Indonesia could squander demographic dividend as population grows

Family planning efforts have stagnated in Indonesia over a decade of democratic rule and the world’s fourth most populous country risks squandering a so-called demographic dividend that a youthful, productive population should deliver.

Indonesia has failed to meet its target for bringing down the birth rate and its population is set to grow by nearly a third, to 305 million people, by 2035 from 240 million now, the statistics agency said on Wednesday.

But without improvements in education and job prospects, the growing population could become a burden, threatening the growth and development of South-east Asia’s largest economy.

“Indonesia has a window of opportunity between now and 2030, when there will be an explosion in the working age group,” said Ms Wendy Hartono, deputy head of the national family planning agency.