Indonesia’s population census to go digital next year. Statistics Indonesia (BPS) is to employ smartphones, tablets and the central government’s population database for the first time in the agency’s 59-year history to more efficiently execute next year’s Population Census, which is conducted only once every decade.
BPS head Suhariyanto said citizens would be able to fill in personal data through a website (sensus.bps.go.id/) instead of waiting for door-to-door agency officials or going to regional BPS offices, as was done in previous years.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, you could use your smartphones to fill in your own data. If that doesn’t work, an official will visit your home with a tablet or smartphone. This approach is especially useful for reaching isolated regions,” said Suhariyanto in his presentation at a big data convention in Jakarta on Aug. 28.
BPS’ deputy for statistics distribution and services, Yunita Rusanti, told The Jakarta Post separately that the agency had budgeted about Rp5 trillion (US$353.78 million) to execute next year’s census. The budget is greater than the Rp3.3 trillion allocated for the 2010 census.
“We’ve been making preparations and maps for the census since last year and it’s quite an extraordinary cost so most of our funds are absorbed by the census,” she said.
Media reports show that BPS officials are currently touring the country, visiting local administrative offices, schools and agencies, to encourage active participation in the census.
Next year’s census is to collect a massive amount of important demographic data on the country’s more than 260 million citizens, such as their religion, gender, age, address and employment status, among 16 such data points. Yet it excludes ethnicity, according to the BPS’ website.
The 2010 census, for instance, showed that the Indonesian population was predominantly male (50.34 percent), Javanese (40.22 percent) and Muslim (87.18 percent). It also showed that 57.49 percent of Indonesians live on Java Island, which is why the government decided to locate the new capital elsewhere.
Suhariyanto added that the BPS would work with the Home Affairs Ministry, particularly the Population and Civil Registry Directorate General, to undertake the census, which both bodies agreed “belongs to all Indonesia” instead of to individual government institutions.
Suhariyanto was referring to the fact that different state institutions often produced different data on similar issues because of their different methodologies. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo sought to address the problem in June by issuing Presidential Regulation No. 39 for a “one data” Indonesia.
The issuance of the regulation, which mandates that all state institutions match their statistics, pushed the BPS to use data from the ministry’s population database as its “base data” for next year’s census. In preceding censuses, the agency generated base data from scratch.
“BPS data says Indonesia’s population is 266 million. Ministry data says 265 million. This sort of data discrepancy between our institutions will be no more,” said the ministry’s Population and Civil Registry Director General Zudan Arif Fakrulloh.
The base data, which is stored in ministry-owned servers that have a capacity of 835 terabytes, would then be cross-checked with data collected by the BPS website. If the agency detects inconsistencies, it is to send officials into the field to verify information.
“We’re making a jump in 2020 when we will combine registration and data matching in the field. This is the first time in Indonesian history,” said Zudan. Indonesia’s population census to go digital next year (Norman Harsono, The Jakarta Post)