Java as the heart of Indonesia
Despite the many thousands of islands, Indonesia’s population, politics, and economy are mostly centered on the island of Java. This is where its capital, Jakarta, is located. With a population of around 36.3 million in 2015, Jakarta is not only Indonesia’s biggest city, it is also one of the world’s most-populated urban areas. The number of inhabitants in Jakarta increased three-fold since 1975, reflecting a trend of rural-urban migration in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s rural population had been steadily decreasing in the last ten years; inversely, its urban population saw a steady increase. As of 2021, more than 57 percent of the Indonesian population were living in urban areas. In Indonesia, the economic opportunities are mostly concentrated in the larger and more densely populated islands such as Java and Bali, and smaller, rural, and more far-flung islands such as the Maluku Islands tend to suffer from a lack of easy connectivity to these economic centers. It comes as no surprise that these rural areas had the highest share of the rural population living below the poverty line. With their lack of economic prospects, rural populations in Indonesia also had a significantly higher share of those living below the poverty line than urban populations.