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Through the combined influence of geography and historical settlement patterns, Indonesia's present population is over whelming concentrated in the two central islands of Java and its smaller neighbor, Madura. Although comprising less than 7 percent of Indo nesia's landmass, Java and Madura are home to nearly 70 percent of the country's total population. With more than 100 million inhabitants, they are as densely populated as Germany and France combined-yet contained in a landmass smaller than Great Britain. Closest rival to Java in population is the larger island of Sumatra, whose population of approximately 35 million makes it similar in size and area to the state of California. After Java and Sumatra, population distribution drops dramatically. Indonesia's two largest islands -Kalimantan and Irian Jaya, together comprising more than 50 percent of Indonesia's total land- mass-contain barely 5 percent of the nations total population. The country's remaining inhabitants -approximately 15 million citizens, or about the population of Australia-live scattered among the remaining islands. 

Despite the continuing growth of sizeable urban centers, together with a considerable network of small-to-medium-size towns and villages throughout the archipelago, Indonesia remains today a predominantly rural society. The 1990 National Census indicates that less than 30 percent of Indonesia's population live in urban centers. Sound agricultural policies, together with landownership practices, have made this a viable demographic feature of Indonesian life. Uncontrolled migration to urban centers-a demographic nightmare faced by many developing countries-has been significantly diminished by the country's long-standing program of "transmigration." Following a lengthy process of site selection and preparation of infrastructure, this program allows families to move, voluntarily, from over-crowded areas to less populated sites. Although criticized by vocal international environmental and human rights groups-and not without its shortcomings in the past-the transmigration program has in fact been extremely effective in reducing demographic and social imbalances in Indonesia's complex mixture of over-crowded and under-populated territories. 

The population policy is directed toward development of the population as human resources in order that the national development can be effective and valuable, while the quality of life is gradually improving. Meanwhile, the control of population growth is carried out through efforts to lower the birth and mortality rate, especially that of infants and children. These efforts in particular have been implemented through family planning programs, which also have the purpose of improving the welfare of mother and child, and at the same time create a small, happy, and prosperous family. See Population Control. The implementation of population policy has noted significant progress. In 1998, the life expectancy was 64.7 years, the crude death rate was 7.7 per 1.000 people, and the infant mortality rate was 50 per 1.000 live births. Meanwhile, the crude birth rate in 1998 was 22.7 per 1.000 people and the total fertility rate was 2.59 per woman. Until June 1999, the total population is approximately 209 millions.

Population Control

Indonesia's explosive birth-rate during the 1950s and 1960s caused the population to double over a mere two decades. In response, Indonesia introduced what is widely hailed as one of the most successful family-planning programs in the developing world. The slogan "Dua Anak Cukup" - "Two Children Are Enough"- is now engrained in the national psyche. The result has been a substantial decline in the birthrate-targeted to drop to 20 births per thousand by the end of the decade. In 1989, President Soeharto was awarded a special citation by the United Nations in recognition of Indonesia's demonstrable success in its voluntary program of family planning.

Largest Cities
Jakarta, with a population of over 10 million, Surabaya, Bandung, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surakarta (Solo), Medan, Padang, Palembang, Ujung Pandang, Banjarmasin, Bandar Lampung and Manado.

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