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Tuesday, December 03, 2013 - 05.12 GMT

Census of Population and Housing 2012
Sri Lanka's population now 20,271,464


The Department of Census and Statistics has been conducting decennial Censuses of Population and Housing since 1871. Census of Population and Housing 2012, was the 14th Census conducted in Sri Lanka. This Census was very important as it was the complete enumeration conducted in Sri Lanka after 30 years.

Census 2012 results on population based on 5 percent sample cover following areas.

Population by districts, age, sex, marital status, physical and mental difficulties, economic activities, migration, fertility, education and literacy.

According to the 5 percent sample, the Population of Sri Lanka is recorded as 20,271,464. Of this 18.3 percent living in Urban sector, 77.3 percent living in Rural sector and the balance 4.4 percent living in Estate sector.

Average Annual Growth Rate of the Population was computed from 1981 to 2012 as there was no complete enumeration in between. The average annual growth rate from 1981 to 2012 is 1.0 percent. Population increase from 1981 to 2012 in terms of numbers is 5,424,714 which amount to 36 percent increase.

Population density of Sri Lanka works out to be 323 in 2012. Colombo (3417) turns out to be the most densely inhabited districts followed by Gampaha (1711). The lowest densities are reported from Mullativu (38) and Mannar (53) districts.

The overall sex ratio in the country was 94 males per 100 females indicates that there are more females in Sri Lankan population than males. However, sex ratio among children below 18 years is reported as 102 which indicate more males among child population while the corresponding figure for 60 or more population is 79 indicating more females among older population.

According to the 5 percent sample estimates population in the age group 0-17 stands at 30 percent and 70 percent consists of 18 years or more population.

Over all dependency ratio of the country in 2012 was 60.2 percent. Child (under 15 years) dependency shows how many people in the working age group (15-59 years) to support children in the population. Child dependency ratio was 40.4 percent. Old age dependency shows how many people in the working age group to support people in the old age group (60 years or more) people in the population. The old age dependency ratio was 19.8 percent.

75.8 percent of households are headed by males while the balance 24.2 headed by females.

Out of the population aged 15 years or more, 25.5 percent of the population was never married at the time of the Census while 67.8 percent were reported as married. The widowed percent was reported as 5.4 percent while divorced or separated percentage of population was 1.3 percent.

Economically active population who were 15 years or more stands at 51.9 percent. The corresponding figure for males and females is 75.8 and 30.0 percent respectively.

The total employment rate stands at 93.1 percent. The employment rate for males and females is 94.3 and 90.3 percent respectively. The total unemployment rate stands at 6.9 percent. The unemployment rate for males and females is 5.7 and 9.7 percent respectively.

Results of the 5 percent sample revealed that the average number of children born to ever married women in Sri Lanka is 2.6.

Migration is defined as change of a personís residence other than her/his place of birth (ie.district). Information on district of birth, district of usual residence, duration of residence and district of previous residence were collected from the Census 2012 to study the movement of the population between districts. Results of the 5 percent sample revealed that 19 percent of population (3,861,787) has migrated to another district from their district of birth.

Majority of females migrate due to marriage (43.5 percent) while majority of males migrate due to employment (30.6 percent).

Results of the 5 percent sample indicates that out of the population who were 10 years or more at the time of Census, 95.6 percent of Sri Lankans are literate. In the same age group, percentage of literate people in urban sector is 97.6 percent while the corresponding figure for rural and estate sectors are 95.7 and 85.8 percent respectively. The literacy rate among males is 96.8 percent while the corresponding value for females is 94.6 percent.

On an average 24.2 percent of 10 years or more aged population reported that they have ability to use computers. The corresponding figures for males and females are reported as 26.5 and 22.1 percent respectively. The percentage of young people showed higher percentage of using computers than people in the old age groups. For example ability to use computer among 15-19 age group is 49 percent whereas the corresponding figure for people aged 60-64 years is 6 percent.

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Last modified: December 03, 2013.

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