Children in Indonesia

The situation of children in Indonesia has improved, but disparities remain

UNICEF Indonesia/2016/Radit

The situation of children and women in Indonesia has substantially improved over recent years. National trends, however, mask significant disparities across geographic regions and different social groups. Due to the large size of the country, these disparities often equate to large numbers of children.

The challenge is exacerbated by the geography. The population is spread across over 17,000 islands covering a distance of over 5,000 km from west to east. Tackling these disparities is therefore central to realizing children’s rights in Indonesia.

One third of Indonesia's population are children. This equates to around 85 million children, the fourth-largest of any country in the world

The economic outlook for children, overall, is good. Indonesia has witnessed impressive economic gains of around 4-10 percent each year for several decades. The country's declining fertility and mortality rates mean that the ‘demographic divide’ between birth rates and life expectancy will diminish by the 2030s. The large young population, meanwhile, will continue to sustain momentum for future economic growth.

A child smiles in front of temporary housing for evacuees of the 28 September earthquake and tsunami.
A girl collects vegetables from her garden for the family's meal in Su'rulangi village in Takalar Regency of South Sulawesi Province.

This economic growth, however, has been accompanied by rising inequality and urbanization. Around 53 per cent of the population now live in urban areas, a trend which is projected to continue well into the future. There are alarmingly high levels of both extreme poverty (14.5 percent) and moderate poverty (48.7 percent). Hundreds of thousands of children are impacted each year by natural and human-induced disasters and that number is likely to increase due to climate change.

To address the challenges that children face in Indonesia, UNICEF’s work focuses on the most marginalized and socially excluded. Our programme aims to support Indonesia in the realization of children's rights, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and articulated in the Government’s Medium-Term Development Plan.