Home Info Statistics on Ethnic Diversity in the Land of Papua, Indonesia

Statistics on Ethnic Diversity in the Land of Papua, Indonesia


In Indonesia, the decentralization process since 1999 has brought the government closer to the people, but it also pushed a rising number of ‘district centred’ policies1 and awareness of ethnic identity. However, the degree of the relationship between ethnic diversity and development varies depending on political, social and economic situations as well as bureaucratic system. This relationship is also sometimes accompanied by inter‐ethnic conflict and demand for separation from Republic of Indonesia, particularly in the province of Aceh and Land of Papua (Goebel 2013).

The Land of Papua is one of Indonesian regions where ethno‐based movement has been on the rise. Other regions include Aceh, Riau, Maluku and Bali (Gayatri 2010). The political situation between the Government and those who want to separate from Indonesia in the Land of Papua is often very tense (Singh 2008; Widjojo 2010). Furthermore, tensions in the Land of Papua also occur because of many other issues such as migration, human rights, exploitation of natural resources and loss of cultural heritage.

The Land of Papua is a multi‐ethnic, multi‐linguistic, and multi‐religious region with a high influx of migration. As shown in Ananta et al. (2015), the Land of Papua has the largest number of local ethnic groups, at least 261 ethnic groups, among all big islands in Indonesia. Therefore, as discussed in Tirtosudarmo (2014), examination on how migration affects ethnic diversity has been one important aspect in understanding political and economic development in the Land of Papua.

The Land of Papua consists of two provinces: West Papua and Papua. Ananta et al. (2015) found that the province of West Papua is ethnically heterogeneous as its largest ethnic group (Javanese) contributes only 14.76 per cent, less than 20.0 per cent; while the province of Papua, ethnically almost heterogeneous, with its largest ethnic group (Dani) forming 23.32 per cent, between 20.00 and 39.90 per cent.2 Furthermore, Table 1 shows that the 25th largest ethnic group in West Papua is a very small ethnic group, contributing only 0.9 per cent to total population in the province. Yet, the ‘others’ (the remaining groups) is still large, 18.60 per cent, meaning that there are still many very small groups, each contributing a maximum of 0.90 per cent. Similarly, as indicated in Table 2, the ‘others’ in Papua is also large, 15.39 per cent, while the 25th largest one (the Yaghay) is also very small, 0.76 per cent.

Table 1. Ethnic Composition by Sex: Province of West Papua, 2010

Table 2. Ethnic Composition by Sex: Province of Papua, 2010

2. Ethnicity and Indonesian Population Censuses

The discussion on ethnicity had been a political taboo since Indonesia’s independence in 1945 until the end of New Order Era (1998). As a consequence, there had been no detailed and comprehensive statistics on ethnicity in the whole Indonesia since the first one in 1930, before independence, until 2000. The Governments in Reform Era (after 1998) broke the tradition. They allowed the Statistics‐Indonesia to collect and publish statistics on ethnicity in Indonesia (including those in the Land of Papua) in their 2000 and 2010 population censuses. Furthermore, the collection of the information on ethnicity is a census, not a survey, implying that these data collections have sufficiently large numbers of observations, which have much smaller sampling errors than those conducted in surveys, especially small surveys. The 100 per cent sampling in the censuses also means that the data at the district level are even still sufficiently large to represent the condition at the district level.

As in all quantitative surveys and censuses, the information on ethnicity is based on a self‐identification concept. The respondents are free to identify themselves with whatever they like to identify, and the interviewers cannot intervene. In other words, the concept of ethnicity is very fluid. The answer to the question can change quickly depending on the contexts of the respondents.

An advantage of this concept is that it is likely to produce a consistent and reproducible data set, that two different interviewers should get the same information from a given respondent. A limitation of the data from the Indonesian censuses is that it only provided each respondent with one choice of ethnicity. With more interactions of people in the Land of Papua, Indonesia, and the world, a respondent may identify himself or herself with more than one ethnic group. This multiple option is likely to be available in the future, 2020, population census.

At the same time, the published data on ethnicity from Statistics‐Indonesia need to be classified to make them more meaningful. The data collected and published by Statistics‐Indonesia are ethnic categories, not necessarily ethnic groups.

There are many names that actually refer to one ethnic group. Without a classification, those different names may be seen as different ethnic groups. For example, there are several other names for Asmat ethnic group: Betch‐Mbup, Brazza, Cicak, Citak Mitak and Kaunak. These six names actually refer to the same one ethnic group.

There are also ethnic groups with some different spellings. An example is Mey Barat ethnic group. The census recorded this ethnic group in two different codes, with one as Mey Brat and another one as Meibarat. Actually, they are one same ethnic group. Without a classification, these two names are regarded as two different ethnic groups.

Furthermore, there are also some seemingly different ethnic groups, but they are actually sub‐ethnic groups of one ethnic group. The Asmat ethnic group, for example, has several sub‐ethnic groups such as Bisman, Eman Ducur, Joerat, Kaimo, Safan and Simai. These names have different codes in the 2010 population census, but they are actually one ethnic group, the Asmat. Without a classification, each of them will be regarded as a different ethnic group.

Therefore, with the results of the 2010 population census, Ananta et al. (2015) made a comprehensive classification of ethnic groups. Rather than only working with the published data, Ananta et al. analysed the tabulation provided by Statistics‐Indonesia based on the complete, 100 per cent, raw data set of the 2010 population census. They produced the ‘New Classification of Ethnic Groups’, by carrying out a detailed examination of the raw data, enriched with thorough sociological and anthropological literature studies on ethnicity as well as local expertises.

Therefore, this classification has been very important for any study on ethnicity in Indonesia, including in the Land of Papua. This article uses the ‘New Classification of Ethnic Groups’ to calculate statistics of ethnic diversity in the Land of Papua, for both provinces, as well as for the districts in the two provinces. It calculates the statistics for each district directly from the tabulation provided by Statistics‐Indonesia.

3. The Land of Papua: Geography and the People

The Island of New Guinea is the second largest island in the world, after Greenland. This island contains two different regions. First is the Land of Papua, which is part of the Republic of Indonesia. The second is another country, the Papua New Guinea. This article discusses the Land of Papua only, located in the most eastern part of Indonesia.

Racially, the indigenous population of Papua are of Melanesian heritage. However, the official definition stated that the indigenous Papuans are ‘… people who come from the Melanesian racial family, consisting of the original ethnic groups in the province of Papua and/or people who are accepted and acknowledged as indigenous Papuan by the Papuan customary (adat) community’.

As described in Widjojo (2010), the ‘Melanesian’ is often perceived as people with ‘black’ skin and ‘curly’ hair. However, these criteria are only applicable in the highlands. In the coastal areas and communities having historical inter‐ethnic marriages with groups from outside Land of Papua, such criteria become unclear. That is why the law added ‘people who are accepted and acknowledged as indigenous Papuans by the Papuan customary community’. Yet, Widjojo maintained that the phrase ‘Papuan customary community’ was neither clear, even for the member of the Papuan Customary Council (DAP).

After Indonesia’s independence in 1945, the President of Indonesia, Soekarno, called the western part of New Guinea, the one in the Indonesia’s territory, Irian Barat, which then became one of the provinces in Indonesia. The second president, Soeharto, changed the name into Irian Jaya. It was then changed into Papua, or Land of Papua (Tanah Papua), with the Law no. 21 in 2000, after the fall of Soeharto. In 2003, the province was split into two: Irian Jaya Barat and Irian Jaya. Then, the provinces become West Papua and Papua, respectively. The change of its name reflects a change from Indonesian nationalism (Irian) to Papuan nationalism (Papua) and a political symbol of state recognition of the indigenous Papuans.

The two natural‐resource endowed provinces are in paradox. In 2010, the provinces are richer in term of per capita regional GDP (with 35.35 million rupiah in West Papua and 30.98 million rupiah in Papua) than the national GDP (22.28 million rupiah). At the same time, the people in the Land of Papua are poorer than in Indonesia as a whole. In 2010, the poverty rates (34.88 per cent in West Papua and 36.80 per cent in Papua) are much higher than in Indonesia (13.33 per cent).

Furthermore, as argued in Widjojo (2010), the Papuans were marginalized in the Indonesian social world. The migrants, meaning that they are not Papuans, have been in better positions in term of culture, politics and economy. In addition, the rising flow of migrants from outside the Land of Papua have quantitatively reduced the proportion of Papuans and hence further marginalized the Papuans. As a result, the Papuans were trapped in disempowerment structurally and culturally.

4. Demography of the Land of Papua

In 2010, the population of the Land of Papua is only 3.59 million, contributing 1.51 per cent of Indonesia’s population. However, the Land of Papua contributes 21.78 per cent of total inhabitable land in Indonesia. Therefore, population density is very low, at about 8–9 persons per square kilometre, compared with 124 in Indonesia as a whole. Furthermore, the land area of the province of Papua is 319,036 sq.km, more than three times the one in the province of West Papua (97,024 sq.km). On the other hand, from 17,504 islands in the whole Indonesia, Papua contributes only 598 islands; but West Papua has 1945 islands.

The number of population in the province of Papua is 2.83 million, almost four times that in the province of West Papua (0.76 million). The Land of Papua is also the ‘land of men’, as the sex ratio is very high. In 2010, the Papua’s sex ratio is 113.4, meaning that in average there are 113.4 male population for every 100 female population in Papua. The sex ratio is similarly high in West Papua, at 112.4. Concurrently, the number of population has grown more rapidly in the province of Papua than that in the province of West Papua, 5.39 vs 3.71 per cent annually during 2000–2010.

The rapid population growth rates are mostly attributed by in‐migration to the provinces as the fertility rate in the Land of Papua is no longer very high. The TFR (total fertility rate) is already 3.18 in the province of West Papua and 2.87 in the province of Papua. Interestingly, the expectancy of life at birth is relatively high, at 70.2 in West Papua and 73.0 in Papua, and this high expectancy of life may contribute to the high population growth rate in the provinces. Net migration rates among the two provinces are positive, meaning that both provinces receive more in‐migrants than out‐migrants. However, the rates show a different magnitude. The net recent migration rate in West Papua is higher than that in Papua, 5.6 vs 1.1 per cent in 2005–2010 (Badan Pusat Statistik 2011).

As explained by Tirtosudarmo (2014), migration to the Land of Papua is not a new issue, it has occurred long before the arrival of Europeans. The Papuans have already experienced intensive interactions with people coming from nearby islands of Maluku for 10 to 15 thousand years. The interaction continued during the colonial period, particularly those conducted by the Kingdoms of Tidore and Ternate (since fifteenth century). In the twentieth century, the Buginese from South Sulawesi came to the Land of Papua, especially the western land as it is the closest to the outside world.

After 1970, the Government of Indonesia, under the New Order Rule, decided to make the Land of Papua one of the destinations of its ‘transmigration’ program, to move people from crowded Islands of Java and Bali to other islands. The transmigrants sent to the Land of Papua comprised people from various professions, including military and civilians. Most of the transmigrants are Javanese and mostly farmers.

Furthermore, with the improvement in transportation, spontaneous migration, especially from the island of Java, to the Land of Papua has also escalated. This kind of migration is not sponsored by the government, but by the people’s own initiative and financial resources. The transmigrants usually live in rural areas but the spontaneous migrants, in urban areas.

McGibbon (2004) concluded that this high influx of migration had displaced and dislocated Papuans, increasing Papuans’ sense of shared identity against the migrants. The Papuans worried that their cultural survival is being threatened. This in turn resulted in resentment among the locals and raised the demand for independence from Indonesia. Furthermore, in‐migration has also enhanced competition among the Papuans themselves, resulting in communal and tribal sentiments and conflicts. As described in Chauvel (2005) and Widjojo (2010), rivalry also occurred among the Papuans themselves. Inter‐tribal competition among the Papuans can be observed between coastal and mountain people and among communities of smaller traditional groups.

5. Measurements of Ethnic Diversity

This article uses three measurements of ethnic diversity: ethnic fractionalization index, ethnic polarization index and a comparison of percentages of migrant versus Papuan groups. The ethnic fractionalization index (EFI) is calculated, following Montalvo and Reynal‐Querol (2002), with the following formula.

where sij is the proportion of ethnic group i (i = 1…N) in region j.
Ethnic fractionalization index has a minimum of 0 for the least fractionalised and a maximum of 1 for the most fractionalised district. It is zero when it is a perfectly ethnically homogeneous society, with only one ethnic group in the society. It is one when the society is perfectly heterogeneous, where there are a very huge number of different ethnic groups. The higher the index, the higher is the degree of ethnic heterogeneity, or ethnic fractionalization, in the society. It shows the extent a society is split into several distinct ethnic groups.

The second measurement is the ethnic polarization index (EPOI), following the formula in Montalvo and Reynal‐Querol (2002).

where sij is the proportion of group i (i = 1…N) in region j.
EPOI examines the existence of two or few large ethnic groups with almost equal sizes. The index reaches a maximum of 1 when a region consists of two equally sized groups (50–50 composition). The EPOI declines as the groups differ further from half and half split. The higher the index, the more polarized is the region. A society is said to be polarized when there are only few different groups with almost same sizes. A society having only two similar sizes but very different groups is a very polarized society—it is the highest form of polarization. The two groups can be very antagonistic to each other. The index is related to an identification/alienation framework. It shows to what extent individuals identify with their own ethnic groups, amplifying the ‘difference’ between one ethnic group and the other. As EPOI is dealing more with ‘antagonism’, a higher degree of EPOI, rather than EFI, can be an indicator of potential intense conflict in the society.

The third measurement is a comparison between the percentage of the migrants as a whole and the Papuan as a whole, as the conflict can occur between these two groups. It examines whether they are of equal sizes, each between 40 and 60 per cent. The ethnic polarization is high, if each group is between 40 and 60 per cent.

6. Ethnic Diversity and Conflicts

Alesina and La Ferrara (2005) indicated that fractionalized societies tend to have poor policies and suffer from heavier political and social challenges. Yet, some fractionalized societies could do better than the more homogeneous societies in developing their societies. Indeed, ethnic fractionalization can be a potential for innovation and creativity. Campos and Kuzeyev (2007) showed that the issue is how the society can manage the conflict. As social groups have expanded, the social interaction in a society may become more complex and this interaction is a potential for more and new forms of conflicts. Furthermore, Ghosh et al. (2013) showed that democracy can compensate the potential negative impact of ethnic fractionalization. They concluded that, with democracy, ethnic fractionalization can contribute to economic growth.

Bleaney and Dimico (2009) also found that an ethnically fractionalized society is not necessarily experiencing internal conflicts, but ethnic polarization is more likely to result in internal conflict. However, Esteban et al. (2012) concluded that societies with high ethnic fractionalization index tend to suffer more conflicts, but not of high intensity. On the other hand, societies with higher ethnic polarization indexes have smaller probabilities of experiencing internal conflicts. Yet, once the conflicts occur, the intensity of the conflicts can be higher in a more ethnically polarized society. Masella (2013) summarized that a country with a high ethnic fractionalization index is likely to have political instability, and a country with a high ethnic polarization index tends to suffer from a civil conflict.

Nevertheless, as warned by Esteban et al. (2012), these two indexes only show potential conflicts. The reality of having the conflicts still depends on some other things, including political systems. Ethnic diversity is only one of some other important drivers of conflicts in the Land of Papua. In other words, these two indices are not the only determinants of having internal conflicts, but they are two important indices that can help making better social, economic and political policies.

7. Ethnic Diversity at the Provinces

7.1 Papuan and migrant groups

We use the words ‘Papuans’ and ‘Papuan groups’ to refer to the population who identify themselves with any ethnic group originally from the Land of Papua recorded in the 2010 population census. Furthermore, the information on Papuan‐ness is not related to whether or not a person is accepted as a Papuan. As mentioned earlier, the census applies a self‐identification concept to measure ethnicity. For example, if a respondent’s physical look is not a ‘typical’ feature of local ethnic groups, but the person claimed that he or she belongs to one of the Papuan groups, the census taker wrote down the ethnic category mentioned by the respondent, without clarifying whether the person had already been accepted as a Papuan. This may also apply to the second generation of migrants in this land, or the children of inter‐ethnic marriages. This deserves further studies and is beyond the scope of the article.

Similarly, the article uses the words ‘migrant groups’ to mean the respondents in the census who did not identify themselves with one of the local ethnic groups found in the census. This definition of ‘migrant groups’ does not regard whether the respondents have been living in the current residence for a short time, long time or that they were born in the Land of Papua. It simply refers to the respondents who did not claim that they were one of the ethnic groups originally from the Land of Papua.

7.2 Ethnic fractionalization

As calculated in Arifin et al. (2015), West Papua is the most fractionalized province in Indonesia with EFI at 0.95. Papua is also a highly ethnically fractionalized province with EFI at 0.91. Interestingly, shown in Table 1, the largest ethnic group in the province of West Papua is a migrant group, the Javanese. The three largest Papuan groups in West Papua are Arfak (second), Biak‐Numfor (third) and Ayfat (fourth). In addition to the Javanese, these Papuan groups live with other migrant groups as the fifth to the seventh largest and other Papuans at the eighth to the tenth. The eleventh is the Makassarese. Thus, Table 1 also shows that the influx of the so‐called BBM—the Buginese, Butonese and Makassarese—the shorthand of ethnic groups coming from the South Sulawesi to West Papua—is significant.

On the contrary, the Dani, a Papuan group, is the largest ethnic group in the province of Papua, followed by the Auwye/Mee, another Papuan group, making 11.32 per cent, much smaller than the first largest one. The third is, nevertheless, the Javanese. Biak‐Numfor, who introduced the Papuan identity, is the fourth largest ethnic group. The fifth to the seventh are also Papuans. Other migrant groups are Buginese, Toraja, Makassarese, Ambonese, Butonese, Kei and Minahasa. Unlike in West Papua, the BBM group does not account for a significant portion of the Papua’s population. See Table 2.

7.3 Ethnic polarization

The two provinces in the Land of Papua are not ethnically polarized. Arifin et al. (2015) calculated that the EPOI is only 0.19 for the province of West Papua and 0.29 for the province of Papua. In other words, though the Land of Papua is ethnically fractionalized, the diversity among all ethnic groups (migrants and Papuans) may not indicate a potential for high intensity of conflicts. On the other hand, seen from migrants versus Papuans, the province of West Papua is very polarized. As indicated in Table 3, the Papuans contributed 51.48 per cent, almost equal to the migrants, 48.51 per cent. This is different from the province of Papua, where the Papuans formed a much larger percentage, 76.31 per cent. Furthermore, variation at some districts, where their EPOIs are relatively high, should be anticipated as potential conflicts.

Table 3. EFI, EPOI, Name and Percentage of the Largest Ethnic Group, Percentage of Local Ethnic Groups by Districts: Land of Papua, 2010

8. Ethnic Diversity at the Districts

8.1 Ethnic fractionalization

Geographically smaller, the province of West Papua consists of 11 districts, as compared with 29 districts in the province of Papua. As shown in Table 3, 5 out of 11 districts in the province of West Papua are almost heterogeneous, i.e. the percentage of the largest ethnic group is between 20.0 and 39.9 per cent, and two are heterogeneous, i.e. the percentage is lower than 20 per cent. There are no almost homogeneous or homogeneous districts in West Papua.

Table 3 also shows that EFI among districts in West Papua ranges from 0.41 in the Regency of Maybrat to 0.94 in the Regency of Kaimana and City of Sorong. The range of EFI is longer in Papua, from 0.03 in the Regency of Dogiyai to 0.94 in the Regency of Sarmi. As described graphically in Figure 1, more districts in West Papua have darker legends of EFI. This pattern is consistent with the finding, mentioned earlier in this article, that the province of West Papua as a whole is more ethnically fractionalized than the province of Papua as a whole.

Unlike districts in the province of West Papua, which has no homogeneous or almost homogeneous districts, there are five homogeneous and five almost homogeneous districts in the province of Papua. The most homogenous district in the province of Papua is the Regency of Dogiyai, with Auwye, a Papuan ethnic group, forming 98.35 per cent of the regency population, followed by the Regency of Tolikara, with the Dani, a Papuan ethnic group, making 98.31 per cent as the highest. Both regencies are among the least fractionalized districts in the Land of Papua with very low EFI (0.03) at the respective districts. These districts are also among the least polarized districts with EPOI at 0.06 and 0.07, respectively.

In the province of Papua, the Dani, the largest ethnic group in the province, though only contributing 23.32 per cent, is concentrated in six districts, where the Dani is the largest ethnic groups. The lowest percentage of the Dani is 65.99 per cent in the Regency of Puncak and the highest (98.31 per cent) is in the Regency of Tolikara. The four other districts are Regencies Lanny Jaya, Puncak Jaya, Jayawijaya and Central Mamberamo. As seen in Figure 1, these districts are located near to each other in the middle of the province and tend to be less fractionalised. They are even the least fractionalised, dominated by one ethnic group. Although not the largest one, the Dani is also found in seven other districts in the province of Papua: the Regency of Jayapura (5.70 per cent), followed by Nabire (4.92 per cent), Intan Jaya (4.34 per cent), Keerom (4.02 per cent), Yalimo (1.44 per cent), Nduga (1.26 per cent), and Dogiyai (0.33 per cent).

The districts with Dani’s concentration are in contrast with the most heterogeneous Regency of Mimika, which is one of nine heterogeneous or almost heterogeneous districts in the province of Papua. The Regency of Mimika is also the most heterogeneous district in Indonesia (Arifin et al. 2015). The Mimika is the largest ethnic group, but accounting for only 12.95 per cent. This regency is highly fractionalized with EFI at 0.93, but not polarized, having EPOI at only 0.24. The second most heterogeneous district in the province of Papua is the Regency of Sarmi with Biga/Sobei, a Papuan group, as the largest ethnic group contributing 14.56 per cent of the regency population. This regency is highly fractionalized at EFI at 0.94 and not polarized, with EPOI at 0.22.

8.2 Ethnic polarization

Although the two provinces are not highly ethnically polarized, some districts in the Land of Papua are highly ethnically polarized. The EPOI in West Papua ranges from 0.22 in the city of Sorong to 0.71 in the Regency of Maybrat. As with EFI, the range of EPOI is also longer in Papua. The map in Figure 2 reveals that most districts in West Papua also have darker legends of EPOI, relative to those in Papua. Although the province of West Papua seems to have more districts with high EPOI, the districts with the largest EPOI are located in Papua. These highly polarized districts need a special attention as the probability of tense conflicts may be higher in these districts.

As shown in Figure 2, the Regency of Pegunungan Bintang in the province of Papua has the highest EPOI, with the Ngalum (a Papuan) as the largest ethnic group accounting for 42.61 per cent. The size of the second largest ethnic group is close to the first one. It is the Ketengban,9 also a Papuan, contributing 38.70 per cent.

Other districts with relatively high EPOI are the Regencies of Puncak and Mappi, also in Papua. The Regency of Puncak has two relatively large ethnic groups. The first is the Dani, making 65.99 per cent, and the second is the Damal (another Papuan), forming 20.34 per cent. The remaining ethnic groups consist of many small ethnic groups, with most of them contributing less than 0.50 per cent. Similarly, the two largest ethnic groups in the Regency of Mappi are Papuans, with the Asmat as the largest ethnic group (53.58 per cent) and Yaghay as the second largest one (25.42 per cent). Each of the remaining groups is less than 5.0 per cent, and many are even less than 1.0 per cent.

At the same time, the districts with the lowest EPOI are also located in the province of Papua. One of them is the Regency of Deiyai, with the Auwye, a Papuan, contributing 97.83 per cent of the population in the regency. The second largest one is substantially much lower than the first. It is the Moni, also a Papuan, making 1.10 per cent.

Furthermore, seen from migrants versus Papuans, the districts in the province of Papua are neither as polarized as those in the province of West Papua. From 37 districts in the province of Papua, there are only three districts having migrants and Papuans almost the same sizes. They are Regencies of Nabire, Mimika and Keerom. On the other hand, from 11 districts in the province of West Papua, there are four districts of high polarization indexes between migrants and Papuans. The four districts are Regencies of FakFak, Kaimana, Teluk Bintuni and Manokwari. See Table 3.

9. Migration and Ethnic Diversity

9.1 Papuans and Migrant Groups

As shown in Table 3, the Papuans in the province of West Papua comprise more than half of the province population while they even comprise a larger percentage in the province of Papua (76.31 per cent). In West Papua, Regencies of Trambrauw and Maybrat are the districts with the percentage of Papuans about 95.0 per cent. The Regency of Tambrauw is the home of Karon (a Papuan group), contributing 73.19 per cent followed by another Papuan group, the Biak‐Numfor, making only 19.42 per cent. The third one is very small, a migrant group, the Buginese, contributing only 1.41 per cent. Meanwhile, the Regency of Maybrat is the home of Ayfat, contributing 74.05 per cent, followed by another Papuan group, Arfak (21.16 per cent). The third group is the Mare, a migrant group from the islands of Maluku, contributing 3.20 per cent. All districts in West Papua have Papuans with percentages of more than 50 per cent, except in the Regencies of Fakfak and Sorong as well as the city of Sorong.

The Papuans in the Regency of Fakfak, West Papua, account for 47.61 per cent, consisting of the Baham (32.39 per cent), Iha (5.77 per cent), Onin (2.42 per cent) and other small groups. Baham is the largest ethnic group in the regency, followed by three migrant groups: Butonese (10.15 per cent), Javanese (8.58 per cent) and Kei (7.25 per cent). Iha is the fifth largest ethnic group. The sixth to eighth largest ethnic groups (Kapaur, Seram, Ambonese and Buginese) in Fakfak are migrant groups. Indeed, Fakfak is a migrant town that has a long history as a port since the Dutch settlement. It is therefore not surprising that Fakfak is a highly fractionalised, although not a highly polarized regency.

The largest ethnic group in the Regency of Sorong is Javanese, having a higher percentage (41.46 per cent) than the percentage of total number of Papuans (36.07 per cent). The second to fourth largest ones are the Papuans, namely, in order of Mooi, Kalabra and Ayfat, altogether accounting for 23.01 per cent. Other Papuans with each having more than 1.0 per cent are Seget, Tehid, Biak Numfor, Inanwatan and Arfak.

The district with the lowest percentage of the Papuans is seen in the city of Sorong, West Papua, with only 29.93 per cent. The industrial city is the most heterogeneous district of the province, with a migrant group, the Javanese, as the largest ethnic group (13.79 per cent). In addition, the Papuans live with two other migrant groups—Buginese (from the island of Sulawesi, 10.50 per cent) and Ambonese (from the islands of Maluku, 10.15 per cent). The fourth largest ethnic group is a Papuan, the Biak‐Numfor, contributing 6.30 per cent. Yet, the fifth largest ethnic group is another migrant group, the Butonese (5.51 per cent) from the Island of Sulawesi. There are nine other migrant groups among the 20 largest ethnic groups in the city of Sorong. They are all from the island of Sulawesi or islands of Maluku, with two exceptions. One is Flores, from East Nusa Tenggara, contributing 1.59 per cent. Another is the Batak from the island of Sumatra, forming 1.86 per cent. In other words, the city of Sorong is a district of migrants. It is a highly ethnically fractionalized but not polarized district. Therefore, the probability of tense ethnic conflicts can be small in this city.

The Regency of Kaimana is also heterogeneous but does not have as many migrant‐groups as the city of Sorong does. Following Irahutu (Papuan) as the largest ethnic group, the Kei, forming 9.10 per cent, originating from islands of Maluku, is the second largest ethnic group. The third largest ethnic group is also a migrant, Acehnese, from the Island of Sumatra, forming 8.11 per cent. The Javanese is the fourth, making 7.50 per cent. As in the whole region of the Land of Papua and its districts, all other migrant‐groups among the 20 largest ethnic groups in the Regency of Kaimana are either from the island of Sulawesi or the islands of Maluku. As with the city of Sorong, the Regency of Kaimana is also highly fractionalized, but not polarized.

Unlike West Papua, most districts in the province of Papua have the Papuans contributing more than 50 per cent. Even, there are 16 districts where the percentages of Papuans are higher than 90.0 per cent. The largest percentage (99.90 per cent) is seen in the Regency of Lanny Jaya, with the Dani as the largest ethnic group. This regency is the home of Dani, making 97.62 per cent of the population, followed by the Dauwa, another Papuan, with 2.28 per cent. Out of the 29 districts in the province, there are only five, where the Papuans contribute less than 50 per cent. See Table 3.

The district with the second largest percentage of the Papuans is the Regency of Intan Jaya. They contribute 99.91 per cent of the regency population, with the largest group being the Moni (74.29 per cent). Three other largest groups are also Papuan groups: Woda (12.43 per cent), Dauwa (8.55 per cent) and Dani (4.34 per cent). Each of the remaining ethnic groups is very small, contributing less than 1.0 per cent.

The lowest percentage of the Papuans in the province of Papua is seen in the City of Jayapura. There, although the Javanese is the largest ethnic group, this group only contributes less than 20 per cent as this city is heterogeneous. Among the 10 largest ethnic groups in this city, the second, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and tenth are other migrant groups, namely, Buginese, Makassarese, Toraja, Ambonese, Butonese and Minahasa. The Papuans are only Yapen (the third), Biak Numfor (the fifth) and Dani (the ninth).

Finally, to have a quantitative assessment on the extent of the relationship between in‐migration and ethnic diversity, we use a regression analysis to find the existence of the relationship. As shown in Figure 3, the existence of the relationship depends on the measurement of ethnic diversity. Measured with EFI, the correlation is positive, the higher the percentage of in‐migrant in a district, the higher is the ethnic fractionalization index in that district. This finding reveals that as the migrants came from various ethnic groups in Indonesia, an increase in in‐migration means a larger number of ethnic groups in the region. On the other hand, there is no relationship between migration and ethnic polarization index. This absence of relationship is because of the high variety of ethnic groups of the migrants. Nevertheless, if in‐migration continues by focusing on few ethnic groups, polarization may then increase. In other words, following the framework of Esteban et al. (2012), migration may have resulted in more ethnic conflicts in the Land of Papua, but migration does not contribute to the intensity of the conflict.

9.2 Demographic Contribution of the Javanese in the Ethnic Diversity

This section specifically focuses on the Javanese, as a relatively ubiquitous migrant group in Indonesia, also in the Land of Papua. Initially, as mentioned earlier, the migrant groups in the Land of Papua originated mostly from the nearby island of Sulawesi (including Buginese, Makassarese, Toraja, Butonese, Minahasa, Sangir and Kaili) and the islands of Maluku (including Kei, Seram, Ambonese, Tanimbar, Ternate, Tidore, Gebe and Tobelo).

Other migrant groups include the Javanese, Sundanese, Malay, Batak, Acehnese, Singkil, Dayak and Flores. All of them, except the Flores, have their home provinces in western Indonesia. Among them, Javanese, the largest ethnic group in Indonesia, plays the most important role in shaping ethnic composition in the Land of Papua. It is the largest ethnic group in West Papua and the third in Papua. The Javanese migration is perhaps the most recent one, after 1970, during the Indonesia’s New Order Government, with its transmigration program, to move people from densely populated islands of Java and Bali to outside these islands. Additionally and importantly, as discussed briefly earlier in this article, there has also been inflow of spontaneous migration (voluntary, not under the transmigration program) of Javanese to the Land of Papua, because of economic opportunity in the Land of Papua, especially the province of West Papua.

Furthermore, the demographic role of the Javanese is much stronger than those of the other four largest Indonesian ethnic groups (Sundanese, Malay, Batak and Madurese) and the Chinese Indonesians. Among the 25 largest ethnic groups in each of the provinces in the Land of Papua, the Sundanese and Batak are only seen in the province of West Papua. Moreover, the Sundanese ranks only the 23rd, a very small ethnic group, contributing only 0.95 per cent. Similarly, the Batak only forms 0.95 per cent. No Sundanese and Batak are seen significantly in the province of Papua. There are no Malay and Madurese among the 25 largest ethnic groups in both provinces. The Chinese, the 15th largest ethnic group in Indonesia, and the largest foreign ethnic group, is not seen in the two provinces either.

As shown in Table 4, the Javanese is always among the 10 largest ethnic groups in each district in the province of West Papua. Javanese is also found in all districts in the province of Papua, except in the Regency of Nduga, but not always as one of the 10 largest ethnic groups. Regency of Nduga is a homogeneous district, with Dauwa, a Papuan, making 97.90 per cent. The Javanese is not among the 10 largest ethnic groups in the following three districts: Regencies of Yahukimo (11th), Puncak (11th) and Mamberamo Raya (20th).

Table 4. Percentage and Ranking of the Javanese by Districts and Provinces: Land of Papua, Indonesia, 2010

Furthermore, the Javanese is the largest ethnic group in four districts in Papua, namely, Regencies of Keerom, Merauke, Nabire and the city of Jayapura. These four districts are very fractionalized but not highly polarized.

In some districts in West Papua, the Javanese contributes significantly to ethnic composition in the respective districts. The highest demographic contribution of the Javanese is seen in the Regency of Sorong (41.46 per cent) as seen in Figure 1, followed by the Regencies of Manokwari and Teluk Bintuni, and the city of Sorong. These four districts are highly fractionalized but not highly polarized.

The smallest concentration of the Javanese in the province of West Papua is seen in the Regency of Maybrat (0.36 per cent), although it is the fourth largest ethnic group. The three largest ethnic groups in Maybrat are all Papuan groups, with the Ayfat as the largest one.

10. Concluding Remarks

Located in the easternmost Indonesia, the Land of Papua has the Papuans as the majority, making 51.49 per cent in the province of West Papua and 76.31 per cent in the province of Papua. There are only two districts in West Papua and five districts in Papua where the Papuans contribute less than 50 per cent of the respective district population. There are many migrants originating from the nearby island of Sulawesi and islands of Maluku. However, the most demographically dominant migrant group is the Javanese, from far‐away island of Java. It should be noted that the Javanese is also the largest ethnic group in Indonesia, contributing 40.06 per cent to total population of Indonesia.

Furthermore, the two provinces are highly ethnically heterogeneous, but not highly ethnically polarized. Therefore, following the framework posed by Esteban et al. (2012), the two provinces have potentials for internal ethnic‐related conflict. Yet, as the ethnic polarization indices are not high, the conflicts, if they occur, will not be severe. It should be noted, however, that there are some districts with high polarization indexes. These districts need attention because of the possible potential for ethnic antagonism. On the other hand, with the dichotomy between migrant and Papuan groups, the province of West Papua is very polarized, having almost the same sizes of migrant and Papuan groups.

As shown with a simple regression analysis, a district receiving higher rate of in‐migration tends to have a higher ethnic fractionalization index. However, in‐migration rate is not significantly associated with ethnic polarization index. In other words, in‐migration may have increased the probability on ethnic conflicts but does not change the probability of intense conflicts. In‐migration to the Land of Papua consisted of people from various different groups, and therefore, it did not result in high ethnic polarization indexes. However, if future trend of in‐migration is dominated by a certain ethnic group, ethnic polarization index may increase in districts that are currently not highly polarized. One policy implication is that any development policies bringing new migrants should consider the impact on the ethnic composition of the destination areas. The policies should diversify the ethnicity of the new migrants, along with other local issues. The transmigration program, which involves mainly the Javanese, should pay attention to the impact on ethnic composition.

Further quantitative research should be carried out on fractionalization and polarization within the migrant and Papuan groups separately. This is to enrich understanding on internal conflicts among the migrants and among the Papuans. Qualitative research can be carried out in districts with high fractionalization or polarization indexes, to have better insights on local dynamics and possible conflicts.

  1. These ‘district‐centred’ policies may also result in programs that are not consistent with the national ones.
  2. Following Ananta et al. (2015), a district is said to be homogeneous when the largest ethnic group accounts for more than 95.0 per cent; almost homogeneous when it is between 80.0 and 94.99 per cent; less homogeneous, between 60.00 and 79.99 per cent; less heterogeneous, between 40.0 and 59.99 per cent; almost heterogeneous, between 20.00 and 39.99 per cent; and heterogeneous, less than 20.00 per cent.
  3. This is the law, the UU Otsus, Article 1, paragraph (t) as cited in Widjojo (2010), p.47.
  4. The data for poverty are cited from http://www.bps.go.id/tab_sub/view.php?kat=1&tabel=1&daftar=1&id_subyek=23¬ab=2 accessed on 30 December 2014.
  5. Mentioned otherwise, the statistics in this section are cited from Badan Pusat Statistik (2012a).
  6. It is still not clear why the sex ratio is very high. One possibility is the high mortality rate among women. The second is that the heavy flow of in‐migration is dominated by men.
  7. The data are cited from Badan Pusat Statistik (2012b).
  8. See Kirsch (2010), for example, on the caution needed to see ethnicity as a source of conflict.
  9. Ketengban has many different names such as Kupel, Hmanggona, Oipomek, Eipomek, Eiponek, Hmanggona, Hmonono, Kumnyal and Nalca.
  10. The Chinese Indonesian is included because it is the largest ‘foreign’ ethnic group, often seen as playing an important role in the study of Indonesia’s ethnicity.

Source :
https://onlinelibrary.wiley .com/doi/full/10.1002/app5.143

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