For the past three decades, Indonesia has made significant progress in economic and human development, which has resulted in better health conditions and longer life expectancy, creating a growing population of older people.
Situation of older people
The number of older people is growing: Globally, Indonesia has the fifth-largest elderly population in the world. In 2012, there were nearly 21 million older people. Life expectancy has increased dramatically, from 45 in 1970 to 69.2 for males and 73.6 for women in 2019. At the same time, the birth rate has declined, resulting in an ageing population. It is estimated that by the year 2050, older persons aged 60+ in Indonesia will reach 21.1% of the total population.
Older people struggle with poverty: Indonesia has made progress on reducing poverty but many people remain poor and vulnerable. Around 32.5 million Indonesians currently live below the poverty line. Indonesia ranked 116 out of 189 countries on the latest United Nations Human Development Index in 2018 and is categorized as having a medium level of human development. However, Indonesia is still below the regional average when compared with others countries in East Asia and the Pacific. Only 25% of older persons receive an old age pension, while 75% who work in the non-formal sector have no old age security at all.
Older people need care and support: Older women in Indonesia are particularly vulnerable as they have less access to education, lower earnings, and are subject to discrimination and exclusion from decision-making processes within households and communities. According to the latest World Social Protection Report 2017-19, only 14% of people older than the statutory pensionable age in Indonesia receive an old-age pension (contributory, noncontributory or both) emphasising the vulnerability.
Rural areas are particularly disadvantaged: Population ageing varies among Indonesian provinces due to variations in fertility and rising life expectancy. Around half the population lives in rural areas, where agriculture is the main source of income. Millions of small farmers, farm workers and fishers are unable to tap into opportunities presented by the country’s broader economic growth as they are often geographically isolated and lack access to agricultural extension services, markets and financial services.
Below are the key statistics on Indonesia’s population of older people:
|Population aged 60 and above (total)||27,524,000||69,792,000|
|Population aged 60 and above (% of total population)||10.1||21.1|
|Life expectancy (males)||69.29||74.89|
|Life expectancy (females)||73.63||79.47|
|Old-Age Dependency Ratio (Age 65+ / Age 15-64)||9.2||24.5|
|Rural older people (% of total population)||8.87|
|Urban older people (% of total population)||8.29|
|Older persons living alone aged 60 and above (% of total population aged 60+)||8.5|
|Older women (aged 60+) as a percentage of the total population||5.32||11.45|
Government policies related to older people
- Presidential Decree on the National Day of Older Persons, 29 May 1996
- Legislation on the Social Welfare of older persons, Law no 13, 1998
- Presidential Decree no 52, 2004 on the National Commission Ageing
- Legislation on People’s Welfare, Law no 11, 2009
- National Plan of Action on Ageing, 2003-2008 (renewed every 5 years)
- National Social Security System Legislation no. 40 / 2004
- Minister of Home Affairs Decree no. 60/2008 on Formation of Regional Commission on Ageing
- Legislation on Health Care no 23/1992 and Legislation no 36/2009
- National Social Security System, Legislation no 40/2004
National Policy for the Elderly: The social protection programme for persons working in the informal sector was established to protect against vulnerability, provide assurance in case of illness, and be sustainable in order to gain community support. The National Plan of Action for Older Person Welfare aims to develop an age-friendly environment, empower the elderly in professional settings with training and education, and promote participation from the elderly in families and communities.
Health and care: The Indonesian government has addressed the issues of older people’s well-being with the National Plan of Action for Older Person Welfare Guidelines, which is designed to increase access to primary health care, encourage a healthy diet and physical activity, increase early detection of risk factors to health such as cholesterol, and increase referral services in geriatric clinics and hospitals.
Older people’s associations: There are many social institutions throughout Indonesia to provide day care services, home care services and social services for the elderly, to protect standards of living.
Social pension: There is a Provident Fund and Social Insurance system in Indonesia. The social security system covers employees in establishments with 10+ employees or a monthly payroll of at least 1 million rupiah. Voluntary contributions are available for those who are self-employed. Public sector and military personnel are covered by special systems. 85% of the population in Indonesia are not covered by any pension scheme. 0.1% are covered by an attempt of a social pension, which provides extremely vulnerable elderly such as bedridden and chronically ill, and those who are neglected and have no independence, but requirements and means-testing means a minute percentage of the population receive money from this scheme.
The following are publications and resources related to Indonesia’s older population.
- Emergency responses in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam
- Community based homecare for older people in South East Asia
- Ageing Monographs (UNFPA Indonesia)
More information can be found on the following websites:
Our network member and partners
- Yayasan Emong Lansia
- YAKKUM Emergency Units (YEU)
- Indonesia Research on Ageing (InresAge)
- Alzheimer Indonesia
- Survey Meter
- GNLP (Gerakan Nasional Peduli Lansia)
BPS. 2012. Statistical Yearbook of Indonesia. Jakarta: Badan Pusat Statistik.
HelpAge International. 2012. Ageing in the 21st Century: A Celebration and A Challenge. New York: UNFPA.
HelpAge International, 2015. Policy Mapping on Ageing in Asia and the Pacific Analytical Report, Chiang Mai: HelpAge International East Asia/Pacific Regional Office.
International Labour Organization. 2018. World Social Protection Report 2017–19. Geneva ILO.
Pension Watch. 2016. Country Fact File: Indonesia. [Online] Available at: http://www.pension-watch.net/pensions/country-fact-file/indonesia-[Accessed 5 August 2019]
UNDESA. 2000. Health and Well-Being in Older Age. New York: United Nations.
United Nations. 2014. Urban and Rural Population by Age and Sex, 1980-2015. Retrieved from Urban and Rural Population: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/dataset/urban/urbanAndRuralPopulationByAgeAndSex.asp
United Nations. 2017. Living Arrangements of Older Persons: A Report on an Expanded International Dataset. New York: United Nations.
United Nations. 2019. World Population Prospects 2019. Retrieved from United Nations Population Division: https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/Standard/Population/