There are 1,340[1][2] recognised ethnic groups in Indonesia. The vast majority of those belong to the Austronesian peoples, with a sizeable minority being Melanesians.[3][4][5][6] Indonesia has the world's largest number of Austronesians and Melanesians.

Based on ethnic classification, the largest ethnic group in Indonesia is the Javanese who make up about 40% of the total population. The Javanese are concentrated on the island of Java, particularly in the central and eastern parts. It is also the largest ethnic group in Southeast Asia. The Sundanese are the next largest group; their homeland is located in the western part of the island of Java and the southern edge of Sumatra. The Sunda Strait is named after them.[7] The Malays, Batak, Madurese, Betawi, Minangkabau, and Bugis are the next largest groups in the country.[8]

Many ethnic groups, particularly in Kalimantan and Papua, have only hundreds of members. Most of the local languages belong to the Austronesian language family, although a significant number of people, particularly in eastern Indonesia, speak unrelated Papuan languages. Indonesians of Chinese, Arab and Indian descent each make up less than 3% of the total Indonesian population.[8]

The classification of ethnic groups in Indonesia is not rigid and in some cases unclear due to migrations, cultural and linguistic influences; for example, some may consider the Bantenese to be members of the Sundanese people; however, others argue that they are different ethnic groups altogether since they have their own distinct dialects. This is also the case with the Baduy people, who share many cultural similarities with the Sundanese people. An example of hybrid ethnicity is the Betawi people, descended not only from marriages between different peoples native to Indonesia, but also intermarriages with Arab, Chinese and Indian migrants since the era of colonial Batavia (modern-day Jakarta).



Number and percentage of population of ethnic groups with more than a million members according to the 2010 census.[9][a]

Ethnic group Population (millions) Percentage Main regions
Javanese 95.217 40.06 Bengkulu, East Java, East Kalimantan, Central Java, Jambi, Lampung, North Sumatra, Riau, South Sumatra, Yogyakarta
Sundanese 36.705 15.51 Banten, Jakarta, West Java
Malay 8.754 3.70 Bangka-Belitung Islands, Bengkulu, Jambi, North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan
Batak 8.467 3.58 North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jakarta
Madurese 7.179 3.03 East Java
Betawi 6.808 2.88 Banten, Jakarta, West Java
Minangkabau 6.463 2.73 Riau, West Sumatra
Buginese 6.415 2.71 Central Sulawesi, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, West Sulawesi
Bantenese 4.642 1.96 Banten
Banjarese 4.127 1.74 South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan
Balinese 3.925 1.66 Bali
Acehnese 3.404 1.44 Aceh
Dayak 3.220 1.36 Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, West Kalimantan
Sasak 3.175 1.34 West Nusa Tenggara
Chinese Indonesian 2.833 1.20 Bangka-Belitung Islands, North Sumatra, Jakarta, Riau, Riau Islands, West Kalimantan, North Coast of Central Java, East Java, Yogyakarta
Makassarese 2.673 1.13 South Sulawesi
Cirebonese 1.878 0.79 West Java
Lampungese 1.376 0.58 Lampung
Palembangese 1.252 0.53 South Sumatra
Gorontaloan 1.252 0.53 Gorontalo
Minahasan 1.240 0.52 North Sulawesi
Nias 1.042 0.44 North Sumatra


The proportions of Indonesian ethnic groups according to the (2000 census) are as follows.[10] Some ethnic groups which are now recognized as being distinct were subsumed under larger umbrella groups up until 2001. Since the 2010 census, they are counted separately.

Ethnic group Population (million) Percentage Main regions
Javanese 92.24 42.00 Central Java, East Java, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, North Sumatra, South Sumatra, Bengkulu, Lampung
Sundanese 30.978 15.41 West Java, Banten, Jakarta, Lampung
Malay 6.946 3.45 Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jambi, South Sumatra, Bangka–Belitung Islands, West Kalimantan
Madurese 6.772 3.37 Madura Island, East Java
Batak 6.076 3.02 North Sumatra, Aceh, West Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jakarta
Minangkabau 5.475 2.72 West Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jakarta
Betawi 5.042 2.51 Jakarta, Banten, West Java
Buginese 5.010 2.49 South Sulawesi, South East Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, East Kalimantan
Acehnese 4.419 2.05 Aceh
Bantenese 4.113 2.05 Banten
Banjarese 3.496 1.74 South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan
Balinese 3.028 1.51 Bali
Chinese Indonesian 2.832 1.20 North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, West Kalimantan, Jakarta, Bangka–Belitung Islands
Sasak 2.611 1.17 West Nusa Tenggara
Makassarese 1.982 0.99 South Sulawesi
Minahasan 1.900 0.96 North Sulawesi, Gorontalo
Cirebonese 1.890 0.94 West Java, Central Java
Map showing ethnic groups native to Indonesia. Ethnic groups of foreign origin such as Chinese, Arabs and Indians are not shown, but usually inhabit urban areas.

Indigenous ethnic groups

Main article: Pribumi

Palembang, one of the ethnic groups in Indonesia which belongs to the Austronesian family
Marind, one of the ethnic groups in Indonesia which belongs to the Melanesian family

Most ethnic groups are indigenous to certain regions of Indonesia. Due to migration within Indonesia (as part of government transmigration programs or otherwise), significant proportions of those ethnic groups reside outside of their traditional regions.

Non-indigenous ethnicities

Throughout Indonesian history, various ethnic groups of foreign origin spread throughout Indonesia in several migration waves, and usually established themselves in urban centres, seldom settling rural parts of the country.


According to the United Nations, there were 355,505 international migrants in Indonesia in 2020. Their most common countries of origin were as follows:

International migrants in Indonesia in 2020
 South Korea
 United Kingdom
 United States
Source: "International Migrant Stock 2020: Destination and origin". United Nations. 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2023.

See also



  1. ^ Ethnic classification follows the New Classification presented in Ananta et al. 2015, based on raw data from the 2010 census.


  1. ^ Na'im, Akhsan; Syaputra, Hendry (2011). "Nationality, Ethnicity, Religion, and Languages of Indonesians" (PDF) (in Indonesian). Statistics Indonesia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Mengulik Data Suku di Indonesia" (in Indonesian). Statistics Indonesia. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  3. ^ Taylor 2003, pp. 5–7.
  4. ^ Witton 2003, pp. 139, 181, 251, 435.
  5. ^ Dawson, B.; Gillow, J. (1994). The Traditional Architecture of Indonesia. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-500-34132-2.
  6. ^ Truman Simanjuntak; Herawati Sudoyo; Multamia R.M.T. Lauder; Allan Lauder; Ninuk Kleden Probonegoro; Rovicky Dwi Putrohari; Desy Pola Usmany; Yudha P.N. Yapsenang; Edward L. Poelinggomang; Gregorius Neonbasu (2015). Diaspora Melanesia di Nusantara (in Indonesian). Direktorat Sejarah, Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan, Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan. ISBN 978-602-1289-19-8. Archived from the original on 25 December 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2022. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)
  7. ^ Ananta, Aris (29 April 2016). Demography of Indonesia's Ethnicity. Flipside Digital Content Company Inc. ISBN 978-981-4695-94-7.
  8. ^ a b Suryadinata, Leo; Arifin, Evi Nurvidya; Ananta, Aris (2003). Indonesia's Population: Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 9789812302120.
  9. ^ Ananta et al. 2015, pp. 119–122.
  10. ^ Leo Suryadinata, Evi Nurvidya Arifin, Aris Ananta; Indonesia's Population: Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing Political Landscape, 2003
  11. ^ Beets, Gijs; van Imhoff, Evert (2004). "A Demographic History of The Indo-Dutch Population, 1930–2001" (PDF). Journal of Population Research. 21 (1): 47–72. doi:10.1007/BF03032210. S2CID 53645470. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 May 2019.