• At 240 million people, it is home to the world’s fourth largest population. It’s also the third most populous democracy after India and the United States.
  • It has by far the world’s biggest Muslim population but has always rejected attempts to create an Islamic state. It has largely crushed an Islamic militancy that erupted early this century. The state creed allows freedom of worship to several other religions. However, atheism and civil marriage are not condoned. There are also concerns of growing intolerance by some Muslims towards other religions.
Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands.

Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands.

  • The former Dutch colony, which declared itself independent at the end of World War Two, was ruled for its first 54 years as a republic by two despots, both of whose reigns ended with mass violence.
  • But in the 17 years since the last one, Suharto, stepped down in 1998, Indonesia has become a vibrant, stable and occasionally raucous democracy, each successive president peacefully handing over power.
  • With a huge young population, it comes as no surprise that its capital Jakarta boasts one of the world’s biggest users of Twitter and Facebook. The city also hosts some of the globe’s most congested traffic.
  • It has hundreds of ethnic groups and languages but has successfully made one language, Bahasa Indonesia, the lingua franca.
  • Corruption watchdog Transparency International ranked it a lowly 107 out 175 in its corruption perceptions index, albeit a bit better than the year before. The bigger the number, the worse the perception of the public sector.
  • Despite a huge agricultural and mineral wealth, an estimated 40 percent of the population live in, or perilously close to, abject poverty. In a report late last year, the World Bank said inequality was rising.

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World Asia A few facts about Indonesia