Bali is attracting 25,000 new settlers a year from other parts of Indonesia — primarily from Java and West Nusa Tenggara — and this is putting unwanted pressure on the island, according to the chairman of the Forum on Bali’s Population, I Gusti Wayan Yasa Murjana.
He said Bali’s population of 3.9 million as calculated by this year’s national census was too much for the island and its ecology and infrastructure to carry. Bali was really only capable of supporting a population of around 1.5 million people.
The 2.15 percent annual growth in population was largely comprised of migrants settling here from elsewhere in the country. The forum estimates 45 percent of population growth is from new settlers.
Murjana predicted increasing levels of migration to Bali because the island was an attractive option for people seeking work and increasingly this was not only at the lower end such as construction workers, but now also included people working in the middle and upper levels.
Bali’s structural problems were worsened by migration too because most migrants chose to settle in Denpasar or Badung regency, the island’s two most vibrant economic zones.