Author: Terence Hull
Since the announcement of preliminary results from the 2010 population census, various observers and commentators have emphasised the threat of a population explosion, complaining about the reduced emphasis on family planning since the main responsibility for this was devolved to local governments in 2001. For example, simple extrapolation of the current apparent growth rate suggests a doubling of the population to nearly 470 million people in the next 50 years. Before becoming carried away by these alarmist concerns, it is necessary to ask whether the most recently estimated growth rate is accurate, and whether it is sensible to assume that the current growth rate, whatever it may be, will in fact be maintained so far into the future.
Terry Hull’s note provides a critical perspective on the preliminary results of the 2010 population census, which were announced by President Yudhoyono on 16 August 2010. It explores the concepts of population used and the adjustments made to increase the accuracy of census estimates. The assumptions underlying various official population projections in the last decade produced estimates for mid-2010 that were substantially below the figure of over 237 million persons counted in May. The note argues that, far from reflecting a ‘population explosion’, this is due to the achievement in the 2010 census of greatly increased coverage of people residing in Indonesia on the census date. It is to be hoped that this success will not have the perverse effect of encouraging a large, unwarranted increase in spending on family planning. (Ed.)
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