Indonesia’s statistical publications

The publication and improvement of national statistical data in Indonesia was a consequence of the gradual spread of Dutch colonial rule across the country during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the early 19th century, the first attempts to collect statistical data were restricted to the areas in Java under direct colonial rule. Data were collected with questionnaires at village level and aggregated up the administrative chain. Although the quality of the data was dubious, they were in aggregated forms published during 1834-1921 in appendices to the annual Colonial Report (Koloniaal Verslag) of the colonial government of the Netherlands East Indies.

Gradually, government departments took responsibility for the collection of data for administrative purposes. For 1878-1921, aggregated data from the annual Colonial Reports were re-published by the Bureau of Statistics in The Netherlands as a separate section of the Dutch annual statistical yearbook (Jaarcijfers voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden – Koloniën). 

This practice ended, when in 1922 the Statistical Office (Statistisch Kantoor) in colonial Indonesia was given responsibility for the publication of annual statistical yearbooks for Indonesia (Statistisch Jaaroverzicht voor Nederlandsch-Indië, 1922-1929; Indisch Verslag, 1930-1940), and during the 1930s also a statistical pocketbook (Statistisch Zakboekje, 1934-1939).

The agency became the Central Office of Statistics (Centraal Kantoor voor de Statistiek) in 1924, and became in 1950 better known under its Indonesian name (Kantor Pusat Statistik). The collection and publication of statistical data took time to recover from the Japanese occupation and the war of Independence during the 1940s. Since 1955 the statistical agency produced an annual statistical pocketbook (Statistik Indonesia), and since 1971 a longer statistical yearbook (also called Statistik Indonesia).

Until the 1990s, most of the published statistical data published by Indonesia’s statistical agency (since 1957 Biro Pusat Statistik, and since 1997 Badan Pusat Statistik) continued to be administrative data. Since the 1960s the agency increasingly produced survey-based data to augment these.

Not all the statistical data in these annual yearbooks lend themselves to the creation of consistent time series. The 16 volumes in the series Changing Economy of Indonesia explain for some sections of the economy until 1940 why this is the case.

For more details, see: Van der Eng, Pierre (1996) ‘Historical economic statistics in Indonesia: Continuity and change’, Newsletter of the Asian Historical Statistics Project, No.3: 12-15. 

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