The age-groups of the population

A recent survey about the composition of the Jogjakarta population according to age does not exits. The only available figures about the age-groups are the census 1930 figures. The division of the population in different age-groups appeared to be a very difficult matter in Indonesia. This became evident from the experiences in the 1930-census.
As it is not customary with Indonesians to express their ages accurately in years, and as, besides some people count them in Javanese Muslim of in Arabian years of 354 days, any accurate investigation of the gradation of ages is impossible. The age stated is in the majority of cases a mere estimate of the person concerned. A first attempt to learn at least something about the shape of the age-pyramid of the Indonesian population was made during the census taken is 1920. Here two age-groups were distinguished: non-adults and adults. In the 1930-census the first group was further divided, so that three age groups were distinguished:

  1. Children that could not yet walk.
  2. Further non-adults.
  3. Adults.

Only in a few areas did it appear practicable to investigate age-gradation and further. In parts where the Christian religion had been professed for a long time by the regional population it did appear to be possible. These are parts where schooling on rather a large scale had enabled people to read. The number of literates was the highest in these regions at the census-1930.
The percentages concerning literacy of the population as shown in table III-1 point to literacy being greatest in the areas of the Minahassa, Sangir, Talaud, and Ambon. In the course of the 1930-census it was also these areas where the most accurate statements as to ages were obtained, and these were the first known figures for the gradation of ages among any part of the Indonesian population. The figures of the age-pyramids are given in the figures 4, 5 , 6 and 7 and concerns resp. Minahassers, Sangiresians, Talauds and Ambonesians. These figures will later on be used for comparison. All the figures present the same structure, of a broad basis (suggesting a high birth-rate) and a sharp angle between the basis and incline of the pyramid, (suggesting an important death-rate in early childhood). The Minahassa is the most northern tip of Sulawesi, There were 246,489 inhabitants in the three sub-divisions of this area: Amurang, Tondano and Menado, while 10,281 lived in other parts of Sulawesi.

Fig. 4. Age-pyramid of the Minahassa-population (1930).

Age-pyramid of the Minahassa-population (1930).

Fig. 5. Age-pyramid of the Sangir-population (1930).

Age-pyramid of the Sangir-population (1930).

Fig. 6. Age-pyramid of the Talaud-population (1930).

Age-pyramid of the Talaud-population (1930).

Fig. 7. Age-pyramid of the Ambon-population (1930).

Age-pyramid of the Ambon-population (1930).

Table III – 1
Literacy and Illiteracy in Indonesia in 1930 (expressed per 100 inhabitants).

Literacy and Illiteracy in Indonesia in 1930

The criterion for literacy, was the ability to write a simple letter about an everyday subject in any language and alphabetic writing.

Also inhabitants of the Minahassa emigrated to Java (15,412). Sumatra (4,417). Kalimantan (2,144) and the Moluccas (2,161). were included in the population-pyramid, so that it relates to the complete Minahassa-group in Indonesia in 1930. See figure 4. In the sub-division Sangir, a group of islands consisting of 4 large islands and some smaller ones situated between the Minahassa and the Philippines there lived 131,313 people in 1930.
The Sangiresians emigrated to Sulawesi were also included in the pyramid of fig. 5. concerning a total of 157,645 Sangiresians.
In the same way an age-pyramid was constructed in 1930 of the Talauds in the Talaud group of islands (south of the Philippines) together with those of them who had emigrated to Sulawesi. See fig. 6.

Fig. 8. Age-pyramid of the Menadonese-population (1930).

Age-pyramid of the Menadonese-population (1930).

Age-pyramid of the population is Subdistrict Senen (Djakarta) 1956.

In the fourth group investigated viz. That of the Ambonesians, it seems highly probable that many inhabitants of other islands situated around the island of Ambon, were counted for Ambonesians, so that this group is larger than it should be. It appeared that out of 232,473 persons counted for Ambonesians but 43% could accurately state their ages, that is 120,773 of the Ambonesians counted in the whole of Indonesia.
Figure 7 represents the age-pyramid of this group.
When the eight and last volume about the 1930-census was published, the population-pyramid of the Menadonesians was printed separately on page. 22. This group has already been included in the group of Minahassers.
Figure 8 represents the Menadonesian population-pyramid.
In the other parts of Indonesia the statement of ages appeared to be inaccurate. An abnormally large group gave and estimate of their ages in numbers ending in 5 or 0. Also those literate people who were expected to make an accurate statement gave figures rounded off at fives and tens.
Of the 1931-census in India the figures relating to ages were published in separate year-groups for the populations of the Punjab,Chingleput (Madras), and of Madras City, and the shape of this population pyramid was one with long spurs for all the figures ending in 5 or 0. The tens enjoyed an even more extreme preference than the fives.(Wertheim 1955). This phenomenon was noticed in India, because this was the only Asiatic country, which in its census expressed ages in years.
In South American countries the same thing occurs, but not so pointedly as in India.
The tendency to round off ages is also to be noticed in the case of the Minahassers, the Sangiresians, the Talauds and the Ambonesians, but only on a modest scale.
Of the areas where the age-figures were non-significant because of unreliability as it was e.g. The case in the D.I. Jogjakarta, only the figures for the three age-groups mentioned earlier are know.
The first group, children that did not yet walk, were in the opinion of the census-officials from 15 to 18 months old at the outside. It comprised from 5 to 6 per cent. Of the population.
It was extremely difficult to distinguish the second group-that of further non-adults-from the third. In the case of girls the criterion was nubility, which came about at about 14 or 15 years. In the case of boys the criterion was the ability to work. Arrived at when they were 16-17, so that the group of male non-adults was larger in all areas than the group of non-adults girls.
In some districts where nubility was probably arrived at younger than average such as Bali and Sumba, the group of female non-adults is smaller than in the remaining districts.
In regions where out ward indications such as the ceremonial celebration of the first menstruation or the filling of teeth occurred, the boundary-line between adults and non-adults gave no difficulty.
The 1930 data concerning the gradation of ages among the Indonesian population are shown in table III-2.
On investigating the gradation of ages among the various race-groups in Java, it appeared that the size of the age-groups was practically the same everywhere.
Only in the smaller immigrant-groups the figures are slightly different.
In 1908 Kerkkamp had already drawn attention to the practically constant ratio between the number of boys and the number of adult men, and that between the number of girls and adult women, to be noticed in the figures of the census taken in Java in the latter part of the 19th century.
The value and meaning of the data about the division into age-groups, which was somewhat rough, it is true, became more apparent later on as a result of Wertheim’s work. He pointed out the fact that the group of non=adults, not only on Java and in Indonesia, but a also in other countries, which were in rapid social change, made up a relatively large part of the total population. A high birth-rate and a great mortality results in a small number of elderly people. A population pyramid with a wide base and a slender apex as was the case in the age-pyramids of fig. 4 – 9, represents a population with a gradation of this kind.
Wertheim worte: ‘It is a well-nigh universal characteristic of under-developed countries of population-groups that the proportion of the young, those under the age of fifteen, is about forty per cent of the population, or even exceeding this figure”..”In rural districts on Java, where in 1930 over 90% of the total Indonesian population was living, the phenomenon was more pronounced than in the cities and other immigration districts, where the proportion of adults is appreciably higher,”
When we consider the figures of the last and accurate census in Indonesia of 1930, paying particular attention to the age-groups among the female population, where the nubility-limit was estimated at 15, we see that most of these figures approach and occasionally even exceed 40 per cent..
he slightly lower figures for Bali and Sumba have already been pointed out above. Previous publications, giving data about age-gradation in Java, also mentioned and average of about 40 as the percentage of the age=group of non-adults until fifteen years old.
The data for 1845 derived form Bleeker and the census-1920 are collected in table III-3.

Table III – 2
Size and proportion of the first and second age-group of the Indonesian population at the census 1930 and of the Javaness population in 1920.

Size and proportion of the first

Table III – 3

Size and proportion of the age-group

The 1845-figures from a count composed of figures supplied by the lurah desas, and were looked upon as largely correct by the experts of those days. Only the figures for Jogjakarta, Surakarta, and Madura appeared to be unreliable. And have therefore not been taken into account.
For purposes of comparison the figures of the 1920 census for about the same provinces have been added in a parallel column. The boundaries of the administrative units were altered between 1845 and 1920, so that the comparison is not entirely exact.
Moll’s investigation of the Tjomal district in Java, published in 1914, which also gives data about the gradation of ages, states 39.8 as the percentage of the non-adult group.
As a criterion for distinguishing adults from non-adults he used the ability to work. At the time of his investigation the population of the Tjomal district was 13,672. When acquainting ourselves with the ratio between the non-adult group and that of the total population in countries outside Indonesia, which are in rapid social change, and about which data are available, we do find that the percentage 40 occurs time and again. A number of these recent data are collected in table III – 4.

Table III – 4
Size of the age-group 0 – 14 year of the population of 10 Asian, 7 African and 13 Central and Latin American countries according to the most recent data available.

Size of the age-group

1) The countries marked by 1) have census-figures, in which the age-group
0-4 years is smaller than or of the same-size as the 5-9 age-group,
probably by under enumeration. The age-group 0-14 years figures in these
countries are influenced by this.

The countries of Africa, Asia, South-and Central-America, about which recent data are available, practically all have this high percentage of non-adults. The percentage of non-adults among the Japanese population is conspicuously lower. Modern Japan differs in more respects from the above countries, so cannot be properly compared to those which started their rapid social change later.
The figures for the European countries differ substantially with those mentioned above. The figures of the age-group 0-14 years for European and North-American countries range from 21.5% (Belgium), 22.5% (England and Wales) to 29.9% (Netherlands), 30.5% (Finland, Yugoslavia), 31.3% (Canada).
All the data concerned have been derived from the publications of the W.H.O.-’Vital statistics 1947-1954”. published from 1952 to 1957. Besides these figures computed from the official data supplied by the respective governments, we also find some more figures available from demographic literature cited by Wertheim (1955). These figures concern Madagascar (1952), South-Africa (Bantus) (1953), South-Rhodesia (1948) and Ruanda-Urundi (1953) and all these figures of the 0-14 year age group of these populations vary between 39.4% (Madagascar) and 45% (Ruanda-Urundi).
The most recent data about the gradation of ages in the population of Jogjakarta data from 1955.
In preparation of the general election of parliamentary representatives and members of the Constituency, the citizens who had a right to vote were registered throughout the country in 1954 and 1955 by a commission specially appointed for this purpose. The age when franchise was granted was fixed at 18. An exact civil administration not yet being available, this age-limit is necessarily aimed at and not some-thing exact.
From the data of the registration it is possible to give an estimate of the age-groups 0-17, and 18 and over, in 1955.
Table III-5 shows the data obtained kabupatenwise. The number of voters, the group of eighteen-years-old and older, is expressed in percentages of the total population registered in the four kabupatens and the town. The figures for the total population of the kabupaten we obtained form the chief of the Civil Registration Office. D.I. Jogjakarta. The election of parliamentary representatives being held in September 1955, and this being the first occasion that the electors exercised their votes, we used not these September figures, but those for the election of Constituent Assembly of December 55. We used these December figures on the assumption that errors were put right, and that possibly additions of non-registered voters were made. The proportion of the age-group of 18 and older was computed from the

Table III – 5
Size of the age-group 0-17 years of the Jogjakarta.
Population in the 4 Kabupatens and the town of Jogjakarta computed from the election figures.
December 1955

Size of the age-group 0-17 years of the Jogjakarta

total population registered in the kabupaten on December 31, 1955.
The group which has our greater interest is the age-group 0-17 years. This was arrived at by subtracting the number of those who had the full right to vote from that of the total population. Its percentage of the total population varied from 43.9 to 48.9 per cent. The group of 0-14-year-olds can be estimated from these figures. It is three year-classes smaller, the 15-,16-, and 17-year-olds having been left out. If we estimate the total of these three year-classes at about 6-7 per cent. Of the total population, we arrive at a total of about 40 per cent. For the 0-14-year-age-group. This estimate of 6-7% of the probable size of the age-group 15-16-17-year is made according to the figures of the Minahassa-, Sangir-, Talaud-and Ambon population (Census 1930).
In these population the age-group 15-17 years constitute 5.6-6.9% of the male population and 5.8-7.5% of the female population.

Possible sources of errors are:

a) Deficient registration of electors
As the interest in the elections was very great, the likelihood of this seems small.
b) Indistinct boundary between the two age-groups, owing to the diffeculty of verifying them.
c) Deficient registration of the total population. Probably registration in the desas of the 0-18-year olds was less efficient than that of adults.
d) Those who were married but were not yet 18 years of age had a right to vote, as they were looked upon as adults, It does not seem likely that, because of this rule, the number of people added to the group 18 and older amounts much.

With a view to the question whether Wertheim’s 40%-test is useful for our guidance in the matter of age-groups within the population of the Dearah Istimewa Jogjakarta we want to consider the following:

  1. When we examine the figures available for the countries with rapid social change, the part of the population under fifteen appeared to comprise about 40% as Wertheim posited.
  2. In the Indonesian census of 1930 this proportion was also found proctically everywhere in that country.
  3. The proportions of non-adults which were found in Java in 1920 and in 1930 also confirm Wertheim assertion. (cf. Table III-2).
  4. The data about the size of the group 0-17-year-olds in the D.I.Jogjakarata indicate that the group of 0-14-year-olds comprises about 40% of the total population.
  5. The most recent figures of surveys made in different places in West-Java, also showed this ratio between non-adults and the total population. A 25% random- sample-survey made from 15-31 July, 1956 in the sub-district Senen, an urban area in the city of Djakarta, proved 38.5% of the population to be under 15. For the Indonesian part of the population it was 37.9%, and for the Chinese 39.6% (Indonesian citizens only were taken into account). From further data resulting from this survey it appeared that Djakarta is a much frequented immigration- area. One of the results of this Senen-survey (1956) at Djakarta was the age- pyramid of the population (fig.9). In the report is not written the manner in which the age could be so accurately ascertained, because in the last census this proved to be an impossibility in Java. What circumstances made this possible in Djakarta was unfortunately not analysed. From Heeren’s publication of 1955 it was know that about 33% of the inhabitants of Djakarta had settled there after 1950.

Fig. 10.
Age-pyramid of the Javanese-population in the district Kraton, Jogjakarta, 1958.

Age-pyramid of the Javanese-population in the district Kraton,Jogjakarta, 1958.

A full survey comprising all the inhabitants of two kelurahans in the neighbourhood of the town of Tjikarang made from 4-14 March, 1957, showed there existed in this rural population of 4,319, a ratio of 43.8% between non-adults up to 15 year and the total of the inhabitants. The population of the two desas checked appeared to consist for 95% of Indonesians and for 5% of Chinese Indonesians These desas are situated east of Djakarta on the motorway to Tjirebon, West-Java.
In a 25% random-sample-survey made in July 1956 in the semi-rural part of the village of Andir, built on to the city of Bandung, the percentage of non-adults up to fifteen years of age also appeared to be ± 40% of the inhabitants checked. Here 41.9% of the total population was under fifteen. The people involved in the investigation numbered 6,240 (Indonesians 96%, Chinese Indonesians 3%).
In January 1955 a survey was made in the desa of Djabres, in the kabupaten Kebumen of the province of Central-Java. A total of 879 inhabitants was counted in this desa, practically all of them Javanese. The density of the population was high viz. 1022 people per square kilometre. Under sixteen appeared to be 43.5% of the total population. As to the division into age-groups, babies in their first year of life had been set apart, and a further division into groups of five years was made, so that it was impossible to compute the group of non-adults up to and inclusive of the 15th year of life as a percentage of the total desa-population.
In a full survey in part of Tanah Tinggi, situated in the Salemba area of Djakarta, made in the period March-May 1957, it was found that 39.1% of this population of 7878 was under 15. The area had been selected for hygienic investigations. Also in this part of Salemba there was large-scale immigration, just as it was found in the Senen area. Eighty-seven per cent. Of the population was Indonesian, and 9.2% Indonesian of Chinese descent.
A small survey in one of the central districts of the town of Jogjakarta, made in July 1958 proved that the percentage of the population formed by the 0-14 years age-group was 33%. In this district of Jogjakarta, calld Kraton, special circumstances occurred, In this district live many hundreds of students and secondary school-pupils just in the neighbourhood of the Gadjah Mada University. The adult group of the district population increased substantially by this student-immigration. In this way the percentage of the population, formed by non-adults is lower than it should be without this immigration. The age-pyramid of the population, implicated in this survey (5,337 persons) is given in fig. 10. The “student-spur” is very marked (age-group 15-29 years) in this figure.
I am convinced that finding this almost constant 40% proportion of non-adult in the population of countries in rapid social change cannot be a coincidence but must be a property peculiar to the age-gradation of these peoples. If this percentage is used for calculating the number of non-adults in the four kabupatens of the D.I. Jogjakarta, and in the city of Jogjakarta, the number obtained should indicate the approximate size of this group of the population.