Urban Life in Indonesia: What’s the Impact?

5 min read|Last Updated: July 17, 2024|

Indonesia’s rate of urbanisation 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. 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 in the next 10 years.

Indonesian urbanisation has led to economic growth. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been growing steadily every year that drive the positive effects of urbanisation. Infrastructure has also improved as a result of urbanisation. When people move to cities, they bring much money with them to improve infrastructure and offer services. In general, urbanisation in Indonesia has aided in the improvement of quality of life in areas such as health and education.

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 might reduce the service quality provided.

The growth in population in Indonesia’s cities which has been caused by urbanisation has also led to environmental pollution. There are many toxic gases which are emitted from transport systems which have damaged the air quality of Indonesia’s urban areas. Furthermore, some people who have left rural areas and moved to cities in the hopes of bettering their lives may never see their dreams come true. Because they can’t make an honest living in the city, some of these people resort to criminal activity. Thus, urbanisation has both negative and positive effects in any country.

Evidences of Development in Urban Life 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-quality roads
  • Clean water
  • 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. It has also helped Indonesia’s cities to make better and more informed investments as well as have access to sources of financing. The plans that the country intends to put in place include economic strategies for:

  • Urban areas
  • Plans for transportation systems
  • Housing plans
  • Environmental strategies

Advantages Enjoyed by Those Who Experience Urban Life in Indonesia

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. 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.

Improved Level of Services

Although rural areas have better services and equal access to government services, those who live in cities still have an advantage. One of the advantages that city dwellers enjoy is easy access to public services. This is because 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. Therefore, 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 Urban Life in Indonesia

There is a belief that the cost of living in urban is higher than the cost of living in rural areas due to 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.

As a result, people in urban areas have higher living standards than those in rural areas because they have easier access to basic needs and other vital services. The ease with which essential amenities such as education and health care are available to assess quality of life.

Reasons Why People Move to Have Urban Life in Indonesia

One of the primary reasons why people tend to move to have urban life in Indonesia includes the search for employment. Workers who live in rural areas will move to urban areas to search for more job opportunities in the cities.

Other reasons that have caused people to move 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 urbanisation has brought about an improvement in:

  • Infrastructural development
  • Employment opportunities
  • Financial well-being of residents


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