• Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time.  It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt.


Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location.  Within a mere area of  65,610 kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline - much of it pristine beach - 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.



Geography :: SRI LANKA

  • Location:

Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India

Geographic coordinates:

7 00 N, 81 00 E

Map references:



total: 65,610 sq km

land: 64,630 sq km

water: 980 sq km

country comparison to the world: 122

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than West Virginia

Area comparison map:

Land boundaries:

0 km


1,340 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)


mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior


mean elevation: 228 m

elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: Pidurutalagala 2,524 m

Natural resources:

limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower, arable land

Land use:

agricultural land: 43.5%

arable land 20.7%; permanent crops 15.8%; permanent pasture 7%

forest: 29.4%

other: 27.1% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:

5,700 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards:

occasional cyclones and tornadoes

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:

strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes


People and Society :: SRI LANKA

  • Population:

22.235 million (July 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57


noun: Sri Lankan(s)

adjective: Sri Lankan

Ethnic groups:

Sinhalese 74.9%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.2%, Sri Lankan Moors 9.2%, Indian Tamil 4.2%, other 0.5% (2012 est.)


Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (official and national language) 18%, other 8%

note: English, spoken competently by about 10% of the population, is commonly used in government and is referred to as the link language in the constitution


Buddhist (official) 70.2%, Hindu 12.6%, Muslim 9.7%, Roman Catholic 6.1%, other Christian 1.3%, other 0.05% (2012 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 24.35% (male 2,760,821/female 2,652,747)

15-24 years: 14.7% (male 1,660,402/female 1,608,022)

25-54 years: 41.71% (male 4,544,253/female 4,729,544)

55-64 years: 9.89% (male 1,018,357/female 1,181,060)

65 years and over: 9.35% (male 882,740/female 1,197,054) (2016 est.)

population pyramid:

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 51.2%

youth dependency ratio: 37.2%

elderly dependency ratio: 14.1%

potential support ratio: 7.1% (2015 est.)

Median age:

total: 32.5 years

male: 31.2 years

female: 33.7 years (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 95

Population growth rate:

0.8% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

Birth rate:

15.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Death rate:

6.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Net migration rate:

-1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150


urban population: 18.4% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.72% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital) 128,000 (2014); COLOMBO (capital) 707,000 (2015)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:


note: median age at first birth among women 30-34 (2006/07 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

30 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 118

Infant mortality rate:

total: 8.6 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 9.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 146

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.8 years

male: 73.3 years

female: 80.4 years (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

Total fertility rate:

2.09 children born/woman (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

68.4% (2006/07)

Health expenditures:

3.5% of GDP (2014)

country comparison to the world: 177

Physicians density:

0.68 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density:

3.6 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source:


urban: 98.5% of population

rural: 95% of population

total: 95.6% of population


urban: 1.5% of population

rural: 5% of population

total: 4.4% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access:


urban: 88.1% of population

rural: 96.7% of population

total: 95.1% of population


urban: 11.9% of population

rural: 3.3% of population

total: 4.9% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.03% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 127

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

4,200 (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

100 (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 127

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A

vectorborne disease: dengue fever

water contact disease: leptospirosis

animal contact disease: rabies (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

6.8% (2014)

country comparison to the world: 155

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

26.3% (2012)

country comparison to the world: 23

Education expenditures:

2.2% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 168


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92.6%

male: 93.6%

female: 91.7% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 20.1%

male: 15%

female: 27.8% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69


Government :: SRI LANKA

  • Country name:

conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

conventional short form: Sri Lanka

local long form: Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu

local short form: Shri Lanka/Ilankai

former: Serendib, Ceylon

note: the name means "resplendent island" in Sanskrit

Government type:

presidential republic


name: Colombo; note - Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte is the legislative capital

geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 79 50 E

time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

9 provinces; Central, Eastern, North Central, Northern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western


4 February 1948 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 4 February (1948)


several previous; latest adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978; amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)

Legal system:

mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Sri Lanka

dual citizenship recognized: no, except in cases where the government rules it is to the benefit of Sri Lanka

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Maithripala SIRISENA (since 9 January 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; Ranil WICKREMESINGHE (since 9 January 2015) holds the title of prime minister

head of government: President Maithripala SIRISENA (since 9 January 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister

elections/appointments: president directly elected by preferential majority popular vote for a 6-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 8 January 2015 (next to be held by January 2021); note - the January 2015 election was held nearly 2 years ahead of schedule

election results: Maithripala SIRISENA elected president; percent of vote - Maithripala SIRISENA (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) 51.3%, Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) 47.6%, other 1.1%

Legislative branch:

description: unicameral Parliament (225 seats; 196 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote using a preferential method in which voters select 3 candidates in order of preference; remaining 29 seats allocated to other political parties and groups in proportion to share of national vote; members serve 6-year terms)

elections: last held on 17 August 2015 following President SIRISENA's dissolution of Parliament in late June in an effort to consolidate power and pass reforms (next to be held in 2021)

election results: percent of vote by alliance/party - EYJP 45.7%, UPFA 42.4%, JVP 4.9%, TNA 4.6%, SLMC 0.4%, EPDP 0.3% other 1.7%; seats by alliance/party EYJP 106, UPFA 95, TNA 16, JVP 6, SLMC 1, EPDP 1

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of the chief justice and 10 justices); note - the court has exclusive jurisdiction to review legislation

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president; other justices appointed by the president with the advice of the chief justice; all justices hold office until age 65

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate's Courts; municipal and primary courts

Political Parties and Leaders Represented in the Parliament: 

Eelam People's Democratic Party or EPDP [Douglas DEVANANDA]

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna or JVP [Anura Kumara DISSANAYAKE]

Jathika Hela Urumaya or JHU [Patali Champika RANAWAKA]

Sri Lanka Freedom Party or SLFP [Maithripala SIRISENA]

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress or SLMC [Rauff HAKEEM]

Tamil National Alliance or TNA [R. SAMPANTHAN]

United National Front for Good Governance or EYJP (coalition includes UNP)

United National Party or UNP [Ranil WICKREMESINGHE]

United People's Freedom Alliance or UPFA (coalition includes SLFP)

International organization participation:


Flag description:

yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other larger panel depicts a yellow lion holding a sword on a maroon rectangular field that also displays a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels; the lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation, and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves - symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country - stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity; orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils, green Sri Lankan Moors, and maroon the Sinhalese majority; yellow denotes other ethnic groups; also referred to as the Lion Flag

National symbol(s):

lion, water lily; national colors: maroon, yellow

National anthem:

name: "Sri Lanka Matha" (Mother Sri Lanka)

lyrics/music: Ananda SAMARKONE

note: adopted 1951


Economy :: SRI LANKA

  • Economy - overview:

Sri Lanka continues to experience strong economic growth following the end of the government's 26-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The government has been pursuing large-scale reconstruction and development projects in its efforts to spur growth in war-torn and disadvantaged areas, develop small and medium enterprises, and increase agricultural productivity.

The government's high debt payments and bloated civil service have contributed to historically high budget deficits and low tax revenues remain a concern. Government debt of about 72% of GDP remains among the highest in emerging markets.

The new government in 2015 drastically increased wages for public sector employees, which boosted demand for consumer goods but hurt the overall balance of payments and reduced foreign exchange reserves.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$237.8 billion (2016 est.)

$226.5 billion (2015 est.)

$216.1 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars

country comparison to the world: 62

GDP (official exchange rate):

$82.24 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5% (2016 est.)

4.8% (2015 est.)

4.9% (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$11,200 (2016 est.)

$10,700 (2015 est.)

$10,300 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars

country comparison to the world: 134

Gross national saving:

26.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

25.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

24.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 69.4%

government consumption: 8.7%

investment in fixed capital: 26%

investment in inventories: 3.5%

exports of goods and services: 20.5%

imports of goods and services: -28.1% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 8.5%

industry: 30.9%

services: 60.6% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products:

rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, spices, vegetables, fruit, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, beef; fish


processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; tourism, shipping; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining, information technology services, construction

Industrial production growth rate:

5.6% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31

Labor force:

9.062 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 28.4%

industry: 25.7%

services: 45.9% (30 Jun 2015)

Unemployment rate:

4.5% (2016 est.)

4.7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46

Population below poverty line:

8.9% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.6%

highest 10%: 39.5% (2009)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

49 (2010)

46 (1995)

country comparison to the world: 22


revenues: $10.98 billion

expenditures: $15.54 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

13.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 199

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-5.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 168

Public debt:

77.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

76% of GDP (2015 est.)

note: covers central government debt, and excludes debt instruments directly owned by government entities other than the treasury (e.g. commercial bank borrowings of a government corporation); the data includes treasury debt held by foreign entities as well as

country comparison to the world: 34

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4.3% (2016 est.)

0.9% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 166

Central bank discount rate:

6% (31 December 2015)

6.5% (31 December 2013)

country comparison to the world: 68

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

9.8% (31 December 2016 est.)

6.96% (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Stock of narrow money:

$5.521 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

$4.963 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 96

Stock of broad money:

$31.84 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

$28.16 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Stock of domestic credit:

$44.73 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

$39.22 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 68

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$20.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$23.67 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$18.81 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 65

Current account balance:

-$1.231 billion (2016 est.)

-$2.009 billion (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 129


$10.12 billion (2016 est.)

$10.5 billion (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Exports - commodities:

textiles and apparel, tea and spices; rubber manufactures; precious stones; coconut products, fish

Exports - partners:

US 26%, UK 9%, India 7.2%, Germany 4.3% (2015)


$18.64 billion (2016 est.)

$18.93 billion (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Imports - commodities:

petroleum, textiles, machinery and transportation equipment, building materials, mineral products, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:

India 24.6%, China 20.6%, UAE 7.2%, Singapore 5.9%, Japan 5.7% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$7.06 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

$7.303 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

Debt - external:

$47.65 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

$45.47 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:


Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:


Exchange rates:

Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) per US dollar -

146.6 (2016 est.)

135.86 (2015 est.)

135.86 (2014 est.)

130.57 (2013 est.)

127.6 (2012 est.)


Energy :: SRI LANKA


  • Electricity - production:

12 billion kWh (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 96

Electricity - consumption:

11 billion kWh (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 202

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

3.4 million kW (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 94

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

51.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 184

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

47% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

1.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

Crude oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 117

Crude oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 197

Crude oil - imports:

34,860 bbl/day (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Crude oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

country comparison to the world: 202

Refined petroleum products - production:

32,780 bbl/day (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

98,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Refined petroleum products - exports:

2,682 bbl/day (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 105

Refined petroleum products - imports:

56,570 bbl/day (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 200

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 130

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 192

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 135

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

country comparison to the world: 196

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

16 million Mt (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91


Communications :: SRI LANKA

  • Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 2,601,196

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (July 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total: 24.385 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 111 (July 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Telephone system:

general assessment: telephone services have improved significantly and are available in most parts of the country

domestic: national trunk network consists mostly of digital microwave radio relay; fiber-optic links now in use in Colombo area and fixed wireless local loops have been installed; competition is strong in mobile cellular systems and mobile cellular subscribership i

international: country code - 94; the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cables provide connectivity to Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2015)

Broadcast media:

government operates 8 TV channels and a radio network; multi-channel satellite and cable TV subscription services available; 35 private TV stations and about 50 radio stations (2012)

Internet country code:


Internet users:

total: 6.614 million

percent of population: 30% (July 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74


Transportation :: SRI LANKA

  • National air transport system:

number of registered air carriers: 3

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 25

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 4,911,730

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 381,381,300 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

4R (2016)


19 (2013)

country comparison to the world: 137

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 15

over 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 3 (2013)


1 (2013)


total: 1,447 km

broad gauge: 1,447 km 1.676-m gauge (2014)

country comparison to the world: 80


total: 114,093 km

paved: 16,977 km

unpaved: 97,116 km (2010)

country comparison to the world: 42


160 km (primarily on rivers in southwest) (2012)

country comparison to the world: 100

Merchant marine:

total: 21

by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 13, chemical tanker 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 2

foreign-owned: 8 (Germany 8) (2010)

country comparison to the world: 94

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Colombo

container port(s) (TEUs): Colombo (3,651,963)


Military and Security :: SRI LANKA


  • Military branches:

Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Coast Guard (2015)

Military service age and obligation:

18-22 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; 5-year service obligation (Air Force) (2012)

Military expenditures:

2.43% of GDP (2012)

2.89% of GDP (2011)

2.43% of GDP (2010)

country comparison to the world: 29