The Sundanese of West Java


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1. What is the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia?

2. How are the provinces of Java divided?

3. How big is West Java?

4. What people colonized the Sundanese?

5. What religion are the Sundanese?

6. Where do the Sundanese live?

7. What is the population density of West Java?

8. What do the people do for a living?

9. What is the yearly average income of the Sundanese?

10. How much education do they have?

11. How is the population distributed in West Java?

12. How is the government organized?

13. Do they have a democracy?

14. What other religions are there among the Sundanese?

15. What churches do the Sundanese belong to?


1. The Sundanese are second to the Javanese with about 35 million in 2002.

2. Java is divided into four provinces which are East, Central, and West Java, and Banten.

3. West Java is about the size of the three southern counties of California or a little bigger than one half of Virginia.

4. The Sundanese have been colonized by the Javanese and Dutch.

5. The formal religion of the Sundanese is Islam. They also have an informal religion of shamanism involving spirit worship and magic of many kinds.

6. The Sundanese practically all live in West Java. However, about one million of them live on the islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi.

7. West Java's population density is about 1,100 people per square mile- about the same as an American city.

8. Most of the Sundanese either farm, work in plantations of tea, rubber, and timber, or fish.

9. Their yearly average income is only about $600.

10. The average village Sundanese will not go past the third grade while the city dweller might get through grammar school. There are few junior high or high schools in the villages where most of the people live.

11. The population is 34% urban and 66% rural but the rural population is not evenly distributed over West Java because they tend to live close together in villages.

12. Like other parts of Indonesia, the Sundanese government structure is organized by the national leaders. The top officer in the province is a governor and each city has a mayor. Under the provincial structure is what they call kabupaten which is like our county. Below that is kecamatan which we would call a district area. The communities are divided into wards and sub-wards so that all the people are
registered with an identity card.

13. The Sundanese call their government a democracy but it is very controlled. Most of the leaders are military people.

14. There are a few Christians among the Sundanese. About 15,000 of them relate in some way to the Protestant or Catholic Churches.

15. There are a few Sundanese believers in many of the hundreds of churches in West Java. The former Dutch mission church has the most Sundanese and the Roman Catholic Church has about 5,000.