Where are the Indonesian immigrants?

The US ha a noticeable population of Asian immigrants - from China, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam - but very few from Indonesia. That is, as far as I have been aware. Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, so why aren’t there more immigrants from there? Or if there are, why aren’t they more noticeable?

Most Asian immigrants choose a western country that they have a historical connection with. The Philippines were an American colony. We had a close connection with Vietnam via the war. China and Japan maintained their independence so they didn’t have a western power that was close than the others.

Indonesia was a Dutch colony. So Indonesians seeking to immigrate would tend to immigrate to the Netherlands.

I knew a couple of Indonesian immigrants. Their families had been associated with one of the now-discredited regimes, and they seemed to want to keep a low profile. Also, there might be more than you think, a lot of Indonesians are descendants of South Asians and so tend to look like people from India.

This is true though but relates primarily to the Moluccans who were Dutch allies against the Indonesian independence movement up to 1949.

More recently Indonesian, predominantly skilled, permanent immigrants are heading to the USA, Australia, Canada & New Zealand though from a country of 250mil these numbers are quite small.

Indonesian Born in Selected Developed Nations
Country Year Number Source
Australia 2005 65,914 Australia Bureau of Statistics
United States 2005 75,370 U.S. Census Bureau
Canada 2005 10,660 Statistics Canada
New Zealand 2006 4,614 New Zealand Census of 2006
Netherlands 2002 137,485 Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics
Japan 1999 16,400 OECD, 2001
Korea 1999 13,600 OECD, 2001

The largest blocks of Indonesian unskilled migrants are in Malaysia where there may be as many as a million there permanently but not afforded legal resident status. They fulfill much the same role as Mexicans do in the US.
There are also substantial numbers of Indonesian immigrant workers in the Middle East

There’s quite a few in Australia as the statistics show. But also apart from the ongoing unrest in West Papua and some Christian - Muslim squabbles, Indonesia has generally been peaceful since independence. There is good money to be made in tourism and the cost of living is extremely low.

Indonesia is not Vietnam or Afghanistan, it hasn’t had a major war, its not littered with land mines and there’s just not that much reason for people to immigrate. They would rather stay in their villages with their families.

Yes, generally peaceful, except for the half million dead in the Suharto putsch.

They’ve gone to Malaysia. They can already speak the language and there are more job opportunities than at home. Indonesians fit into the Malaysian economy in a similar role as Latin American immigrants in the United States. Malaysia has issues with undocumented immigration from Indonesia and stuff like that. People of non-Malay ethnicity (Chinese & Indian) expressed a theory to me in private conversation that Indonesian immigration, legal or not, is being abetted by Malay people to tip the ethnic balance more in their favor. Indonesians being essentially Malays also, they assimilate easily, apart from lower socioeconomic status because Indonesia’s economy is not as robust as Malaysia’s while their population is huge in comparison.

Also, immigration seems to be less from the absolute poorest nations and more from middle income and borderline developed nations where there are some resources for migrating and moving. A lot more people leave Mexico or Turkey than the Congo or Bangladesh. Would many Indonesians have the resources to move a long distance?

Only partially relevant to the OP, but you can often spot areas in the US where Indonesians have settled by looking for restaurants that feature a rijsttafel, a lovely Indonesian multi-course feast.

I must travel to Madison or Chicago to find such a treat.

The current immigration policies tend to favour people with a decent amount of education, too. So the moderately better off countries seem to provide a lot of our immigrants. they have high school or college, they have TV and understand our culture better, and don’t discount the value of others already here - which is more likely when earlier generations could also afford to immigrate.

Had some Indonesian food at a festival a few weeks ago, at a booth run by Indonesian immigrants. So they are in Canada!

And the food was delicious! Gado Gado, Rendang, Nasi Champur!

And of course, the president of the United States is from Indonesia in a round-about way.

The population of Suriname in South America is largely of Indonesian ancestry (Suriname was a former Dutch colony as well).

OK “relatively peaceful”, Indonesia has had its problems for sure, but nowhere near the level of problems of Vietnam or Afghanistan or other countries that have huge refugee populations.

I’ve known a couple of people in America who self-described as “Balinese” or “Javanese.” My assumption is that Indonesians are out there, but don’t relate to their homeland in terms of it being a nation-state.

I’ve heard, similarly, that many Africans self-describe by a tribe rather than a nation-state, but the Africans I meet (and the local medical school here in Jinan, China attracts students from all over Africa, the Americas and the former Soviet Union) have no hesitation to refer to themselves as Nigerian or Cameroonian, so I guess it just depends on who you meet.

Yup, just take a look at a map of Indonesia and it makes a lot of sense. A hodgepodge of islands spread over almost 2000 miles. As for being a viable nation-state it is one doomed to be picked off one section at a time over the next century; there was East Timor, now West Papua, and I fear more rebellions from various indigenous peoples are in the future.

Indonesia might be the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the 21st century.

Which means, not to put to fine a point on it, Chinese Indonesians. Who have, when the could, sent their children overseas for education, at least since The Year of Living Dangerously. But they look like Chinese people, and often (but not exclusively) eat Chinese food.

mistakenly posted sorry