Here is an old reader email query from 2015:
I started by asking, why are there so few Indonesians in the US? The email subject is just a juicy comparison. Indonesians are outnumbered in the U.S. by 14 other Asian-American sub-groups. Most estimates give an answer of about 100,000 total, this from a country of 250+ million.
History – Indonesia’s colonial experience is Dutch (although less than 500,000 live in the Netherlands). There do not seem to be many self-identifying South African Americans. The country has more recent independence/consolidation than some.
Religion – Islam reduces immigration demand and supply
Economics – Indonesians are very poor and/or less skilled for particular types of migrant labor. Perhaps why so many are in the Middle East (maybe 1.5 million in Saudi Arabia, although this seems more a recent phenomenon).
Internal markets – Indonesia is large and diverse. Opportunity and adventure are an island
Keep reading this article on Marginal Revolution.