Indonesia's Gini ratio (or Gini coefficient), which measures the degree of inequality in income distribution, improved slightly in September 2015. According to the latest data published by Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the Gini ratio of Indonesia fell from 0.41 in March 2015 to 0.40 in September 2015, indicating that income distribution inequality slightly declined (a coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, while a reading of 1 implies maximal inequality). The modest improvement occurred in the urban areas of Indonesia where the Gini ratio fell 0.1 point to 0.43. In the rural areas the ratio remained stagnant at 0.33.
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Today's Headlines Income Distribution
According to a survey conducted by Lembaga Survei Indonesia (LSI) most Indonesians believe that Indonesian society is characterized by a high degree of income distribution inequality. Over 90 percent of respondents see income inequality in Indonesia, while about 40 percent of respondents believe there is no equality at all regarding income distribution in Indonesia. With the gap between the country’s rich and poor widening, social cohesion and higher economic growth are at stake in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
The World Bank said that the widening of income distribution inequality in Indonesia grew at the second fastest pace among Asian countries in the past two decades. Based on the World Bank’s Indonesia Economic Quarterly (IEQ) report, Indonesia recorded the second fastest Gini coefficient increase after China. In the period 1990-2011, the Gini coefficient of Indonesia rose by an average of 0.5 percentage point per year. This is a serious matter as social cohesion and economic growth can be jeopardized by increased inequality within Indonesian society.
Indonesia Investments has updated its overview of Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) in the Macroeconomic Indicators section. Although Indonesia's GDP growth has slowed in the past two years amid global financial troubles and uncertainty in combination with a number of internal financial weaknesses (the country's wide current account deficit, high inflation and higher interest rate environment), it can still be labeled robust at 5.78 percent in 2013. This overview includes a discussion on GDP per capita and income distribution.
The Gini ratio of Indonesia - the coefficient that measures inequality in income distribution - is expected to improve slightly this year as commodity prices have a stable outlook. Based on data from Statistics Indonesia, the ratio increased significantly since the country's Reformasi period. Between 1999 and 2013, it rose from 0.31 percent to 0.41 percent (a coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, while one implies perfect inequality). In the last three years (2011- 2013), however, the ratio remained stable at 0.41 percent.
The Indonesian government should take more action to reverse the country's widening income distribution inequality. Indonesia's Gini ratio, the coefficient that measures inequality among income distribution, has risen in 2013 according to economist Lana Soelistianingsih. The Gini coefficient rose from 0.37 in 2012 to 0.41 in 2013 (a coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, while one implies maximal inequality). The growth not only shows that the Indonesian government fails to tackle this problem but also implies social risks.
President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, mentioned in his speech ahead of the Independence Day that Indonesia's per capita GDP is expected to rise to USD $5,000 by 2014. An increasing per capita GDP triggers domestic consumption among Indonesia's rapidly expanding middle class segment and thus forms a catalyst for economic activity in the country. As can be seen in the table below, Indonesia's per capita GDP grew steadily between 2006 and 2012. In 2010, it hit the important level of USD $3,000.
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