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Indonesia Country Profile

Physical Geography

Indonesia which its official name is the Republic of Indonesia is a sovereign state that is located in Southeast Asia. The country is found between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean showcasing that it is an island country. Indonesia is the largest island country in the world, and it is estimated that it is made up of small islands that total up to an approximated thirteen thousand. The Indian Ocean borders nation to the South while the Pacific Ocean borders the nation to the North. Some of its neighbors include Malaysia, Papua Guinea, as well as Timor-Leste (Sujarwoto, p.90). Some of the largest islands that make up the nation include Sumatra and Java. Java, to be more detailed, is large to the point that a significant number of most Indonesians reside in the island. An estimated half of the total population lives in this island. Borneo, which is nicknamed Kalimantan in the country, is also another one of the largest islands that encompass the country. It is, however, fair to note that most of these large islands in the country are mountainous and most of these mountains have peaks that range to levels between 3,000 and 3,800 m (Sujarwoto, p.92). These mountainous conditions can be explained by the high prevalence of volcanic activities in the nation. Indonesia, which lies in the South Western arm of the Ring of Fire, is prone to these volcanic eruptions due to its proximity to the Ring of Fire which is an arc of volcanic activities (Minshull 32). Ocean trenches, plate movements, as well as fault lines, exist in the nation which explains the high rate of tsunamis as well. As of 2016, Indonesia covered an area estimated at 1,904,569, km2. Additionally, during the same year, the population of the country was estimated at 258 million people (Minshull 41). With these numbers, Indonesia stands out as the most populous country which is situated in the islands. Jakarta, which is located on the island of Java, is the country’s capital and the largest city in the nation as well. The population of people in the island of Java alone is estimated at 10 million. The country’s official language is Indonesian. Made up of five major islands (Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, New Guinea, and Borneo) it is the largest archipelago across the globe (Timm et al. 31). Puncak Jaya is the highest peak mountain in the nation while Lake Toba is the largest lake in the nation. On the other hand, its largest rivers are Kapuas, Barito, as well as Mahakam.

Linguistic and religious geography-Indonesia Country Profile

The official language in Indonesia, as mentioned in the section above, is Indonesian. To be more particular, Bahasa Indonesian is the official language and the only official language in the country. There is a similarity between Bahasa Indonesian and Malaysian (Shah 707). This language forms part of the Polynesian family which is the family of most languages that are spoken in the Southeast parts of Asia (Feng and Mark 569). Apart from Indonesian, there are other languages that are spoken in the country. The diversity in language comes about due to the prevalence of a diverse population in the nation. For example, most of these languages are natively spoken by people who associate with different dialects (Shah 709). Thus, there has been the need to develop a language that will enable the island to island communication. It is this fact that has played a significant role in encouraging the absorption and spread of Bahasa Indonesian. Second languages in the many islands that make up the nation include Dutch and English (Hadiz 296). The languages are common due to the high tourist population to the country, and it is also common with individuals who have university education although they are not very fluent in them.Indonesia Country Profile

On a different note, religion in Indonesia is Muslim. An estimated 85% of Indonesians are Muslims. Therefore, the high number of adherents makes the country the largest Muslim nation in the country. The remaining 15% of the country’s population is made up of other religions. There are Protestant Christians who make up the largest share of the reminding 15% while Hindus are also part of this population. There are also Roman Catholics in the nation. In the country, Muslim is a monotheistic religion, and the Quran is the holy book. Ideals and concepts that are advocated by the Quran dictate the actions and the religious practices of most people (Hadiz, p.298). Moreover, this religion is deeply embedded in the country although it is fair to mention that liberal Muslim practices are also adopted. This is not the case in most Muslim states, and it is this fact that makes Indonesia stand out. Looking at ethnicities, they number in hundreds. There are thousands of islands, and each island (in most case scenarios) has a distinct ethnic makeup. Looking at the ethnic composition, the Javanese make up the largest ethnic group at 40% followed by Sundanese at 15% in Indonesia (Hadiz 299). However, the many ethnic groups are within the same ethnic family as they are part of the larger Polynesian group.

Population geography-Indonesia Country Profile

The different ethnic groups, as well as the high number of islands, explain the high population density in the country at an estimated at 258 million. The Javanese, as well as the Sundanese, make up the largest part of the population as they are widespread in the islands and they are the biggest inhabitants of the island of Java (Sahiratmadja et al. 58). Since Java contains the largest concentration of the total population, most of the people in Indonesia are located in the Western part of the nation as it is where the most populated islands are. West Java has a population estimated at 43 million people making it the most populous.  West Papua, on the other hand, is the least populous state at an estimate of 761,000 individuals (Sahiratmadja et al. 60). The Dutch who colonized the nation has been faulted for being the contributors of the vast ethnic, cultural, and economic make-up of the nation. Other populous provinces in the country are East Java, North Sumatra, Central Java, and Banten. Population growth rate in the country is estimated at 1.49% indicating that there is rampant population growth spearheaded by the province of Papua that has the highest rate at 5.46% (Meidiaswati and Basuki 17). Central Java has the least rate of population growth at 0.37%. As of 2015, the urban population concentration was higher at 54% while the rural population concentration was lower at 46% (Sja’bani et al. 22). Here are more men in the country as compared to women with a majority of the population (66.5%) ranging at the age 15-64 years.

Political geography-Indonesia Country Profile

Indonesia has both geometrical boundaries as well as physical boundaries. Its physical boundary is the sea that surrounds the country. Each state, across the globe, has a geometric boundary that separates them. The country, however, consists of different islands that make up the whole nation which brings about a challenge as it is fragmented. The challenge that is presented is that there is always the fear that the segmented states might want to separate due to the uneven spread of power. All the same, Indonesia achieved its independence in 1945 on 17th August (Astuti and McGregor 447). The country was a former Dutch colony before it gained its independence. The government of the day in the country is a Republic. 20 sub-national divisions make up the country all headed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Voting is for people aged 17 years and above although those who are married can also vote so long as they have ID cards (Astuti and McGregor 449). Jakarta is the country’s capital city as it is in the heart of Indonesia.

Economic geography-Indonesia Country Profile

East Kalimantan is the richest province in the country while Maluku is the poorest province. The country’s economy centers on agriculture as well as industry. Thus, there is a high prevalence of agricultural activities in the country with the major crops grown ranging from cocoa to coffee (United States Department of State 1). Other products that are produced due to agricultural activities in the country include palm oil, rice, cassava, eggs, and pork. Poultry and copra are also common in the country. On the other hand, the largest industrial products from the nation include petroleum and natural gas. Moreover, there are other industrial products such as plywood and rubber. There are textiles as well as cement which are also produced by the country (Central Intelligence Agency 1). In the recent past, tourism has come up as an economic sector due to its high growth rate. The private sectors, as well as the government, play significant roles in enhancing economic growth in the country. With the largest economy in the South Eastern part of Asia, Indonesia is in the category of industrialized nations. The country’s nominal GDP is estimated at US$1.074 trillion while its GDP at PPP is estimated at US$$3.481 trillion (Palmer, P37). These numbers showcase the economic strength and excellent performance of the country in recent years.

Land use and urban geography-Indonesia Country Profile

Most of the land in Indonesia is coastal lowlands. Of the total land area, an approximated 13% is used for agricultural activities. On the same note, most of the arable land is located in Java (one of the biggest islands in the country). Permanent crops occupy an approximate 11% of the land area while the remaining land area used for agriculture is irrigated (Woltjer et al. 153). Therefore, most of the agricultural products are a result of irrigation activities. Most of the land in the country is in the urban areas as they are part of the largest islands of the nation (Woltjer et al. 162). Population density in the urban regions, thus, is higher which explains why most of the land in the regions is used for housing and development of homes.














Works cited

Astuti, Rini, and Andrew McGregor. “Indigenous land claims or green grabs? Inclusions and exclusions within forest carbon politics in Indonesia.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 44.2 (2017): 445-466.

Central Intelligence Agency. CIA – The World Factbook –Indonesia. Web. 2010, March 5. Available at  [Accessed November 15, 2018]

Feng, Chen-Chieh, and David M. Mark. “Cross-Linguistic Research on Landscape Categories Using GEOnet Names Server Data: A Case Study for Indonesia and Malaysia.” The Professional Geographer 69.4 (2017): 567-578.

Hadiz, Vedi R. “Islamic populism in Indonesia: Emergence and limitations.” Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. Routledge, 2018. 296-306.

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Meidiaswati, Harlina, and Andry Irwanto Basuki. “Detecting the Probability to Conduct First Seasoned Equity Offerings in Indonesia Capital Market.” (2017).

Minshull, Roger. Regional geography: Theory and practice. London: Routledge, 2017

Palmer, Ingrid. The Indonesian economy since 1965: a case study of political economy. London: Routledge, 2018.

Sahiratmadja, Edhyana, et al. “Distribution of rs1801279 and rs1799930 Polymorphisms in NAT2 Gene among Population in Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia.” The Indonesian Biomedical Journal 10.1 (2018): 56-61.

Shah, Dian AH. “Law and Religion in Indonesia: Conflict and the Courts in West Java.” (2018): 706-710.

Sja’bani, Mochammad, et al. “A4494 The effect of soursop supplement on blood pressure, serum uric acid and kidney function in prehypertensive patients for more than ten years in javanese population of Indonesia.” Journal of Hypertension 36 (2018): e130.

Sujarwoto, Sujarwoto. “Geography and Communal Conflict in Indonesia.” Indonesian Journal of Geography 49.1 (2017): 89-96.

Timm, Janne, et al. “Small scale genetic population structure of coral reef organisms in Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia.” Frontiers in Marine Science 4 (2017): 294.

United States Department of State. Indonesia (01/10). Web. 2010, January. Available at  [Accessed November 15, 2018]

Woltjer, Johan, Haryo Winarso, and Metropolis Delik Hudalah. “Gentrifying the Peri-Urban: Land Use Confl icts and Institutional Dynamics at the Frontier of an Indonesian.” Dialogues in Urban and Regional Planning 6. Routledge, 2017. 150-170.


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