27.55 million Indonesians living below poverty line amid pandemic

Ade Heri Susanto, 27, is a scavenger in South Jakarta. Photo: Adi Renaldi
Ade Heri Susanto, 27, is a scavenger in South Jakarta. Photo: Adi Renaldi

Millions of Indonesians fell into poverty during the pandemic, new data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) showed, pushing the country’s poverty rate above 10 percent.

BPS’ latest poverty data showed that as of September 2020, 27.55 million Indonesians live below the national poverty line, which represents a 2.76 million or 0.97 percent year-on-year increase. 

Proportionally, this means that Indonesia has a poverty rate of 10.19 percent — the first time the country passed the 10 percent mark since 2017.

Indonesia’s national poverty line is set at IDR2.1 million (US$151.06) of income per family per month.

“Almost all provinces saw increases in poverty levels,” BPS head Suhariyanto said today, adding that more who fell into poverty lived in cities as opposed to rural areas.

Suhariyanto said the poverty rate increase was not as steep as expected thanks to the government’s social and financial assistance to the poor. The World Bank previously predicted in June 2020 that Indonesia’s poverty rate would rise to between 10.7 percent and 11.6 percent amid the pandemic.

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