Unlocking The Demographic Dividend


Indonesia’s demographics profile and age composition signal that the country is in the middle of a phase called demographic dividend. This is a phrase that according to demographic experts occur just once in the history of the nation. President Joko Widodo, during his state address on August 16, 2019, underlined the importance of demographic dividend, “The years from 2020 to 2024 are the peak of our demographic dividend phase. If we can focus on building the quality of our human capital and find new ways in doing so, I have no doubt that the demographic bonus will also be a bonus leap in our progress.”

The president expressed a similar message when opening the National Coordination Meeting of Bangga Kencana program on January 28, 2021. In his address, the president reminded the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) that the main target audience of population and family planning programs are digital-savvy young people and young families. They are active social media users and in order to be relevant with this group, BKKBN must also tailor its approach and means of communications to ensure successful interventions.


Just several days prior to the Meeting, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) released the official data and results of the 2020 Population Census. The data reveals that Indonesia has a total of 270.2 million people as of September 2020. In the past 10 years, Indonesia’s population has increased by 32.56 million people. On average, Indonesia’s population growth is 3.26 million people or 1.25 percent per annum.

In terms of gender, the male population is more dominant than the female population with 136.55 million people, or 50.58 percent of the population in comparison to 133.58 million or 49.42 percent of the female population.

Meanwhile, in terms of age structure, the 2020 census confirms the president’s message. Data shows that Indonesia is made up predominantly by the “Zilennial” generation, a portmanteau of “Generation Z” and “Milennial”. “Generation Z” refers to those born between 1997 and 2012, and they make up 27.94 percent of Indonesia’s population. The second-largest age group is the millennials, which refer to those born between 1981 to 1996 and who make up 25.87 percent of the population.

Overall, the data shows that people in the productive age group of 15–64 years old accounts for 70.72 percent of the total population. Meanwhile, people in the non-productive age group, or those aged 0–14 years old and 65 years old and above account for just 29.28 percent of the population.

Thus, as the 2020 census results show and as noted by the president, Indonesia is experiencing a demographic dividend. This momentum attributable to the successful birth spacing interventions under the overarching national family planning program. This rate of dependency ratio will only occur once in the history of Indonesia.

Nevertheless, there are always two sides to the story. On one hand, this is a significant window of opportunity to capture if Indonesia is to accelerate its development. On the other hand, the failure to manage this situation may lead to unwanted consequences for Indonesia, such as an increased rate of crimes and criminality, in which the offenders are typically citizens in the productive age bracket that do not have a stable source of income. It is therefore important that the state nurtures its human capital to be a superior and competitive society, reduces unemployment by opening more jobs, and ensure the success of character building and mental revolution process that it currently pursues.

The concerns of the side effects of the demographic dividend should not be undermined. According to the most recent Global Human Capital Index, Indonesia ranks 65th of 130 countries and is behind neighboring nations such as Malaysia that ranks 33rd, Thailand that ranks 40th, and Viet Nam which ranks 64th. Aside from this low ranking, perhaps the more worrisome results are Indonesia’s performance in some specific areas of the Index; in the know-how area, Indonesia ranks 80th and 82nd in terms of labor deployment.

The government needs to ensure that the goals articulated in the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) of 2020-2024 are met, namely strengthening economic resilience to generate robust growth; pursuing regional development to reduce disparity and to increase equity; improving the quality and competitiveness of human capital; driving mental revolution and cultural development; strengthening infrastructure as an enabler for economic growth and the delivery of basic services; putting the environment in the heart of the development agenda; increasing the national disaster resiliency and adaptation to climate change; strengthening political, defense, and security stability; and continuing bureaucratic reform.

A pro-population development is also expected to be a priority of the government, which should be reflected from development interventions that seek to improve the quality and competitiveness of our society, realize mental revolution, and implement cultural development. Some key focus areas should be population control, population governance, stronger social protection, increased access to and quality of healthcare, equitable access to education, and improved health of children, women, and youth. The government also needs to focus on poverty reduction and increase of productivity and competitiveness. The result of these efforts are prosperous citizens of Indonesia.

To those end, the contribution of various relevant ministries and institutions are important, such as the Ministry of Home Affairs through its Directorate General of Population and Civil Registry, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Labor and Transmigration, and the Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency, as well as provincial and municipal governments.

To engage provincial and municipal governments, Indonesia has issued Law No. 23 of 2014 on Regional Government. Article 12 under the Law 23/2014 stipulates that population control and family planning are congruent affairs shared by the central and sub-national governments and are considered part of basic services for citizens. Meanwhile, Law No. 52 of 2009 provides guidance on Population and Family Development.

The sub-national government can implement those laws by formulating a Grand Design of Population Development and translate the document into its Regional Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMD) and the Regional Government Work Plan (RKPD), which are stipulated in the Minister of Home Affairs Regulation Number 40 of 2020 on the Guideline on the Formulation of Regional Government Work Plan 2021 and Regulation Number 64 of 2020 concerning the Guideline on the Formulation of Regional Budget and Expenditure Plan for Fiscal Year 2021.


Successful national development that places population planning in its center may ensure that Indonesia can capture the full potential of its demographic dividend, to truly celebrate the youthful demographics, and to soar towards becoming a developed country by 2045, a momentum known as the Golden Indonesia. Nevertheless, without appropriate measures, the demographic dividend may be counterproductive, even catastrophic to Indonesia, due to the risk of the high rate of unemployment and criminality among the productive age group that creates more burden for the State to shoulder.



BPS. Hasil Sensus Penduduk Tahun 2020.


Author by

*Ahmad Fasni1 Rama Yeni.2

1Penyuluh KB Ahli Muda BKKBN West Sumatra
2Penyuluh KB Ahli Pertama BKKBN West Sumatra

*Email: ahmadfasni20@gmail.com


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