Poverty in Indonesia becomes urban problem

Indonesia’s national development planning ministry is targeting a national poverty rate next year of 8.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent, down from the poverty level at the end of 2017 of 10.12 per cent of the population.

The target is seen as ambitious by an analysis in Asia Sentinel because in the past, poverty has been falling at just about half a percentage point annually, meaning the ministry would have to raise its efforts substantially.

That said, the government must strive to improve the quality of life and standard of living of about 27 million poor people living below the poverty line.

In addition, according to the World Bank’s March 2018 Economic Quarterly, the country is undergoing a radical shift. Although poverty rates in both urban and rural areas fell by 0.5 percentage points between September 2016 and 2017, the rural population shrank by 2.7 million at the same time the urban population grew by 5.8 million, an indication that increasing urbanization is changing the face of poverty in Indonesia.

“Over the past 15 years, poverty has slowly become a more urban phenomenon,” the report says. In 2002, 34.7 per cent of poor people lived in urban areas. As of September 2017, that share has grown to 38.6 per cent, in large part because of the broader global trend towards city migration, which has occurred as people sought better work opportunities and better access to jobs in urban areas. Going forward, government efforts to reduce poverty must consider its increasingly urban nature.

Due to the dense rural nature of parts of the Java, Bali, Lombok, and parts of Sumatra, poverty can be classified into rural and urban poverty. Urban poverty is prevalent in not only in Greater Jakarta, but also in Medan and Surabaya.

As a sprawling archipelago, poverty characteristics and implications vary widely from island to island and culture to culture. The Indonesian part of New Guinea (comprising the provinces of Papua and West Papua) has serious poverty issues of its own due to economic, cultural, linguistic and physical isolation which set it apart from the rest of Indonesia.

Despite the government’s “one policy fits all” approach, the people who fall below the poverty line are not a single group. There are varied poverty-stricken communities with distinct characteristics and environments, which should be taken into consideration to create an effective policy.

Those living below the poverty line also generally do not have their own production capital such as adequate land, skills, etc., so that the ability to earn is very limited. For example, those who work as farm laborers – sharecroppers – do not have their own lands so that harvests are shared with landowners. Those who do not work in the agricultural sector must be satisfied to be manual labourers or freelancers because of lack of qualifications.

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Indonesia’s national development planning ministry is targeting a national poverty rate next year of 8.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent, down from the poverty level at the end of 2017 of 10.12 per cent of the population.

Indonesia’s national development planning ministry is targeting a national poverty rate next year of 8.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent, down from the poverty level at the end of 2017 of 10.12 per cent of the population.

The target is seen as ambitious by an analysis in Asia Sentinel because in the past, poverty has been falling at just about half a percentage point annually, meaning the ministry would have to raise its efforts substantially.

That said, the government must strive to improve the quality of life and standard of living of about 27 million poor people living below the poverty line.

In addition, according to the World Bank’s March 2018 Economic Quarterly, the country is undergoing a radical shift. Although poverty rates in both urban and rural areas fell by 0.5 percentage points between September 2016 and 2017, the rural population shrank by 2.7 million at the same time the urban population grew by 5.8 million, an indication that increasing urbanization is changing the face of poverty in Indonesia.

“Over the past 15 years, poverty has slowly become a more urban phenomenon,” the report says. In 2002, 34.7 per cent of poor people lived in urban areas. As of September 2017, that share has grown to 38.6 per cent, in large part because of the broader global trend towards city migration, which has occurred as people sought better work opportunities and better access to jobs in urban areas. Going forward, government efforts to reduce poverty must consider its increasingly urban nature.

Due to the dense rural nature of parts of the Java, Bali, Lombok, and parts of Sumatra, poverty can be classified into rural and urban poverty. Urban poverty is prevalent in not only in Greater Jakarta, but also in Medan and Surabaya.

As a sprawling archipelago, poverty characteristics and implications vary widely from island to island and culture to culture. The Indonesian part of New Guinea (comprising the provinces of Papua and West Papua) has serious poverty issues of its own due to economic, cultural, linguistic and physical isolation which set it apart from the rest of Indonesia.

Despite the government’s “one policy fits all” approach, the people who fall below the poverty line are not a single group. There are varied poverty-stricken communities with distinct characteristics and environments, which should be taken into consideration to create an effective policy.

Those living below the poverty line also generally do not have their own production capital such as adequate land, skills, etc., so that the ability to earn is very limited. For example, those who work as farm laborers – sharecroppers – do not have their own lands so that harvests are shared with landowners. Those who do not work in the agricultural sector must be satisfied to be manual labourers or freelancers because of lack of qualifications.

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