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Urban Life in Indonesia

8 min read|Last Updated: September 8, 2022|
What’s in this article

The rapid increase of urbanization throughout Indonesia has done much to change the lifestyles of those who live in its cities as well as those who live in its rural areas. More people than ever before are leaving the rural areas of Indonesia to live and work in its bustling cities.

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How Urbanization Has Impacted Indonesia

Indonesia’s rate of urbanization has been growing at an impressive rate. It has a population of approximately 263 million people, and out of this population, around 55% reside in urban areas. According to official statistics, Indonesia’s rate of urbanization is more rapid than those of both China and India. With a constant increase of around 2.5% every year in the number of individuals living in urban areas, it is projected that the number of people living in urban areas will account for around 70% of the total population at some point during the next 10 years.

Indonesian urbanization has led to economic growth. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been growing steadily every year, and this growth in GDP has been driven by the positive effects of urbanization. Urbanization has also led to the improvement of infrastructure. When a large number of people move into urban areas, they bring with them much money which will enable the authorities to improve the infrastructure and offer services to the residents. Generally, urbanization in Indonesia has helped in improving the quality of life because services such as health and education have been improved.

However, the increase in urban population in Indonesia has also negatively impacted the country. The increase in the number of people living in a smaller area has thus caused the population density of many of Indonesia’s cities to increase. This leads to more pressure being placed upon the infrastructure of the cities which in turn might reduce the quality of services being provided.

The growth in population in Indonesia’s cities which has been caused by urbanization has also led to pollution in the environment. There are many toxic gases which are emitted from both private and public transport systems which have damaged the air quality of many of Indonesia’s urban areas. Furthermore, some who have left rural areas and moved to urban centres with hopes of improving their lifestyle might never see these hopes come to fruition. As a result, some of these people turn to acts of crime because they are unable to make an honest living in the city.

Thus, urbanization has both negative and positive effects in any country. However, when migration to urban areas is not proportional to the country’s economic growth, it implies that the standard of living in the country is not increasing, thus bringing about a host of other problems.

Evidences of Urban Development in Indonesia

Development of Slums

According to the United Nations, around a quarter of the world’s total urban population live in slums. Slums are defined as areas with inadequate housing, public services, and sanitation. The Indonesian government has been attempting to upgrade the lifestyles of those inhabiting slums. The Kampung Improvement program has worked to improve the lives of those living in slums by providing high-quality roads, health services, clean water, and sanitation. Such improvements also have the short-term effect of increasing the land prices of the area.

The National Urban Development Project (NUDP)

The NUDP was instituted by the Indonesian government in order to integrate its sectoral and strategic plans. The plans that the country intends to put in place include economic strategies for urban areas, plans for transportation systems, housing plans, and environmental strategies. The NUDP has also helped Indonesia’s cities to make better and more informed investments as well as have access to sources of financing.

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Advantages Enjoyed by Those Who Live in Indonesia’s Urban Areas

Increased Opportunities

In urban areas, there are many job opportunities available to those who seek them. There are more employment opportunities available to those living in urban areas of Indonesia than for those who reside in rural areas. The sources of livelihood for those living in Indonesia’s rural areas might sometimes be limited to agriculture. Therefore, living in Indonesia’s urban areas offers opportunities for residents to make a living. Even those who do not have professional qualifications may take jobs which do not require such qualifications; jobs of all sorts are available to people who live in the urban areas of Indonesia.

Improved Level of Services

Although rural areas have better services and can equally access government services, those living in urban areas still have advantages. One of the benefits that urban residents experience is that of proximity to public services. Unlike in rural areas where residents need to travel longer distances to access the services, most of these services are available nearby in urban areas. Further, improved levels of services are only found in urban areas. Better roads and improved levels of infrastructure including housing are only found in urban areas.

Increased Level of Social Awareness

Those who live in urban areas are often more socially aware than their rural counterparts. In urban areas, the diversity is higher. Through interactions with more diverse people, urban residents tend to learn much which those in rural areas do not. Furthermore, parents who would like their children to have a higher standard of education and early exposure to several basic life skills would prefer raise them in urban areas.

Standard of Living in Indonesia’s Urban Areas

There is a belief that the cost of living in urban is higher than the cost of living in rural areas because of the costs of rent and food. However, the cost of living is not necessarily higher because of the relatively higher income level of urban residents when compared to those of rural areas. Therefore, the living standards in the urban areas are generally higher than those of rural areas because people are able to access necessary basic needs and other vital services such as health and roads more easily. Quality of life can be measured by how easy it is to access essential amenities such as education and health facilities. It is much easier to access such amenities in urban areas than it is in rural areas.

However, the living standards in the cities of Indonesia often depend on an individual’s level of income and wages. Nevertheless, urban living standards are generally higher due to the generally higher level of purchasing power.

Reasons Why People Move to Urban Areas in Indonesia

One of the primary reasons why people tend to move to urban areas in Indonesia from rural areas includes the search for employment. Since there are fewer employment opportunities in rural areas, workers who live in rural areas will move to urban areas to search for employment opportunities which are more plentiful in the cities. This is the main reason which underpins migration from Indonesia’s rural areas to its urban areas. Other reasons that have caused people to migrate to the cities of Indonesia include the search for better standards of education or for better living standards compared to those of rural areas. The standard of living in urban areas is higher than that of rural areas because urbanization has brought about an improvement in infrastructural development, employment opportunities, and financial well-being of residents.

Urban Life in Indonesia FAQs

What are some unique features of the city of Bandung?2020-04-02T16:17:39+08:00

Bandung is another rapidly-growing major city of Indonesia. By population, it is the third-largest city in Indonesia. The latest statistics show that its population is just under 2.6 million. The city is home to several large companies and is a hub for Indonesia’s manufacturing and financial industries. Much like Surabaya, Bandung also contains many educational institutions and universities

What are some unique features of the city of Surabaya?2020-04-02T16:17:12+08:00

Surabaya is the second-largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta. Much like Jakarta, its population has been growing at a steady rate every year. Its population is currently just over 2.9 million people. Surabaya is known for its busy port which exports many agricultural goods such as tobacco, coffee, and sugar. The revenue generated by business activities at its port have caused the city to grow quickly. It is also home to various educational institutions and universities that have contributed much towards its economic growth by equipping graduates with suitable qualifications.

What are some unique features of the city of Jakarta?2020-04-02T16:16:26+08:00

Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia. It also serves as the center of the government’s financial and business activities. The city is one of the fastest-growing in Indonesia. Over the past decade, its population has increased by over one million people; it rose from around 9.6 million to 10.8 million during this period. It also ranks among the world’s leading cities for tourist arrivals.

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