Most popular names in Indonesia (2014 election data)

A while ago it came upon me that the KPU (Indonesian electoral commission) actually published the list of Indonesian voters (for the 2014 presidential election) in its website. This include full name and the place where the person is registered (up to kelurahan or desa level) and their voting station (TPS). The “list” is actually scattered in thousands of pages representing each voting station, but a friend wrote a script to combine them into a single list.

Based on this list, it is rather trivial to write a script that counts the occurrence of all names. I made an attempt and here is a graph showing the result (I posted this to my Facebook account a few months ago):

Indonsian names-hr


So let me explain a little bit about how I got this graph. Mostly, I just split (tokenize) the names, and total them up. For example, if someone’s name is Joko WIdodo, I increment both “Joko” and “Widodo”. The above graph is the end result after going through all the name. I didn’t blindly tokenize and count, I made several minor adjustment and omission to make the result more meaningfule I will explain in footnote[1]

Siti, Sri and Nur take the top spots – these are names that tend to go with other names e.g. “Siti Nurhayati”, “Sri Wahyuni”, “Nur Hasanah”, so I can see how they occur frequently. “I” takes the next spot, this is the male gender marker in a lot (almost all?) of Balinese names (e.g. I Made Mangku Pastika).

“M.” is next. When people abbreviate their first name into “M.”, almost usually it stands for “Muhammad” or variations such as Muhamad or Mohammad, the name of the Islamic prophet. If I combine the concurrences of these variations, it actually would overtake “Siti” in the first spot.

Here are the top names with their origins (in my knowledge):

  1. Siti: Originally used as a prefix to denote nobility of female figures (e.g. “Siti Aisyah”) in Malay/Indonesian literature.
  2. Sri: Originally from Indian subcontinent, a prefix used to make a polite address, like “Mr.” or “Ms.”
  3. Nur: from Arabic, meaning “light”
  4. I: Balinese, male name marker
  5. Muhammadthe Islamic prophet, Arabic origin
  6. Ahmad: Arabic origin, an alternative name for the Prophet
  7. Agus: Probably a native Indonesian name
  8. Ni: Balinese female name marker (similar to “I” for male)
  9. Abdul: Arabic, meaning “slave (of)”. Typically the first part of Arabic theoporic names
  10. Dwi: Typically marker of a second-born. Note that Tri (marker of a third-born) is 3 spots down, but first born marker isn’t as popular.

For the curious, here’s a pastebin of the rest: If you’re wondering where’s Budi, it’s in #24.

Note that I don’t distinguish first name and last name – by and large, Indonesian names consist of only one or more given names[2] and don’t have surnames[3]. The original list from KPU does not make that distinction either.

I hope this post is useful somehow. In the web there’s often discussion of most popular names in various countries, but I haven’t seen one for Indonesia. I hope it’s a good start.


[1] I have to ignore title such as “Drs.”, “B.Sc.”, “H.”, “Hj.”. For some reason they are often included in one’s full name data – this is understandable if you’re Indonesian 🙂 but it’s no fun if the top 10 names include Drs and B.Sc. I also make an exception for “M.”, a lot of people write their name as “M.SuchAndSuch”, typically M here stands for Muhammad, so I split this name as  “M.” and “SuchAndSuch”. Also I omitted single letter acronyms such as A. and S. – they don’t tell us much.

[2]  in fact many Indonesians have a single name, like “Soekarno

[3] There are exceptions, of course. For example, Batak names.

Most popular names in Indonesia (2014 election data)

2 thoughts on “Most popular names in Indonesia (2014 election data)

  1. Amirah says:

    Hello, do you perhaps still have the raw data of the names?
    If yes, do you mind sharing it?
    Thank you.

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