The population growth rate in East Kalimantan, home to about four million people, has reached an average of 3.8 percent each year - the highest in Indonesia - according to East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak on Wednesday.
In comparison, the average population growth rate in Indonesia is 1.49 percent annually, far below East Kalimantan’s, he added.
Awang attributed the high rate of growth to the fast flow of migration into the natural resource-rich province from various regions across the country, including East Java and Sulawesi.
Many newcomers flocked to East Kalimantan because of its promising economy, especially due to the availability of many job opportunities, Awang said as reported by Antara news agency.
Most newcomers seek jobs on plantations, in mining or in public services in big cities like Samarinda, Balikpapan and Kutai Kartanegara.
In 2000, the population of East Kalimantan was 2.4 million but by 2010 it had jumped to 3.5 million.
The governor said it was time for the province to curb its migration flow to avoid any negative impacts.
He expressed the fear that the high population growth rate could spark crime, as not all newcomers would find employment.
The increasing population would also require larger quantities of food as well as better housing, health, education and energy services in the province, he added. (rkh)