as "Pribumi"), with 40% Javanese and 15% Sundanese forming the majority, while the other 5% are Indonesians with ancestry from foreign origin, such as Arab Indonesians, Chinese Indonesians, Indian Indonesians, and Indos.

Orang Indonesia
Total population
c.275 million[1]
2022 estimate
c.270 million[2]
Indonesia 2020 census
c.237 million[3]
Indonesia 2010 census
Regions with significant populations
[note 1]
  • est 1,700,000 (2021)[11][12]
    (Indonesian ancestry)
  • 352,298 (2021)[13][14]
    (Indonesian citizens)
 Saudi Arabia
 South Africaest 300,000 (assimilate into the local Cape Malays)[22][23]
 Taiwanest 300,000 (2020)[24]
 Hong Kong200,000[25]
 United Statesest 142,000 (2020)[26][27][28]
 United Arab Emirates111,987 (2019)[14]
  • c. 86,000-110,000[29][30]
  • est 63,160 (by country of birth)
  • est 48,836 (by ancestry)[31]
  • 102,000 (2019)[32]
    (including Javanese diaspora)
  • 673 (2021)[33]
    (only Indonesian citizens)
 Bruneiest 80,000 (2018)[34]
(excluding Indonesian ancestry)
 Japan66,084 (2020)[35]
 Jordan46,586 (2019)[14]
 South Koreaest 42,000 (2019)[38]
 Sri Lanka40,148 (2014) (assimilate into the local Sri Lankan Malays)
 Chinaest 38,000 (2020)[39]
(only Indonesian legal workers)
 Qatar37,669 (2019)[14]
 Kuwait28,954 (2020)[14]
 Germanyest 24,000 (2021)[41]
 Canada21,390 (2016)[42]
 Syria12,904 (2019)[14]
 United Kingdom11,000[40]
 Sweden3,000-5,000 (See: Overseas Acehnese)[40]
Indonesian  Malayic languages  Javanese  Sundanese  Madurese  Minangkabau  Buginese  Bantenese  Banjarese  Balinese  Acehnese and other languages
Islam 86.7%
Christianity 10.72 % (Protestantism 7.6% and Roman Catholicism 3.12%) · Hinduism 1.74% · Buddhism 0.8% · Confucianism 0.03% · Animism · Shamanism · Aliran Kepercayaan · Irreligious 0.04%


As of 2020, Indonesians make up 3.4% of world total population and Indonesia is the fourth most populous country after China, India and the United States.

Despite a fairly effective family planning program that has been in place since the 1967,[50] for the decade ending in 2020, Indonesia's population growth was 1.1 percent. At that rate, Indonesia's population is projected to surpass the present population of the United States and would - if the current US population did not rise – become the world's third biggest after China and India by 2043.[51] The family planning already revitalised based on the 1967 program to avoid Indonesia becoming the world's third most populous country.

With a population of 151.6 million, Java is home to 56 per cent of the Indonesian population, and is the most populous island on Earth.[52] The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is located on western Java. Much of Indonesian history took place on Java. It was the centre of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was also the centre of the Indonesian struggle for independence during the 1930s and 1940s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally.

The other major islands of Indonesia are Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and New Guinea, which are home to the other 49 percent of Indonesian population. There are also other small populated island(s) such as Bali, Bangka, Madura, Nias, Maluku, Lesser Sunda Islands, Riau Islands and others.

Ethnic groups

Minangkabau wedding

There are over 1,300 ethnic groups[53] in Indonesia. This number makes Indonesia one of the most diverse countries in the world. 95% of those are of Native Indonesian ancestry.[54]

The largest ethnic group in Indonesia is the Javanese who make up nearly 40% of the total population. The Javanese are concentrated on the island of Java but millions have migrated to other islands throughout the archipelago because of the transmigration program.[55][56] The Sundanese, Malays, Batak, Madurese, Betawi, and Minangkabau are the next largest groups in the country.[57] Many ethnic groups, particularly in Kalimantan and Papua, have only hundreds of members. Most of the local languages belong to Austronesian language family, although a significant number, particularly in Maluku Islands and Western New Guinea belong to Papuan languages. The Chinese Indonesians (Tionghoa) population makes up a little less than 1% of the total Indonesian population according to the 2000 census.[58] Some of these Indonesians of Chinese descent speak various Chinese languages, most notably Hokkien and Hakka.

The classification of ethnic groups in Indonesia is not rigid and in some cases unclear due to migrations, cultural and linguistic influences; for example, some may consider Osing people and Cirebonese to be members of Javanese people, however, some others argue that they are different ethnic groups altogether since they have their own distinct dialects. This is the same case with Baduy people that actually are sub-ethnic of the Sundanese people but sometimes considered as separated ethnicities. An example of hybrid ethnicity is the Betawi people, descended not only from marriages between different peoples in Indonesia but also with foreign origin like Arab, Chinese and Indian migrants since the era of colonial Batavia (Jakarta).


Example of Javanese script

Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. It is a standardized variety of Malay, an Austronesian language that has been used as a lingua franca in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries. Most Indonesians also speak one of more than 700 indigenous languages.[59][60]

Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are fluent in another regional language (examples include Javanese, Sundanese and others), which are commonly used at home and within the local community. Most formal education, and nearly all national media and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian. In East Timor, which was an Indonesian province from 1975 to 1999, Indonesian is recognised by the constitution as one of the two working languages (the other being English), alongside the official languages of Tetum and Portuguese.


Indonesian literature can refer to literature produced in the Indonesian archipelago. It is also used to refer more broadly to literature produced in areas with common language roots based on the Malay language (of which Indonesian is one scion). This would extend the reach to the Maritime Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, but also other nations with a common language such as Malaysia and Brunei, as well as population within other nations such as the Malay people living in Singapore.

There are also works written in and about Indonesia in unrelated languages. There are several languages and several distinct but related literary traditions within the geographical boundaries of the modern nation of Indonesia. For example, the island of Java has its own Javanese pre-national cultural and literary history. There are also Sundanese, Balinese, and Batak or Madurese traditions. Indonesia also has a colonial history of Dutch, British and Japanese occupation, as well as a history of Islamic influence that brought its own texts, linguistic and literary influences. There is also an oral literature tradition in the area.

The term "Indonesian literature" is used in this article to refer to Indonesian as written in the nation of Indonesia, but also covers literature written in an earlier form of the Indonesian language i.e. Malay written in the Dutch East Indies.


A procession with offerings entering a Hindu temple in Bali

Indonesia is constitutionally a secular state and the first principle of Indonesia's philosophical foundation, Pancasila, is "belief in the one and only God". A number of different religions are practised in the country, and their collective influence on the country's political, economic and cultural life is significant.[61] The Indonesian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.[62] However, the government recognises only six official religions (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism).[63][64][65] Although based on data collected by the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP), there are about 245 non-official religions in Indonesia.[66] Indonesian law requires that every Indonesian citizen hold an identity card that identifies that person with one of these six religions, although citizens may fill in 'believer' on that section in case that person adhere to other religion than six recognized religion[67] or leave that section blank.[68] Indonesia does not recognise agnosticism or atheism, and blasphemy is illegal.[69] Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population[70][71] In the 2018 Indonesian census, 86.7% of Indonesians identified themselves as Muslim (with Sunnis forming about 99%,[72] Shias 1%,[73] Ahmadis 0.2%[74]), 7.6% Protestant, 3.12% Catholic, 1.74% Hindu, 0.77% Buddhist, 0.03% Confucianism, and 0.04% other religions/ No religion.[75]

Indonesia's political leadership has played an important role in the relations between groups, both positively and negatively, promoting mutual respect by affirming Pancasila but also promoting a Transmigration Program, which has caused a number of conflicts in the eastern region of the country.[76]


Tumpeng rice,[77] the national dish of Indonesia.

Indonesian cuisine is one of the most vibrant and colourful cuisines in the world, full of intense flavor.[78] It is diverse, in part because Indonesia is composed of approximately 6,000 populated islands of the total 17,000 in the world's largest archipelago,[79] with more than 1,300 ethnic groups.[80] Many regional cuisines exist, often based upon indigenous culture and foreign influences.[79] Indonesia has around 5,350 traditional recipes, with 30 of them considered the most important.[77]

Indonesian cuisine varies greatly by region and has many different influences.[79][81][82] Sumatran cuisine, for example, often has Middle Eastern and Indian influences, featuring curried meat and vegetables such as gulai and kari, while Javanese cuisine or Sundanese cuisine is mostly indigenous,[79] with some hint of Chinese influence. The cuisines of Eastern Indonesia are similar to Polynesian and Melanesian cuisine. Elements of Chinese cuisine can be seen in Indonesian cuisine: foods such as bakmi (noodles), bakso (meat or fish balls), and lumpia (spring rolls) have been completely assimilated.


Tongkonan, Torajan traditional house

Indonesian architecture reflects the diversity of cultural, historical and geographic influences that have shaped Indonesia as a whole. Invaders, colonizers, missionaries, merchants and traders brought cultural changes that had a profound effect on building styles and techniques.

Traditionally, the most significant foreign influence has been Indian. However, Chinese, Arab, and European influences have also played significant roles in shaping Indonesian architecture. Religious architecture varies from indigenous forms to mosques, temples, and churches. The sultans and other rulers built palaces. There is a substantial legacy of colonial architecture in Indonesian cities. Independent Indonesia has seen the development of new paradigms for postmodern and contemporary architecture.

See also

Non-indigenous Indonesians:



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