Based on ethnic classification, the largest ethnic group in Indonesia is the Javanese who make up about 40% of the total population. The Javanese are concentrated on the island of Java but millions have migrated to other islands throughout the archipelago because of the transmigration program. The Sundanese, Batak, Madurese, Minangkabau, and Buginese are the next largest groups in the country. Many ethnic groups, particularly in Kalimantan and Papua, have only hundreds of members. Most of the local languages belong to the Austronesian language family, although a significant number of people, particularly in eastern Indonesia, speak unrelated Papuan languages. Chinese Indonesians make up a little less than 1% of the total Indonesian population according to the 2000 census. Some of these Indonesians of Chinese descent speak various Chinese dialects, most notably Hokkien and Hakka.
The classification of ethnic groups in Indonesia is not rigid and in some cases unclear due to migrations, cultural and linguistic influences; for example some may consider Bantenese and Cirebonese to be members of the Javanese people; however, some others argue that they are different ethnic groups altogether since they have their own distinct dialects. This is the same case with Baduy people that share many cultural similarities with the Sundanese people. An example of hybrid ethnicity is the Betawi people, descended not only from marriages between different peoples in Indonesia but also with Arab, Chinese and Indian migrants since the era of colonial Batavia (Jakarta).
|Ethnic group||Population (millions)||Percentage||Main regions|
|Javanese||94.843||40.06||Bengkulu, East Java, East Kalimantan, Central Java, Jambi, Lampung, North Sumatra, Riau, South Sumatra, Yogyakarta|
|Sundanese||36.705||15.51||Banten, West Java|
|Malay||8.754||3.7||Bangka-Belitung Islands, Jambi, Riau, Riau Islands, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan|
|Batak||8.467||3.58||North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jakarta|
|Minangkabau||6.463||2.73||Riau, West Sumatra|
|Buginese||6.415||2.71||Central Sulawesi, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, West Sulawesi|
|Banjarese||4.127||1.74||South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan|
|Dayak||3.220||1.36||Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, West Kalimantan|
|Sasak||3.175||1.34||West Nusa Tenggara|
|Chinese Indonesian||2.833||1.2||Bangka-Belitung Islands, North Sumatra, Jakarta, Riau, Riau Islands, West Kalimantan, North Coast of Central Java and East Java.|
The proportions of Indonesian ethnic groups according to the (2000 census) are as follows: Note that some ethnic groups that some now recognized ethnic groups were subsumed under larger umbrella groups up until 2001. Since the 2010 census they are counted separately.
|Ethnic group||Population (million)||Percentage||Main regions|
|Javanese||92.24||42.00||Central Java, East Java, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, North Sumatra, South Sumatra, Bengkulu, Lampung|
|Sundanese||30.978||15.41||West Java, Banten, Jakarta, Lampung|
|Malay||6.946||3.45||Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jambi, South Sumatra, Bangka-Belitung Islands, West Kalimantan|
|Madurese||6.772||3.37||Madura island, East Java|
|Batak||6.076||3.02||North Sumatra, Aceh, West Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jakarta|
|Minangkabau||5.475||2.72||West Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jakarta|
|Betawi||5.042||2.51||Jakarta, Banten, West Java|
|Bugis||5.010||2.49||South Sulawesi, South East Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, East Kalimantan|
|Banjarese||3.496||1.74||South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan|
|Chinese Indonesian||2.832||1.20||North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, West Kalimantan, Jakarta, Bangka-Belitung Islands|
|Sasak||2.611||1.17||West Nusa Tenggara|
|Minahasan||1.900||0.96||North Sulawesi, Gorontalo|
|Cirebonese||1.890||0.94||West Java, Central Java|
The regions of Indonesia have some of their indigenous ethnic groups. Due to migration within Indonesia (as part of government transmigration programs or otherwise), there are significant populations of ethnic groups who reside outside of their traditional regions.
Throughout Indonesian history, waves of migration of foreign origin ethnicities were spread throughout Indonesia, usually inhabiting urban centres and seldom reaching rural parts of Indonesia.