Indonesia is One Step Away From the Future

written by Alm. Kamal Syueb
edited by Fauzan Abdul

It’s already 2020, which means this is the year for the Indonesian population census. According to the United Nations, each country is required to conduct a population census at least once in ten years for the government to find out the size and distribution of its people and use it as a reference for development plans such as the construction of roads, schools, hospitals, and many other infrastructures. However, this year’s census comes up different from those of previous years: Indonesia has launched an online-based census for the first time ever.

Up until now, the census had always been a tiring time for all who are involved. Not only did the door-to-door survey approach unnecessarily take a lot of time and energy, some census officers had to deal with unsupportive residents. In contrast, the newly-implemented online system is much simpler and quicker, especially when it comes to people with busy schedules. Based on my personal experience, the whole process only takes around 10 minutes to complete.

Apart from the advantages felt by the users, as contended in the article “Big Population, Big Strength?” by The Jakarta Post, the greater accuracy of this new system will enable the government to “better assess the population’s potential.” Along with other technological advancements being placed in anticipation for Indonesia’s demographic bonus, this innovation will demonstrate that Indonesia is ready to face the future.

Nevertheless, this system is not without its own risks. The fact that an offline census will still be held later on might discourage people from completing the census online. In remote regions of the country, the lack of internet infrastructures causes what are called “blank spots”—areas with poor signals that prevent people from accessing the online census. Security is also a risk factor as data theft and other privacy issues continue to be a threat for any online system. Even the current COVID-19 pandemic can distract the government’s focus from developing this system.

If this year we can pass the 20% goal set by the government, this online census will be a signal to the world of Indonesia’s growth. Even before we reach that milestone (as of the writing of this article, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that 12%, or 33 million people, have sent in their data), the fact that we are implementing an online census in the 4th most populous country in the world, with only 53 other countries that use online-based systems, can be seen as a laudable act on itself.

As citizens, the best that we can do is to participate and support this census so that, as in President Jokowi’s words, “2020 census must be successful.” 


  1. A video by U.S. Census Bureau “2020 Census: What is the Census?” ,\
  3. “Penolakan Kerap Warnai Sensus Penduduk” by Ayo Cirebon (26/10/2019),
  4. “Big Population, Big Strength?” by The Jakarta Post (20/02/2020),
  5. “Aman Mengisi Sensus Penduduk Online” by Harian Kompas (9/03/2020) ,
  6. “Perhatian! Hari Ini Sensus Penduduk 2020 Online Dimulai” by Tahir Saleh, CNBC Indonesia (15/02/2020),
  7. A video by Sekretariat Presiden “LIVE : Presiden Jokowi Mencanangkan Pelaksanaan Sensus Penduduk 2020” ,
  8. “Blank Spot Picu Sensus Penduduk Online di Lebak Gagal Capai Target”, by Fariz Abdullah (31/03/2020),

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