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Jakarta Urges Its Rural Migrants to Go Home

Indonesia’s government has resurrected its “Return to Village” movement.
Shoppers crowd a Jakarta market during Ramadan.
Shoppers crowd a Jakarta market during Ramadan.Iqro Rinaldi/Reuters

Each year, Jakarta’s population swells after the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Some 70,000 Indonesians from rural areas came to the city for the festivities last year, and a good number of them stayed in the hopes of finding jobs in the capital. The same exodus from the countryside is again occurring in this year’s post-Ramadan period.

Such flows of people into the city make Indonesian leaders nervous. Though the Jakarta government has tried to stem population growth by only granting residency to those who have a place to live and a job, the rules aren’t always followed. In 2015, the city’s population hit 10 million, making it an official mega-city, one that deals heavily with issues such as pollution, traffic congestion, and poverty.