Indonesia’s Population Boom Unsustainable, Experts Warn
Jakarta — When the National Population and Family Planning Board, or BKKBN, held its annual meeting on Monday, there was a palpable tension in the room.
The BKKBN’s partners – such as the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) and Muslimat NU, the women’s wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s biggest Islamic organization – seemed particularly insistent that the BKKBN this year delivers on its family planning programs, amid projections of a population explosion that could severely strain Indonesia’s economic growth and development.
A problem of numbers
The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) predicts that the country’s population will increase from 238 million in 2010 to more than 305 million by 2035 – an average increase of three million people per year.
That, the BKKBN’s partners say, poses a serious question of how to feed, educate and provide sufficient jobs for everyone.
“Things did not happen as we expected. We expected lower growth,” says Mayling Oei-Gardiner, a demographics expert from the University of Indonesia.
“Also, the fertility [rate] did not really decline. It stayed relatively constant, while the maternal mortality rate soared. So I am not very optimistic now.”
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